Last night at Mazzoleni Hall we were entertained by the Royal Conservatory’s Rebanks fellows. The programme was, to say the least, varied and very enjoyable. It began with a movement from Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor played by Isobel Howard – violin, Caleb Georges – viola, Joanne Yesol Choi – cello and Sejin Yoon – piano. It was a pleasant, if conventional, start to the evening. There were rather more fireworks in the “Allegro ma non troppo” from Strauss’ Violin Sonata in E flat major. There was some seriously virtuosic playing here from Aaaron Chan – violin and Ben Smith – piano.
This year’s fall opera production from the Glenn Gould School is John Blow’s 1683(?) masque Venus and Adonis. For those not familiar with the genre the masque was a court entertainment combining music, dance, poetry and drama. Here the framing story is the brief love affair between Venus and handsome young Adonis who is unfortunately gored to death by a boar. The main sub plot concerns Venus giving sage advice to Cupid and his band of little cupids. In between there are hunting choruses, dance and extracts from Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I suppose it’s fair to say that Philippe Jaroussky is a singer who divides opinion; you either love his light bright “soprano” sound or you prefer something more muscular (Sesto vs. Cesare perhaps). He has a cult following and he knows it. That side of things was very much on display at Koerner Hall last night when he appeared with the Ensemble Artaserse in a programme of arias from18th century Italian opera. It was clear that a goodly section of the audience had travelled from out of town for the concert and knew exactly what to expect. This was exemplified by the three encores leading up to Handel’s “Lascio ch’io pianga” which the hard core fans had been shouting for and weren’t going to go home without hearing!
Yesterday was the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Royal Conservatory and Koerner Hall marked it with a free concert curated by Denise Bolduc, Mervon Mehta and Sarain Fox who doubled up as an extremely engaging host for the evening.