TOT’s streamed The Csardas Princess

lmargisonToronto Operetta Theatre are offering a streamed performance of Emmerich Kálmán’s The Csardas Princess.  It’s another film made in the Edward Jackman Studio and with TOT’s usual team in charge.  The cast includes Lauren Margison in the title role with Michael Barrett as Prince Edwin.  The cast also includes TOT regulars Caitlin Wood as Countess Stasi, Ryan Downey as Boni and Gregory Finney as Feri, Rosalind McArthur and Sean Curran appear as Edwin’s  parents Anhilte and Leopold Maria.

The stream will be available from July 9th to 23rd and an access code is $20 plus fees and can be purchased here.

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Vespers for a New Dark Age

vespers_sFeel like listening to something different?  Then I can recommend Missy Mazzoli’s 2014 genre defying Vespers for a New Dark Age.  Conceptually it reimagines the traditional vespers prayer service with its, perhaps, archaic formality to explore he way we confront technology, ghosts, death, doubt and God in our “new dark age”.

Structurally there are eight movements run together which set fragments of poems by Matthew Zapruder.  The setting uses vocals, amplified strings, winds, organs, synthesizers and lots of electronics to create a weird and disturbing soundscape of many moods though the overall tone is very dark.

The performance is created by Mazzoli’s ensemble Victoire, Glenn Kotche (of Wilco) and vocalists Mellissa Hughes, Martha Cluver and Virginia Warnken (of Roomful of Teeth).  Electronic production is by synth producer Lorna Dune, who plays a crucial role, and is also responsible for the bonus track; an electronic remix of Mazzoli’s A Thousand Tongues.

The only criticism I have of the disk is that I couldn’t find the texts anywhere.  Sometimes they are clear enough on the recording, sometimes not so much.

Adriana Lecouvreur upcoming

225px-Adrienne_LecouvreurVOICEBOX:Opera in Concert have a streamed version of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur premiering on Friday.  It’s a film made at the Edward Jackman Centre that reimagines the opera as a game of chess.  Natalya Gennadi sings the title role with Julie Nesrallah as the Princess de Bouillon.  The cast also includes Holly Chaplin and Evan Korbut.  Tickets are $20 from www.operainconcert.com and the stream will be available until July 2nd.

Toronto Summer Music

tsmf2021It’s almost time for the Toronto Summer Music Festival 2021.  This year it runs July 15th to August 1st.  The bad news is that, like last year, it’s virtual.  The good news is that it’s all free and, as always, there’s some excellent stuff.  The full line up and details of how to access the streams are here.

The highlight for me will be Adrianne Pieczonka and Steven Philcox in a recital featuring Purcell’s “Music for a While”, selected lieder by Clara Schumann, a selection of melodies by Fauré, “Hermit Songs” by Samuel Barber, and selections of works by George Gershwin.  That’s on Tuesday, July 20th at 7:30 pm.

So far no word on the line up for the Regeneration concerts but I guess I won’t miss spending three summer Saturdays alternating between a freezing Walter Hall and a scorching Philosopher’s Walk.  It will feel quite civilised to dip into the Regen stuff as and when.

All the news that fits…

orvaxThere’s less being produced right now in the way of on-line content but here are a few titbits:

  • Opera Revue has a new and very silly vaccine related number on Youtube.
  • Sara Schabas has a recital recorded in the Spiegelsaal at the Opernhaus Zürich premiering on Sunday.  This one is ticketed ($10 in aid of Highlands Opera Studio).  Tickets here.
  • Kathy Domoney has a new series of Opera Breaks coming up.  You can check out previous Opera Breaks here, which is also where the new stuff will eventually appear.  The schedule is:
    • June 12th – “Dite alla giovine”, La Traviata ( Verdi) duet – Natalya Gennadi, soprano & Dion Mazerolle, baritone
    • June 26th – “ Green Finch and Linnet Bird”, Sweeney Todd ( Sondheim) – Caitlin Wood, soprano
    • July 10th – “Crudel! perché finora”, Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) duet – Caitlin Wood, soprano & Clarence Frazer, baritone
    • July 26th – “ Vilia” , The Merry Widow ( Léhar) – Natalya Gennadi, soprano

There’s also been a sorta, kinda “season announcement” from the COC.  You can find it and Perryn Leach’s take on it on the COC Youtube channel.  Basically there’s going to be free, live streamed content from the Four Seasons Centre in the fall using the kit I talked about in discussing the COC/NBC’s digital strategy back when.  What it is, whether there will be any kind of in-house audience and what happens after Christmas we have to wait until August to find out.

Words Adorned

wordsadornedI’ve been listening to another new CD release by American choir The Crossing and their conductor Donald Nally.  It’s called Words Adorned and contains two cycles by contemporary Arab-American composers setting really beautiful 11th century Andalusian texts.

The first piece is by Kareem Roustom.  It’s titled Embroidered Verses; Songs on Andalusian Poetry.  The 24 voice choir is accompanied by the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble (Hanna Khoury violin and music director, Wassim Odeh oud, Hicham Chami qanun, Kinan Abou-afach cello andHafez Kotain percussion).  The composition blends western and Arabic influences so there are complex harmonies, long meandering vocal lines and quarter tones combining to make something really very interesting.  The texts too are varied ranging from a boisterous drinking song to evocative nature poetry and a slightly sinister challenge to war.  I really enjoyed it.

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The other ROH La Bohème


A couple of week’s ago I reviewed the recording of the 2020 revival of Richard Jones’ production of La Bohème at Covent Garden.  I said in that review that I wanted to get hold of the original first run recording, which I have done, albeit on DVD rather than Blu-ray.   Comparing them was really very interesting.

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Newsicles

mehFirst the bad news.  Calgary Opera have cancelled their fall production of Fidelio citing uncertainty over rehearsal, performance and audience management issues.  I’m not surprised and I expect we will hear something similar from the COC next week.  The performing arts really don’t seem to figure at all on the Ontario government’s priorities or plans which isn’t a surprise but is a bit depressing.  There’s information here on what the industry is doing to try and get a change of priorities  with tools you can use to help.

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Opera Atelier’s Resurrection

Opera Atelier’s webstream of Handel’s The Resurrection premiered on Thursday evening and will be available until this coming Thursday.  It’s ticketed and you can buy an access code from the RCM box office.  It’s the first Opera Atelier show conceived for webstreaming as opposed to filming a stage performance.  The action was filmed in St. Lawrence Hall and the music was recorded at Koerner.

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Old & New Poetry

nv6342-old_and_new_poetry-album_front_cover xs517x517_2xNavona have just produced an interesting album of art song by Alabama based composer Carl Vollrath.  Old & New Poetry consists of three cycles setting texts by William Blake, Sara Teasdale and John Gracen Brown.

The disk opens with five short Blake settings for mezzo-soprano and piano.  The songs are accomplished and playful and Yoko Hagino on piano is highly competent.  Mezzo Aliana de la Guardia sings clearly and expressively but seems challenged by the higher sections of some pieces.

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