Royal Conservatory 2019/20

ldspThe RCM 2019/20 season has been announced.  It’s the usual mix of chamber, orchestral, piano, jazz, world music, the completely indefinable and, of course, vocal.  There are 91 concerts in total.  With such a wide range of material it’s hard to imagine anybody being interested in all of it or, conversely, anybody unable to find something to their taste.  My tastes, of course, run largely to classical vocal music so what follows is what I find most interesting: Continue reading

Appropriate redress

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Ian Cusson

Two years ago when Harry Somers’ Louis Riel was revived in Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec there was considerable debate about the appropriation of a traditional Nsga’a morning song; the Kuyas.  Basically in the culture the song comes from transmission and use of songs are regulated by the traditional owners.  This particular music had been used to set the text of a lullabye that Riel’s wife sings to their child, originally without attribution.  In 2017 the decision was made to use it again though not without consultation, debate and acknowledgement.  See my comments about the issue on opening night here.

It’s fair to say that I don’t think anybody thought the status quo was really acceptable and a great deal of discussion has gone on leading to an announcement this morning that the music will be replaced in the opera by new music composed by Ian Cusson, who is of Métis and French-Canadian descent.  The whole story; whats, whys and wherefores, is contained in the linked COC press release.  It’s the right thing to do and it’s the right composer.

COC Media Release – Riel Update – FINAL

Pomegranate

There’s been a lot of new opera in Toronto at the moment and a lot of it has had either an Indigenous or a Queer angle; likely reflecting funding bodies trying to encourage diversity of various types.  The latest one to come my way is Pomegranate which will play at Buddies in Bad Times from June 5th to 9th.  It’s a lesbian chamber opera from librettist Amanda Hale and composer Kye Marshall and it’s a first opera for both of them.

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Looking ahead to June

June is shaping up to busier than one might expect.  But first here’s one last announcement for May.  On the 22nd B-Exalted have a choral concert at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene at 8pm. Soloists are Dallas Chorley, soprano; Rebecca Gray, alto; Charles Davidson and David Walsh, tenors, and Janaka Welihinda, bass.  More details here.

And so to June itself.  There are two items of interest on June 1st.  At Hart House Theatre at 2pm there’s a performance of Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music before it leaves for a tour of Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Israel.  I’m curious to see how it’s developed since we saw a version that was still rather WIP in June 2017.  Later, at 8pm at St. Thomas Anglican Church there’s the latest in the Confluence Series.  This one is titled At the River and features, among others, Larry Beckwith, Dylan Bell, Ian Cusson, James Meade, Marion Newman, Patricia O’Callaghan, Suba Sankaran, Jacqueline Teh and Giles Tomkins.  This has become a “don’t miss” series.

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Pandora; an “out of the box” opera/ballet

FAWN_spring_INSTA_v003FAWN Chamber Creative and its artistic director Amanda Smith see themselves as pioneers.  They champion inter-disciplinary works that don’t fit easily into any taxonomy of music, theatre or dance styles.  Their latest venture; Pandora, an “opera/ballet” on a classical theme, might seem straight from the court of Louis XIV but Lully likely wouldn’t have scored it for drums, a piano, an electric guitar, a cello, a bassoon and electronics.  The Sun King would likely also be somewhat taken aback by Jenn Nichol’s choreography; her long association with Opera Atelier notwithstanding.

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Fourth Annual Toronto Bach Festival

bachtbfThe fourth annual Toronto Bach Festival runs May 24th to 26th.  There are four concerts and a lecture.  Here’s the line up:

Friday, May 24th at 8pm – Brandenburg Five

The program includes two cantatas: the early Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn, and Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn, plus Julia Wedman as soloist in Bach’s Concerto in A minor for violin. A brilliant night of illuminating music.  Soloists for the cantatas are Hélène Brunet, Daniel Taylor, Nick Veltmeyer and Joel Allison.  John Abberger directs the Toronto Bach Festival Orchestra.

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