Soundstreams 2017/18

endeSoundstreams have announced an intriguing line up for the 2017/18 season.  There are five main stage shows plus three in the Ear Candy series.  For vocal music fans there’s a lot to like starting with a multi-media presentation of Claude Vivier’s Musik für das Ende.  Stage director Chris Abraham and music director John Hess combine with Choir 21 to create a “ritual” about exile, immigration and “otherness”.  Performances will be at Crow’s Theatre with a run from October 27th to November 4th 2017.

 

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Unsuk Chin at the RCM

95e6758bda5e6da733933c23a4a65bbfe6fffa86_220x220The closing concert of this year’s 21C, presented by Soundstreams at Koerner Hall, featured music by Chris Paul Harman and Unsuk Chin.  In the first half we heard two related pieces by Harman based on songs by Ray Noble.  The first, Love Locked Out started with a tape recorded interview and a scratchy recording of Al Bowlly before morphing into a complex piece with allusions to the original song.  It’s not in any sense a set of variations.  Harman’s sound world is complex.  It’s very modern and varied.  There were warring pianos and tubular bells in passages that were almost violent but which morphed into more playful sections.  Parts of the string writing and the transitions reminded me of Shostakovich; though Harman tends to genuinely playful rather than sardonic.  But the comparison should not be taken too far because there’s also a tendency to build tension and logic through repetition rather than symphonic development in a vaguely John Adamsish sort of way and there are passages that are meditative à la Messiaen.  The piece closed with a slowed down tape of the song. So complex and intriguing stuff very well played by 21C Chamber Orchestra conducted by Guillaume Bourgogne.

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Signal boosting

If you are planning to go to Soundstreams Unsuk Chin concert on May 28th, which should be very interesting, there’s a special ticket price offer.  Discount code OPERA20 will get you 20% off on-line ticket purchases which you can find here.  The centerpiece of the concert is Cantatrix Sopranica, a humorous exploration of opera styles across history, sung by Carla Huhtanen, Eve-Lyn de la Haye, and Scott Belluz.  Chin’s music is rather unusual so this could be quite an afternoon.

cantata

News and announcements

cherryblossomHere’s a round up of news and announcements from my mail box.

April 8th, at Roy Thomson Hall at 8pm, Show One productions have a show with the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, soprano Hibla Gerzmava and cellist Daniella Akta in a varied program including Mozart’s Divertimento No.1 in D major, K. 136, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor Op. 110 and arias from Norma, I Masnadieri, and Adriana Lecouvreur.

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Into March

ttNext week is rather back end loaded.  There’s not much on early in the week but then things hot up.  On Thursday Against the Grain host the monthly opera pub night at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club at 9pm.  This time we are promised Topher and present and past members of the Ensemble Studio.  That evening is also the opening of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company show Brundibár which I previewed last week and which runs until March 5th.  Also on Thursday there’s the opening of R. Murray Schafer’s Odditorium, presented by Soundstreams at the Crow’s Theatre.  That one runs until the 5th.  Finally, on Saturday the amazing Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq is appearing with the TSO at Roy Thomson Hall in a concert that features two world premiers and a Canadian premier.

Next week and beyond

ileana-montalbetti-headshot-bohuang500pxThursday seems to be the big day next week.  Ileana Montalbetti and Rachel Andrist have a lunchtime recital in the RBA.  There’s Strauss and Mozart and Beethoven and more.  Ileana has been a really impressive Gutrune in Götterdämmerung so I’m excited to see her in recital.  That evening there’s a choice of the annual COC Ensemble Studio performance at the Four Seasons Centre where the Ensemble members will be offering staged scenes, with full orchestra, from Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, Bellini’s Norma and Handel’s Ariodante.  The alternative is Tapestry Songbook VII featuring Krisztina Szabó, Keith Klassen and Stephen Philcox performing numbers from Tapestry’s extensive back catalogue.  That’s at the Ernest Balmer Studio at 7.30pm.  There are repeat shows on Friday at 7.30pm and 10pm.  Looks like both 7.30pm shows are sold out but late night Friday is still available.  Operaramblings’ extensive spy network (not Louise Mensch) suggests that patrons may also learn something to their advantage.  The day before, Wednesday at 7.30pm, there’s a Don Giovanni in concert at Royal St. George’s Chapel. Actually seeing as how dancer Bill Coleman is involved it may not be entirely straight “in concert”.  The cast includes Alexander Dobson in the title role, Katherine Whyte, Colin Ainsworth, Taiya Kasahara, Vania Chan and Matthew Li plus a “special guest”.  Tickets at www.opera-is.com or on the door.  There is still time to catch the COC’s winter offerings.  The Magic Flute plays today, tomorrow and Friday with the last Götterdämmerung next Saturday.  That last seems to be sold out but the usual rush and standing room deals may apply.

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