I’m afraid that Operaramblings is going to be pretty much “off air” for the remainder of April. To cut a long story short, I have a retinal tear and will have emergency surgery tomorrow. My mobility and screen time will be restricted for the rest of the month and I’ve cancelled my reviewing engagements for that period. If all goes to plan normal service should be resumed in May.
Slightly off the usual Operaramblings track perhaps, but my attention was recently drawn to a book publishing project that may be of interest. It’s a bilingual Latin/English text of the Mozart Requiem illustrated by artist Matt Hughes in art nouveau style. It’s going to be a 60pp edition with 15 full colour illustrations including gold ink. It’s hard cover bound with the edition size yet to be finalized but quite small. Right now it’s at the Kickstarter phase with a still a little way to go to meet target and allow publication. The book will include an introduction to the piece and the various stories/legends about its completion by the Guardian‘s music critic Erica Jeal and an essay on art nouveau by art blogger and gallery owner Olga Harmsen. There are more details and samples of the art work on Matt’s website or you could just go straight to the Kickstarter page.
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…
Jani Lauzon’s I Call myself Princess which opened Thursday night at the Aki Studio is a really good show and an important addition to the dramaturgy around Reconciliation and Cultural Appropriation. I was reviewing for Opera Canada where I trust the review will appear in due course but don’t wait… go see it.
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.
The 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.