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.
Coming up at the Royal Conservatory….
- 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!
There was a really interesting announcement from the COC earlier today. To cut a long story short it announced that the four principals of Amplified Opera; Teiya Kasahara, Marion Newman, Asitha Tennekoon and Aria Umezawa, would become “Disruptors in Residence”. I think this is a very positive move. Many of us have been following the various conversations about evolving opera beyond being the preserve of (almost) dead white people to being an art form that more fully reflects the diversity of our communities. I have to admit to being somewhat sceptical about how much of the energy and goodwill that has been generated will survive the return to some sort of post-covid normality. It.’s surprisingly hard to make change in large, hierarchical organisations go viral.
The latest set of “guidelines” from the Government of Ontario will no doubt be interpreted in various ways but one thing is clear they are affecting some organisations production schedules and there have been cancellations and postponements notably from the Royal Conservatory and Tapestry Opera. Frankly the situation is too muddy and too fluid for me to bother with updates to schedules right now. All I can suggest is that if you are planning to watch any Toronto produced streams keep checking the company websites for news on what is and isn’t happening.
Right now January is looking a bit thin. All I have booked right now are:
- January 8th at 7.30pm. The Glenn Gould School’s postponed fall opera show. It’s Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins and Bolcom’s Lucrezia. That’s going to be streamed free on the Koerner Hall performance website.
- January 13th at 6pm is the next concert in the Confluence series. It’s The Mandala – The Beauty of Impermanence and it’s curated by Suba Shankaran. Also free and streamed on the Confluence Youtube channel.
- January 30th at 8pm. Tapestry’s next offering. It’s called A Joke Before the Gallows and features pianist Adam Sherkin performing Chopin’s four masterpiece scherzi alongside monologues written by David James Brock. The show is described as “blackly funny and thought-provoking” and is directed by Tom Diamond. Also free, also on Youtube.
There will likely be additions as the moth goes on as people seem to put stuff up with very little advance notice!
Over the next few months Tapestry will be offering three new shows recorded in the Ernest Balmer Studio and streamed via Youtube. The line up is:
- A Joke Before the Gallows: Pianist Adam Sherkin performs a musical story celebrating the dramatic music of Chopin, directed by Tom Diamond, with text by David James Brock, in co-production with The Piano Lunaire. That premiers on January 30th.
- Our Song D’Hiver: Soprano Mireille Asselin explores her connection to the shared and unique elements of English-speaking and French-speaking culture. Premiers February 27th.
- Where Do I Go?: Pianist Morgan-Paige Melbourne offers up a unique multidisciplinary performance combining piano with dance. That goes live on March 27th.
Photo credit: Ian Chang
Apparently there is still such a thing as radio…
This Saturday the new recording of Rocking Horse Winner will be broadcast on Ben Heppner’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera following the live broadcast from the Met. That’s on CBC of course.
And on December 29th Margaret Atwood will be talking about AtG’s Messiah/Complex when she guest hosts BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme. Unfortunately, as I understand it, that show runs from 0600-0900 GMT so it’s strictly for the nocturnal types in Canada.
My sense of time, or rather lack of one, has made these “upcoming” posts a bit irregular. So anyway these are things I haven’t mentioned so far.
- Tonight at 7pm on Youtube, Confluence Concerts present the Hutcheons with a talk on Creativity and Aging based on their book Four Last Songs. I’ve read the book and had (used to have) some of the best conversations with Doctors Linda and Michael so this should be good. Musical excerpts from Messiaen and Leonard Cohen will be performed by Larry Beckwith, Robert Kortgaard and Patricia O’Callaghan. Free.
- Wednesday at 8pm on Youtube it’s Tapestry with SOS – Sketch Opera Singers episode 1. Singing peas on a dinner plate. The inner thoughts of evil babies. An attention-starved man who bursts into dramatic song whenever he steps into a light. Check out the teaser that’s already up on Youtube. Also free.
- Saturday at 7pm is Opera Atelier’s Something Rich and Strange which is a baroque pasticcio. It’s streamed via the Koerner Hall streaming site and tickets are $25. Check out OA’s website for details.
- December 13th at 8pm is Against the Grain’s multicultural Messiah/Complex. Free but registration required.
- December 17th at 8pm is Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah.. This is the latest iteration of what has become an annual event but reenvisaged for the web. I was on a Zoom call last Monday with the director and music director. Sounds like it should be good. Also free but registration required.
The usual suspects (check earlier posts for recommendations) are still also mostly producing new content.