Things are starting to liven up again in the Toronto scene. Here’s a look ahead to the balance of September and the first half of October. This week sees a performance of Weill’s Little Mahagonny by VOICEBOX at Gallery 345. That’s on Tuesday 25th at 7.30pm and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.
The COC season opens on the 30th with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin featuring Gordon Bintner, Joseph Kaiser and Joyce El-Khoury. There are eight performances ending on 3rd Novemeber. The companion work is the premier run of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian which opens on October 13th. It’s a starry cast including Thomas Hampson and Karita Matilla. There are seven performances ending October 27th.
The current Tapestry Briefs is one of the most satisfying I have attended. Briefs is the performance edition of the LibLab; an intense where composers collaborate with librettists to create new opera scenes. Some of these disappear and some go on to be the starting point for new operas. The current crop is strong. There were eleven scenes in the show; sung by various combinations of Teiya Kasahara, Stephanie Tritchew, Keith Klassen and Peter McGillivray with Jennifer Tung at the piano and other keyboards. As a bonus, at intervals Keith appeared to sing a parody of a famous aria describing the tasty little tapas which were offered around.
The demise of Toronto Masque Theatre was never likely to lead to the retirement of Larry Beckwith from the Toronto scene and it hasn’t. He’s back with a new concert series called Confluence that describes itself as a “a new interdisciplinary, cross-cultural multi-media (many-hyphened) project”. There’s a Pay What You Can kick off next Sunday, 16th September, at St. Thomas’ Church at 383 Huron Street at 2.30pm where there will be performances and readings featuring many of the season’s artists plus food and drink.
It’s September and the long, slow awakening after the annual aestivation begins. There’s not a lot on yet but what there is is interesting. The middle of the month sees Native Earth’s production of I Call myself Princess at the Aki Studio; previews from 9th to 12th September with official opening on the 13th and then shows until the end of the month. My interview with playwright Jani Lauzon is here. Also opening on the 13th is Tapestry Briefs at the Ernest Balmer Studio. Hear the product of the LibLab, hear Stephanie Tritchew, Teiya Kasahara, Peter McGillivray and Keith Klassen and eat tapas. It runs until the 16th.
It’s 100 years since the beginnings of the Faculty of Music at UoT. There’s a pretty fair line up of concerts to celebrate it. The Opera Division, as ever has two main stage productions in the MacMillan Theatre, November 22nd to 25th 2018 sees Weill’s Street Scene with Sandra Horst conducting and Michael Patrick Albano directing. March 14th to 17th 2019 sees performances of Mozart’s rather too often seen La finta giardiniera conducted by Russell Braun and, again, directed by Albano. Given that on October 17th Albano is giving a public lecture titled The Concept Ceiling: Has avant-garde operatic production reached it’s zenith? I’d expect both of these to be on the decidedly conventional end of the scale. Albano and Horst are in tandem again for the Opera Student Composer Collective’s Who Killed Adriana?; a riff off Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur on January 20th 2019. The OSSC’s piece is almost always one of the highlights of the Opera Division year. There are also some other “excerpts” shows in the calendar.
The 2018/19 free concert series in the RBA has been announced. It includes the 1000th concert in the series which is pretty amazing. There’s the usual mix of vocal, chamber/instrumental, jazz, world music and dance. Concerts that particularly caught my eye include:
October 9th 2018: Ensemble Studio; Best of Rossini
October 25th 2018: Simone McIntosh and Rachael Kerr with Messiaen’s Harawi; Songs of Love and Death. This may be the highlight of the whole season.
December 11th 2018: Against the Grain Retro
January 29th 2019: Michael Schade (tenor), Marie Bérard (violin) and Michael Shannon (piano); Homage to McCormack and Kreisler
February 11th 2019: The Louis and Christina Quilico Prize Competition (this one is at 5.30pm)
March 5th 2019: Ian Cusson (piano/composer ),Marion Newman and Marjorie Maltais (mezzo-sopranos); Le Récital des Anges: Songs of Ian Cusson
May 14th 2019: Miriam Khalil (soprano) Topher Mokrzewski (piano);1001 Nights:Tales from the East
May 22nd 2019: Canadian Art Song Project with Michael Colvin and Stephen Philcox.
There are plenty of concerts by the Ensemble Studio including the annual collaboration with L’Atelier Lyrique and farewell concerts from Samuel Chan, Stephane Mayer and Lauren Eberwein. Visiting artists include Oleg Tsibulko, Helene Schneidermann, Susan Bullock, Angel Blue and Andriana Chuchman. There’s loads more of course. Full line up here. All concerts at noon unless otherwise indicated.