January preview

ggsjan2021Right 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!

Tapestry announces winter line up

Morgan-Paige Melbourne. Photo by Ian ChangOver 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

On the radio

Antique-Radio-1Apparently 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.

More upcoming on-line content

confluencecreativityMy 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.

Perryn Leech to head the COC

leechThe waiting is over. The COC has announced the successor to Alexander Neef and it’s Perryn Leech who currently runs Houston Grand Opera.  I think there’s a lot to like in this appointment.  Leech is a guy who has done a lot in his career and I like that he comes from a technical background; in lighting as it happens.  I would worry that someone from a stage direction background would want to hog that aspect of opera production.  After all, it’s happened before at the COC.  A conductor background would be redundant given we have an excellent music director.  And the last thing we need is a business person with no real passion for opera.

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Virtual Rubies

Like everything else the 2020 Rubies, Opera Canada‘s awards show, is going virtual this year.  It’s going out as a video, produced by Taylor Long of the COC, which will premier at 8pm on November 23rd.  Joyce El-Khoury hosts and Ben Heppner narrates the honouree videos, and then Barbara Hannigan, Michael Schade and Yannick Nezet-Seguin contribute  ‘acceptance’ speeches. Plus there’s a tribute to this year’s posthumous honouree, tenor Edward Johnson.  There are also performances by Russell Braun, Rihab Chaieb, Midori Marsh and Matt Cairns recorded in the studio with pianist and singer co-located. The show will be shown via OC’s Youtube channel.

rubies2020

There’s much more about the honourees and their careers on the Opera Canada website:

Virtual – new and upcoming

Things I’ve seen recently or plan to see include:

Seen recently:

  • Two more spooky shorts from Tapestry Opera and Red Truck productions.  If you had any lingering doubts about Keith Klassen’s sanity these should take care of them!  That said, the technical quality of these is amazing. (Tapestry Youtube channel).
  • A COVID flavoured Halloween special from Opera Revue.  (Opera Revue’s Youtube channel)
  • A recording and video presentation by the Kingston Symphony of Dean Burry’s Nijmegen Bridge 1944.  It’s a homage to the Canadians who died liberating the Netherlands and it’s well worth hearing.  There are also more Harmon in Space episodes.  (Kingston Symphony Youtube channel)

klassenodd

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Prognostication

Quiet Streets St ClairBack in the summer Opera Canada asked a number of us to right a piece on our local opera scene and what was happening there that went beyond rewriting companies’ season announcements and updates.  So in July I interviewed the leadership of seven local companies ranging from the COC to Opera 5 (thanks to all the lovely people who gave me their time).  That article appeared in print in the most recent Opera Canada magazine.  It’s now available on the website.   Bear in mind that it was written back in August and that some things have happened since then.  Nonetheless I was pleased to be able to offer up what I think was asked for, which was something reasonably analytical and strategic.

News roundup

mirrormirrorTonight Essential Opera have a short livestream of a new creation.  It’s a fifteen minute piece on the theme of Snow White called Mirror, Mirror.  Words and music are by Anna Pidgorna.  It’s being screened on Youtube and Facebook at 7pm EST.

Tapestry Opera is offering a full-time, paid, multi-year professional opportunity to female-identifying and non-binary music directors and conductors in partnership with Pacific Opera Victoria and leading orchestral partner the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with over 10 other Canadian opera companies and orchestras for national placements.  All the details on the programme and the application process are here.

The Royal Conservatory of Music have announced a metric shedload of cancellations, alterations and postponements relative to their 2020/21 season.  All the details are here.  In any event, if you were planning on seeing anything live or via webstream from the RCM I’d double check!

Suzie Leblanc has a new website.  You can check it out here.

More season announcements

I’ve just received news of programming into the fall and beyond from Tapestry, Toronto City Opera and Loose Tea Music Theatre.

Tapestry have announced three livestream concerts to be shown on their Youtube channel.

  • October 24th 8pm: jazz pianist Robi Botos will be improvising on Tapestry’s amazing Bösendorfer Imperial Grand in live collaboration with an Art Battle Toronto artist, creating something new and unique.
  • November 7th: The first episode of S.O.S. Sketch Opera Singers.  It’s a collection of short opera sketches like the LibLab with an amazing line up of composers, librettists and performers.  Check out the details.
  • November 28th at 8pm there’s a collaboration between husband and wife duo soprano Xin Wang and saxophonist Wallace Halladay directed by Michael Mori and featuring the music of Ana Sokolovic.

Tapestry have also introduced a free “membership program” to create added value for their audience.  Details here.

saxsop

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