Little did I suspect on March 12th 2020, as I attended UoT Opera’s Mansfield Park, that I would not review another live concert until July 14th 2021 but that’s how the COVID crumbled. Today I made it to one of Tapestry’s Box Concerts at CAMH on Queen Street. It was much more fun than my last visit which was for a meeting on infection control in the basement of the dreary old building, now demolished.
So what’s a Box Concert? Basically it’s a trailer and a sound system plus Asitha Tennekoon and sound tech. I have to say it’s a very good sound system, well able to cope with the level of ambient noise normal to downtown Toronto in construction season. It’s designed for performances at health care and elder care facilities but bookable to entertain your friends and neighbours too. It’s all miked/amplified of course and the accompaniment is pre-recorded.It’s a fairly short set, heavy on numbers from musicals:
- “Waving Through a Window” from Benj Pasek and Steven Levenson’s Dear Evan Hanson
- “Being Alive” from George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s Company
- “King of the World” from Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World
- “Pourquoi Me Reveiller” from Massenet’s Werther
I think there are some new songs by Benton Roark in the mix too but if we got them today I missed it. I’m not a massive musical fan but I totally get why that rep is used for this purpose (although the CAMH staffer responsible for today talked to me about Die Walküre afterwards so you never know!). It needs to be at the popular end of the rep and Asitha seems really comfortable in that space. It was though great to hear some proper tenoring in the Massenet; high notes and all. Not sure I’d choose Werther for a gig at CAMH though!It was really nice to see patients and staff wander by and be surprised. Some stopped for quite a while and some for just a few minutes but everybody seemed pleased and surprised to have live music brought to them. It is a great project and one effect it seems to be having is spreading awareness that opera in Toronto is more than just the COC
The photos are by Dahlia Katz and taken at earlier performances. There was a CAMH photographer there today so if those shots show up I’ll post a few.