Singulières, written by Maxime Beauregard-Martin, is a French language (more or less) coproduction of Le collectif Nous sommes ici, le Théâtre Catapulte and La Bordée. It'[s currently being presented jointly by Crow’s Theatre and Théâtre français de Toronto at the Streetcar Crowsnest. It tells the stories of various Québecoises who are stlll single at a certain age. Women who would once, especially in Quebec, have been referred to as “old maids”.
Emma Haché’s Lesson in Forgetting (translated by Taliesin McEnaney and John Van Burek) is an exploration of memory, amnesia and love. It;’s currently playing in a production by Pleiades Theatre directed by Ash Knight at the Young Centre. The basic premise is that HE (Andrew Moodie) has suffered head injuries that mean the only thing he can remember is how much he loves SHE (Ma-Ann Dionisio). She visits him every day to work on his memory issues but it’s obviously hopeless and eventually, wanting to be free to continue her own life, she tries to leave him but can’t.
How far will people go in the effort to survive? How can they preserve some sense of self respect and dignity in that survival? I think these are the questions underlying George F. Walker’s play Orphans for the Czar which had its world premier last night at Crow’s Theatre in a production directed by Tanja Jacobs.
I am really intrigued by how Amplified Opera’s shows this week at the Museum of Contemporary Art are going to work and so I spoke to both Marion Newman and Topher Mokrzewski about them and what the audience might expect. Despite several hours on the phone I’m still not sure I know and that’s probably a good thing. It’s pretty fluid and experimental and I don’t think we’ll know exactly what we are getting until we get it. I do know that we can expect music and talk and discussion with the audience around the themes being explored in each half of the double header.
This is not a political blog but these are not normal times. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and condemn in the strongest terms the current aggression by the fascist regimes in Moscow and Minsk as well as their enablers and supporters in the United States and elsewhere.
It’s July 29th 1951; the opening night of the first Bayreuth Festival since the end of the war. Noted anti-Nazi Wilhelm Furtwängler will conduct the Festival Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony from the Festspielhaus. It will be broadcast live by Süddeutsche Rundfunk(*) and will be relayed by stations in Germany, Austria, France and Sweden. You are sitting in front of your valve radio because commercial transistor models are not yet on the market. You can’t record it to listen to little because tape reorders are almost as rare in 1951 as transistor radios.
So, it’s cancellation time again. Everything is off as far as “live” is concerned until at least January 26th in Ontario. That means that a whole raft of concerts at the RCM are postponed/off including Gould’s Wall and Gerry Finley. Morgan Paige-Melbourne and Eve Egoyan are going ahead as livestreams. Check the RCM website for details. The COC has suspended single ticket sales for Madama Butterfly until things become clearer. Meanwhile the rest of the world, mostly, is getting on with it. I’m told it’s called the 0 micron variant because that’s roughly the diameter of Doug Ford’s brain.
Last night the first of three concerts at Lutheran Redeemer Church in the West End Micro Music Festival took place. It was an exploration of the boundaries and possibilities of the string quartet and proved most interesting in that regard. The use of extended technique has long been part of the string quartet repertoire but in the first part of last night’s programme two works by Nicole Lizée explored much further than that using additional “instruments”; whirly/whizzy things, strange blue/purple contraptions that made their own sounds and were also used as bows and sheets of paper rustled in front of fans. Norma Beecroft’s Amplified Quartet with Tape augmented the four instruments with recorded electronics. Whether this was all pre-recorded or processed as the performance proceeded (or both) I couldn’t say. One has to admire the versatility of the interro quartet (Steve Sang Koh and Eric Kim-Fujita – vilolins, Maxime Despax -viola and Sebastian Ostertag – cello) in handling all the requirements. It also really made me glad to be back listening “live”. This kind of music demands a kind of distraction free attention that’s really hard to conjure up in one’s own living room.
I came across Hans Thomalla’s 2019 opera Dark Spring when the record label Oehms gave me access to a pre-release of the CD version which is to be released in a couple of days time. Listening to a couple of scenes and looking at the photos in the accompanying booklet suggested to me that this was really an opera I needed to see to fully appreciate and, indeed, it turns out that there’s a lot going on that isn’t explicit in the libretto. Fortunately, as it turns out, there’s a full video recording on Vimeo. It’s not the greatest technical quality of all time but it is drawn from the same live performances at the work in Mannheim in the fall of last year as the CDs. The CDs are excellent high quality (48kHz, 24 bit) CD quality. So I think there’s a case for tracking down the video and the CD recording.