Royal Conservatory

ELLIOT_MADORE_1186There are schedule changes to the RCM’s line-up of webstreams. The key ones are that last weekend’s recital with Elliot Madore and Rachel Andrist that went ahead without an audience will be streamed at 8pm tomorrow and it’s free.

The December 3rd concert with Adrianne Pieczonka, assorted vanishing tenors, Johannes Debus and the COC Orchestra will go ahead sans tenors. That one is ticketed ($50 I think) and streams live at 8pm.

Unsurprisingly the programme at the RCM is in a state of flux as they try to cope with the gyrations of the provincial government so do check anything and everything close to the expected date.

The web address for all the RCM shows is www.rcmusic.ca/livestream

Confluence’s Purcell

Last night Confluence Concerts streamed their latest offering; a tribute to Henry Purcell, preceded by a pre-show interview between Larry Beckwith and Andrew Parrott.  There was beautifully played instrumental music from Victoria Baroque, songs from Lawrence Williford and Lucas Harris recorded at the Elora Festival and a couple of interesting takes on If Music Be the Food of Love plus Two Daughters of this Aged Stream featuring Daniel Taylor, Rebecca Genge and Sinéad White plus instrumentalists from the UoT Faculty of Music Historical Performance Department.  I was less taken with Duo Serenissima (Elizabeth Hetherington, soprano and David Mackor, theorbo).  I can’t tell whether it was the recording acoustic or a diction issue but the words were pretty much unintelligible which is a big problem with Purcell!.

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Correction

Further to my post earlier today.  The GGS Fall Opera streaming is not on for tomorrow.  It’s been postponed until January.  This was not communicated to me.  The same thing happened with the Opera Atelier postponed show where it was still showing for the original date right up to that date on the RCM website but in that case OA’s PR people were able to give me the correct information.  I’m not best pleased.

Streams and things

A quick reminder that tonight, tomorrow and Saturday see new streams from AtG (A Little Too Cozy prequel), The GGS Fall Opera (Seven Deadly Sins and Lucrezia) and Confluence (Purcell).  There’s also new content on the appropriate Youtube channels from Domoney Artists and Alex Hajek.

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Spectacular Trovatore

Regular readers of this blog would probably expect that, faced with a Zeffirelli production of Il Trovatore from the Verona Arena, I would run screaming for the hills.  The 2019 recording though piqued my interest.  The geek in me wanted to see how much difference 4K ultra HD made, having only so far been able to get my paws on a couple of such recordings.  I was also aware that it’s quite some time since I’ve heard Anna Netrebko and here she heads up a very appealing looking cast.  So I succumbed.

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La nonne sanglante

I guess there are two ways one can approach “Gothic Horror”.  Either one takes its conventions at face value as in, say, Bram Stoker’s Dracula or one treats it tongue in cheek; Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey of the BBC Dracula from earlier this year.  It’s no surprise that in La nonne sanglante Gounod very much takes things at face value and, equally unsurprisingly chucks in a fair amount of Catholic religiosity complete with the unlikeliest characters wandering off to Heaven at the end.

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Virtual Rubies

Like everything else the 2020 Rubies, Opera Canada‘s awards show, is going virtual this year.  It’s going out as a video, produced by Taylor Long of the COC, which will premier at 8pm on November 23rd.  Joyce El-Khoury hosts and Ben Heppner narrates the honouree videos, and then Barbara Hannigan, Michael Schade and Yannick Nezet-Seguin contribute  ‘acceptance’ speeches. Plus there’s a tribute to this year’s posthumous honouree, tenor Edward Johnson.  There are also performances by Russell Braun, Rihab Chaieb, Midori Marsh and Matt Cairns recorded in the studio with pianist and singer co-located. The show will be shown via OC’s Youtube channel.

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There’s much more about the honourees and their careers on the Opera Canada website:

The end of all human dignity

Thomas Adès’ latest opera, The Exterminating Angel, is probably his most ambitious and best to date.  It received its US premiere at the Met in 2017 and was broadcast as part of the Met in HD series, subsequently being released on DVD and Blu-ray.  It’s based on the surrealist 1962 Buñuel film.  It’s a very strange plot.  A group of more or less upper class guests attend a dinner after an opera performance.  All the servants except the butler have (inexplicably) left the house.  The guests seem unable to leave the room they are in nor can anyone from outside enter it.  This goes on for days(??) during which the guests accuse each other of various perversions including incest and paedophilia and turn violent while still expressing delicate aristocratic sensibilities like an inability to stir one’s coffee with a teaspoon.  There’s a suicide pact, a bear and several sheep involved before the “spell” to escape the room is discovered.  What happens afterwards is unclear.  (The opera omits the closing scenes of the film).  It’s very weird and quite unsettling; Huis Clos meets Lord of the Flies?

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Virtual – new and upcoming

Things I’ve seen recently or plan to see include:

Seen recently:

  • Two more spooky shorts from Tapestry Opera and Red Truck productions.  If you had any lingering doubts about Keith Klassen’s sanity these should take care of them!  That said, the technical quality of these is amazing. (Tapestry Youtube channel).
  • A COVID flavoured Halloween special from Opera Revue.  (Opera Revue’s Youtube channel)
  • A recording and video presentation by the Kingston Symphony of Dean Burry’s Nijmegen Bridge 1944.  It’s a homage to the Canadians who died liberating the Netherlands and it’s well worth hearing.  There are also more Harmon in Space episodes.  (Kingston Symphony Youtube channel)

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Duelling tenors

Rossini’s Ricciardo e Zoraide isn’t performed all that often but it has appeared a number of times at the Pesaro Rossini Festival.  In 2018 it got a new production there from the creative team of Opera Atelier with a rather starrier cast than is usual in their Toronto productions followed by a DVD/Blu-ray release.  It’s actually not too hard to see why the piece isn’t done more often despite its many good qualities.  It requires four tenors; at least two of which need to be absolutely top notch Rossinians and a soprano of equal quality.  None of the roles are easy.  It’s also a bit mixed dramatically.  The libretto is a rather convoluted crusader story set in Africa.  Agorante has captured Zoraide and wants to make her no.2 wife.  No.1 wife Zomira is unimpressed.  Ricciardo disguises himself to try and rescue Zoraide.  Zoraide’s father shows up.  Agorante is about to have essentially everyone executed when the crusaders, led by Ernesto, rush in and everybody makes up.  There are some really effective scenes and others that just seem to drag on.  Musically it’s pretty good though.  It’s never less than well crafted and at times; the first half of act 2 especially, there’s some great music including a crackerjack tenor duet, a fantastic display aria for soprano and some really good ensembles.

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