Mysterious Barricades

Today saw a dawn to dusk livestream of concerts from St. John’s to Victoria; presented as Mysterious Barricades, aimed at raising awareness about suicide, suicide prevention and mental health generally.  I doubt there’s anybody whose life has not been touched by this issue, certainly not mine.  Anyway I made it out to Walter Hall for Toronto’s sixty minute contribution organized by Monica Whicher.  It was heartening to see so many artists of the highest calibre making their talents available for the cause.  So, not a review but heartfelt thanks to John Gregg, Russell Braun, Carolyn Maule, Nathalie Paulin, Norine Burgess, Judy Loman, Marie Bédard, Steven Philcox, Turkwaz, Andrea Levinson and the Mysterious Barricades Toronto Chorale and, of course, Monica for organizing.  One day perhaps…

The Hard Bargain

hardbargainThere are some unusual books coming my way these days.  The latest is an autobiography (more or less) of David Tucker; the middle son of the late Richard Tucker; a fixture at the Met for thirty years until his death in 1975.  I found it fascinating but I’m not entirely sure whether that’s because it’s a good book or because of the many places where it has a lot of personal resonance for me.  Both I suspect.  I also found myself having very ambivalent feelings about David (and perhaps even more so Richard) Tucker but I don’t think it’s the purpose of a reviewer of an autobiography to make moral judgements about his subject.  The reader can do that for him/herself.

 

Continue reading

Opera for Disaster Relief

I have spent most of the last two decades working in healthcare.  Most of that has been at the high tech, big dollar end of the business and one thing one learns in that world is that the big dollars are big.  Sometimes one questions the large salaries of hospital administrators and ministry “off scale” bureaucrats.  Sometimes one asks whether spending very large sums to provide a marginal life extension of poor quality makes any sense.  Always one is aware that much of the money spent that way could have a much greater impact elsewhere.  Nobody would deny that a dollar spent on providing emergency medicine in a disaster area or conflict zone goes a lot further than a dollar spent on the latest experimental chemotherapy or dubious IT mega-project.  That’s why I, personally, support Médecins Sans Frontières and why I was so glad that to say thanks for their shiny new piano acquisition, Tapestry decided to stage a concert benefitting MSF and local “first responder” charity Global Medic.

Continue reading

COC 2016/17

AlexanderNeefThe Canadian Opera Company released its annual report and accounts for 2016/17 last night.  The big news was the extension of General Director Alexander Neef’s tenure to the end of the 2025/26 season.  The financial news was basically “same old same old”.  Ticket sales once again showed a small decline which was compensated for by record fundraising performance to yield, essentially, a break even.

Continue reading