Water nymphs

Lauren Eberwein and Rachel Kerr put on a rather different show in the RBA at lunchtime.  The musical component consisted of Ravel’s Jeu d’eaux and Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi.  The surprise was that Lauren painted on a canvas on the floor throughout the performance.  She brought on two palettes of acrylics and used her hands and feet to create a large abstract on the broad theme of “water”.  Needless to say, she ended up covered in paint.

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Not Sam

Off I went to the Four Seasons Centre to see Samuel Chan and Stéphane Mayer perform some Schubert.  Sadly Sam was indisposed so what we got was a hastily, but very well, constructed program featuring some of the other singers in the Ensemble Studio.

Things kicked off with the increasingly impressive Anne-Sophie Neher in an accomplished rendering of Mozart’s “show off” piece Exsultate jubilate, in which she showed very decent control in the rather fiendish runs.  She was back later with “The Presentation of the Rose” from Der Rosenkavalier which sounded suitably Straussian and sufficiently girlish at the same time.  Nicely done. She made a third appearance with one of Adèles’s arias from Le comte Ory.  This didn’t quite do it for me but it was fun to hear Stéphane playing around with the very Rossiniesque accompaniment.

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Batting 1000

Yesterday saw the 1000th concert in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre (*) since the house opened in 2006.  Fittingly it was given by Susan Bullock who sang Brünnhilde in the Canadian premier of the Ring Cycle that christened the new theatre.  She was accompanied by Liz Upchurch who has also been around since before the new house existed.

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The Three Tenors

Today’s RBA lunchtime concert featured the three tenors; Kammersinger Michael Schade, currently appearing as Aegisth in the COC’s Elektra, Irish tenor Mick O’Schade and Scottish folksinger Michael McSchade.  They were most ably supported by COC Concertmaster Marie Bérard and Sandra Horst at the piano.  The concert was billed as a tribute to John McCormack and Fritz Kreisler but sad events had morphed it into also being a tribute to the CBC’s Neil Crory.  I hope, and believe, that he would have appreciated the combination of whimsy and serious music making.

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Meet the Orchestra Academy

Yesterday’s concert in the RBA, the first I’ve been to in a while, featured the five members of the Orchestra Academy; violinists Joella Pinto and Gloria Yip, violist Carolyn Farnand and cellists Erin Patterson and Alison Rich, with Joel Allison and Samuel Chan and Rachael Kerr on keyboards.  It was an interesting concert in many ways.  We don’t get to see the young instrumentalists much nor do we often see Ensemble members sing with a chamber ensemble.  It was also interesting to hear the contrast between Joel’s dark toned bass-baritone, often singing in a very low tessitura, with Sam’s much brighter, lighter baritone which sometimes was well up in tenor territory.

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Yom HaShoah

Yom HaShoah; the Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust (and maybe the survivirs are victims in their own way too) started at sunset last night.  Earlier in the day Sara Schabas, Laura D’Angelo and Geoffrey Conquer presented a concert of Holocaust related music in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

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Russian Romance

The full Ensemble Studio was on display yesterday for an all Russian lunchtime concert.  First up was Megan Quick with a couple of Rachmaninov songs.  Megan’s timbre is very dark and it seems to be a natural fit for those Russian vowels.  She was followed by Bruno Roy with a couple of Tchaikovsky numbers.  He’s come on a lot in his time in the Studio.  There’s some heft to the voice now and some quite impressive top notes.  Good stuff.

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