It’s almost time for the Toronto Summer Music Festival 2021. This year it runs July 15th to August 1st. The bad news is that, like last year, it’s virtual. The good news is that it’s all free and, as always, there’s some excellent stuff. The full line up and details of how to access the streams are here.
The highlight for me will be Adrianne Pieczonka and Steven Philcox in a recital featuring Purcell’s “Music for a While”, selected lieder by Clara Schumann, a selection of melodies by Fauré, “Hermit Songs” by Samuel Barber, and selections of works by George Gershwin. That’s on Tuesday, July 20th at 7:30 pm.
So far no word on the line up for the Regeneration concerts but I guess I won’t miss spending three summer Saturdays alternating between a freezing Walter Hall and a scorching Philosopher’s Walk. It will feel quite civilised to dip into the Regen stuff as and when.
The Canadian Art Song Project (CASP) has announced that Laurence Jobidon (right) and Jesse Plessis (left) are the inaugural mentees in the Chung-Wai Chow and John Wright Art Song Mentorship Programme for Composers; a new CASP initiative designed to support emerging composers working in the field of Canadian Art Song. They will be working with mentors Luna Pearl Woolf and Jocelyn Morlock, respectively.
Over the course of the next year, Laurence Jobidon will be working with Luna Pearl Woolf on her project that sets the poetry of Blanche Lamontagne; the first French-Canadian woman poet to publish under her own name, while Jesse Plessis will be working with Jocelyn Morlock on a project entitled Time’s Kiss that will interweave texts by Rabindranath Tagore, Anne Carson, and Geneviève Plessis.
Full details on the programme and the selected composers can be found here.
I only have two confirmed events for May. On Thursday 6th there is Tapestry’s Sketch Opera Singers 2.SOS1 was a hoot and the brief excerpt for the upcoming show on Tapestry’s Youtube channel suggests the new one will be fun too. If you haven’t seen it check it out. It’s the famous ABBA-nera by Sven Bizet. Like all Tapestry’s streams SOS2 will be free on Youtube.
I think last night’s virtual conference with Michael Mori and Jaime Martino of Tapestry marks the first real announcement of intention for the 2021/22 season by any Canadian company and it offers insight into what may and may not be possible in the next year to eighteen months. Tapestry adapted quickly and creatively to COVID conditions and so I think their read on the future is important. So here’s my take on what was said.
They are planning for live performances with an audience from January 2022. That sounds about right to me. In their case they are looking at two site specific works. Gould’s Wall by Brian Current; libretto by Lisa Balkan, is to be performed at the Royal Conservatory. I thought this was a great idea when I first heard about it from Brian four years ago and I’m really looking forward to it. The other piece, to be performed at OCAD, is Nicole Lizée’s Rossum’s Universal Robots with libretto by Nicolas Billon. I think this originated in the LibLab in November of 2014. There are a number of other new works in the pipeline for future seasons.
It seems like Ontario is changing its policy on what’s open and what’s not and who gets vaccinated and who doesn’t about three times/week right now and, among other things, it’s playing havoc with the creation of on-line content.
It’s that time of year again. The IRCPA is looking for young professional singers for their annual Encounter which offers ten singers free coaching, career advice and a concert; Ten Singing Stars – New Generation.. This year’s mentor is Canadian baritone Theodore Baerg. The encounter session will happen on May 21st in downtown Toronto and the concert will be on June 4th or 11th at a location tbd depending on the public health situation prevailing. There’s a link to the application process at ircpa.net.
March 12th at 8pm. ARC Ensemble plays Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and English Songs. An all Beethoven programme featuring Monica Whicher in the songs. That’s a free livestream on the Koerner Hall performance page.
March 21st at 1pm. To the Distant Beloved. Miriam Khalil, Russell Braun and Carolyn Maule perform Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and a world premiere piece by award-winning Iranian Canadian composer, Afarin Mansouri, commissioned by Canadian Art Song Project. This one is $10 with tickets/codes available from the RCM box office.
Yesterday the COC hosted an update session on the Digital Stage initiative and one of its key components; the Performing Arts Digital Lab (PADL). This is a joint project of the COC and the National Ballet) and yesterday’s update curiously coincided with the Federal Heritage department announcing major funding for the next stage of PADL. I’m not going to report on the update in detail because all the materials and the session itself will be archived at coc.ca/digitalstage. (All the stuff prior to yesterday is already there but yesterday’s material wasn’t at time of writing)
Pickings are still decidedly slim in terms of locally created on-line content with many postponements due to the current lockdown in Toronto. What I have lined up is as follows:
The UoT Opera Student Composer Collective’s annual show is being streamed at 2.30pm on Sunday 21st February. This year it’s called Escape Room and it’s a comedy with a scenario of characters trapped in a darkened room with no memory of how they got there. It’s being streamed via Zoom and preregistration at this link is required.
The COC has a roundtable on Gender and Opera on its Youtube channel on March 5th at 7pm.
Confluence Concerts are offering a tribute to John Beckwith; specifically his songs, on March 7th at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm. That’s on Confluence’s Youtube channel.
Tapestry have two shows coming up on their Youtube channel. March 6th at 8pm sees Mireille Asselin and guests perform a range of works celebrating their French heritage. Then on March 27th at 8pm Morgan-Paige Melbourne performs Where Do I Go?; an intriguing looking mixture of piano and dance.
There’s also new short but fun content on the appropriate Youtube channels from Opera Revue, Alexander Hajek and Domoney Artists.
Do check to make sure that there aren’t further changes before planning your life around these events!