reGENERATION week 1

There were three reGENERATION concerts in Walter Hall yesterday at 1pm, 4pm and 7.30pm.  It made for a long but interesting day.  As last year, each concert was a mix of vocal and chamber music.  The vocal program was not announced in advance so I’m working from notes and there could be the odd error.  Pleasingly, there were surtitles for the songs.  This is a huge improvement on a sheet of tiny print to be read in the dark! Continue reading

Toronto Summer Music opener

Last night saw the first concert of this year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival.  The theme was “Beyond Borders” with most of the works presented; a mixture of piano, violin and vocal, having been influenced by other cultures/places or written in exile.

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Sci-fi opera

I’m always a bit surprised that there aren’t more sci-fi themed operas.  It seems like a natural fit for the medium.  I’ve seen a couple.  A few years ago the UoT composer collective opera was an EM Forster based piece called The Machine Stops.  There’s also Aaron Gervais’ The Harvester which I’ve seen twice in workshop and which may one day see the light.  Now another has come to my attention but, alas, it’s in London, England so I wont be able to go.  It sounds interesting though.  It’s by Alastair White, it’s called Wear and it’s about fashion and the apocalypse.

The publicity material describes it as “A sci-fi fashion opera at the wild, impossible edges of contemporary art music: Waiting for Godot meets Lulu for the post-truth generation.”

Mark Berry (whose opinion I generally find reliable and insightful) reviewing an earlier incarnation said “spellbinding…an opera of rare imagination – and success”.

It’s getting it’s first fully staged outing next month directed by Gemma Williams.  It will run for two nights at the Bridewell Theatre on the 23rd and 24th of August with special post-show events, as part of the festival ‘Opera in the City.’

If anyone can go and would like to review I’ll happily guest blog it.

WEAR LEAD IMAGE OPERA IN THE CITY

Das Wunder der Heliane

The video recording, made at the Deutsche Oper in 2018, of Korngold’s rarely seen Das Wunder der Heliane is yet another lesson in holding off on making judgements on an opera or production until one has seen the whole thing.  I still don’t think it’s a lost masterpiece but I’m feeling a lot less derisive than I was at the end of Act I.

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A new beginning?

Last night the Music Director designate of the TSO, Gustavo Gimeno, conducted a concert of 20th century classics.  It was the first chance to see him with the orchestra since his appointment.  First up was the Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor.  It’s a curious work with relatively little dialogue between soloist and orchestra.  Rather there’s a very Sibelian orchestral piece kind of sandwiched with a highly virtuosic violin part but it works in an odd sort of way.  It was also very well played with all the necessary virtuosity from soloist Jonathan Crow and an orchestral sound which while often dark and brooding was also quite transparent.

TSO June 28 Photo Credit Jag Gundu

Photo: Jag Gundu

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Bon Appétit

Muse 9 Production’s new show Bon Appétit: A Musical Tasting Menu couples three short operas about food and was, appropriately enough, presented at Merchants of Green Coffee on Matilda Street.  Perhaps “opera” isn’t the right term as, although each piece was fully staged, they featured only one singer each.  “Opera” or “staged song”?  I don’t really care as they were fun.

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