Catching up here on the news from Soundstreams.
On April 3rd at 6.30pm at Osgoode Hall there’s a “Musical Moot”. It’s a fundraiser and preview for the Seven Deadly Sins show upcoming (see below). It features singer/sinners Chloe Charles and Aviva Chernick, Cynthia Dale and Eric Petersen from CBC’s Street Legal plus former mayor (and one time rugby player) David Miller. Is this even legal?
… plus a late March addition…
March 29th and 30th Tapestry are doing the Songbook thing again. This is the show where an established singer; Jacqueline Woodley this time, works with emerging artists and a pianist (Andrea Grant) plus director Michael Mori to create a show based on Tapestry’s back catalogue. There are three shows at the Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery; Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 4pm and again at 8pm.
This just in… Musique 3 Femmes and Tapestry Opera present Canada’s first opera workshop to feature exclusively all-female creative teams in the development of five new operas by women in collaboration with directors Anna Theodosakis, Aria Umezawa, Jessica Derventzis, Alaina Viau, and Amanda Smith. The workshop sees a preview performance on March 19th at Canadian Opera Company’s Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre as part of the Noon Hour Concert Series, and culminates in a staged evening performance in the Ernest Balmer Studio on March 23rd at 7.30pm. The performance features Musique 3 Femmes artists soprano Suzanne Rigden, mezzo-soprano Kristin Hoff, pianist Jennifer Szeto, and the participation of mentors JUNO-Award nominee composer James Rolfe and two-time Governor General award-winning playwright and librettist Colleen Murphy.
The line up for the Toronto Summer Music Festival for this year, which runs July 11th to August 3rd, was unveiled last night by artistic director Jonathan Crow at the Arts and Letters Club. The full details are here. It’s impressive with high quality and lots of diversity. so, just some personal comments and thoughts on the things I’ll be planning to see. The art song fellow this year is Tony Dean-Griffey. He’ll be working with Stephen Philcox on the Art of Song Academy programme. Like last year the Academy reGENERATION concerts will feature both chamber and vocal music and run on the three Saturdays; July 13th, 20th and 27th. Dean-Griffey will give a recital with Warren Jones on July 16th at 7.30pm in Walter Hall.
There are five Koerner Hall concerts. Opening night, July 11th, highlights the “Beyond Borders” theme of this year’s programme with a variety of works for assorted combinations of voice, chamber orchestra, string quartet, violin and piano including Adrienne Pieczonka singing the Strauss Vier letzte Lieder in a chamber arrangement by John Greer. On the 17th the Dover Quartet present a Britten and Dvorák programme. On the 25th, the Art of Time Ensemble have an eclectic looking show called From Franz Schubert to Freddie Mercury. Not quite sure what to expect there! The 30th sees Angela Hewitt performing Bach’s Goldberg Variations. and finally on August 1st there’s a chance to see Jonathan Crow performing Mozart’s “Turkish” concerto before Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (in the Schoenberg/Riehn arrangement) with Mario Bahg and Rihab Chaieb. Gemma New conducts.
Here are a couple more listings for March. VOICEBOX are doing Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny on March 30th at 8pm and March 31st at 2.30pm. The cast includes Beste Kalender, Michael Barrett and Elizabeth DeGrazia. It will be piano accompaniment with Narmina Afandiyeva at the keyboard.
Toronto City Opera are performing Verdi’s La Traviata at the Al Green Theatre on March 28th and 29th at 7.30pm and the 31st at 2,30pm. Alaina Viau directs with a musical team of Ivan Jovanovic and Jennifer Tung. The cast is headed up by Beth Hagerman, Kijong Wi and Handaya Rusli. Apparently it’s a “modern, Toronto setting”. I’m curious to see how the ideas of “a fallen woman”, “family honour” and “arranged marriage” play out.
I met yesterday with Ryan McDonald and Camille Rogers to discuss their new project, OperaQ, and its upcoming show Dido and Belinda. The driving idea is that opera needs a space for “queer people to tell queer stories to queer people”. Now I’m sure many peopl’s initial reaction would be close to mine along the lines of “surely there’s no shortage of gay people in the opera world?”; which is ,of course, true but not really the point. Gender presentation in opera is highly conventional, both on and off the stage. There are strong stereotypes about “masculine” heroes. Can an overtly gay man get cast as Otello (or even Hadrian)? There are equally strong stereotypes about how female singers should present. Everybody is supposed to be glamorous à la Maria Callas, an attitude that was brilliantly taken apart in Teiya Kasahara’s Queer of the Night. Transgender issues add another layer onto this where, paradoxically perhaps, operas traditions of cross dressing confine rather than create space for transgender expression. So, opera, lots of queers but not much queerness?
Larry Beckwith’s innovative new series of concerts, Confluence, has just announced an addition to the season.
The first is a salon concert; Music Has No Borders: In Memory Of Walter Unger on March 4, 2019 at 7:30 pm. It will take place at 7:30 pm on Monday March 4th in The Atrium at 21 Shaftesbury Avenue and will feature lectures and performances by Canadian composers John Beckwith and Alice Ping Hee Ho, pianist Gregory Oh, bassist Andrew Downing and clarinetist Majd Sekkar. Tickets are available at the door and at bemusednetwork.com for $25.