UoT Faculty of Music @100

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.

EJB

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COC free concert series

kramerThe 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.

Courses this fall

Iain Scott has a bunch of opera courses coming up.  Links are there if you are interested

mnjccAt the U of T’s School of Continuing Studies
5 Thursday afternoons (3:00 – 5:00 p.m.)
Starting 13th September.
“FIVE ITALIAN OPERAS FOR PARIS”
https://learn.utoronto.ca/interactive-course-search#/profile/3510
(416) 978 2400

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Yiddish Glory

YiddishGloryOK so it’s a bit off the Operaramblings beaten path but there’s a concert coming up at Koerner Hall on August 28th that intrigues me.  It’s called Yiddish Glory and it resurrects anti-fascist music that documents Nazi atrocities and Jewish resistance/partisan activities in the Soviet Union after the German invasion of 1941.  They were collected by a team of Jewish Soviet ethnomusicologists led by Moisei Beregovsky during the war, but shortly afterwards, during Stalin’s anti-Jewish purge, the members were arrested, their work confiscated, and they died thinking the music was lost to history.  In the early 2000s, a lucky coincidence brought University of Toronto Professor Anna Shternshis to Kiev, where she learned that the music had actually survived in the intervening decades following the researchers’ arrests, and in the years since, has led the research project to restore these songs.  There’s also a CD.  I’ve listened to a few tracks.  The music is clearly Jewish and very much of the time.  It’s redolent of horror and resistance and ultimately, hope.  I find it deeply moving.

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Upcoming -Tapestry and AtG

Toronto - Distillery District Trinity StreetTapestry Opera has announced participants for this year’s LIBLAB.  This year’s librettists participants include  playwright Colleen Murphy, Kanika Ambrose and Guildhall artist-fellows Lila Palmer and Daniel Solon. Composers joining the 2018 program are: Rene Orth, composer in residence at Opera Philadelphia, Benton Roark, composer of last season’s Dora-nominated Bandits in the Valley, Ian Cusson August Murphy-King. The 2018 LIBLAB ensemble will be led by musical directors Jennifer Tung and Andrea Grant and director Michael Hidetoshi Mori.  Singers include soprano Teiya Kasahara, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Tritchew, tenor Keith Klassen, and baritone Peter McGillivray. 

 The results of LIBLAB will be presented September 13th-16th, in the Ernest Balmer Studio as Tapestry Briefs: Tasting Shorts, a program of opera vignettes, expected to range from poignant and topical to hilarious accompanied by a tasting flight of tapas.  Continue reading

SOLT and Classical Pursuits

soltSummer Opera Lyric Theatre has announced its 2018 season.  There are three shows.  Massenet’s Manon plays July 27th (8pm) and 29th (2pm) and August 1st (2pm) and 4th (8pm).  Handel’s Semele plays July 28th (8pm) and August 1st (8pm), 3rd (8pm) and 4th (2pm).  Mozart’s Così fan tutte plays July 28th (2pm) and 31st (8pm) and August 2nd (8pm) and 5th (2pm).  Guillermo Silva-Marin directs the young artists of SOLT and all performances are at the Robert Gill Theatre, University of Toronto, 214 College St. (entrance on St. George).  Subscription packages for $60 are available. Single tickets are $28, ($22 for students and seniors).  For subscription and single tickets call 416-366-7723 (Mondays to Fridays from 12 pm to 6 pm), at the door 2 hours prior to performances, or online at www.ticketmaster.ca.

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I Call myself Princess

I Call myself Princess is a new “play with opera music” written by Métis playwright and actor Jani Lauzon which will première at the Aki Studio in Toronto in September in a production directed by Marjorie Chan.  I heard about this project a while ago from Marion Newman who will headline the new production and was intrigued.  I knew it was going to be about American composer Charles Wakefield Cadman and his Creek/Cherokee collaborator Tsianina Redfeather.  I knew they did a touring show including Cadman’s song cycle From Wigwam to Tepee and that’s about it.  It sounded like the worst kind of late Victorian cultural appropriation and “Redsploitation” so why would serious and intelligent Indigenous artists like Lauzon and Newman be interested? Today I spoke with Jani in an attempt to find out.

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Marion Newman as Tsianina Redfeather.
Photo by Dahlia Katz. Design by Mariah Meawasige

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