Dark Spring

darkspringcoverI 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.

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Lovesongs

Soundstreams’ on-line concert, Lovesongs, recorded in Koerner Hall and streamed (access codes are PWYC, min $7) features three works; two by and one “in homage” to Claude Vivier with an intro by Lawrence Cherney and David Fallis who conducts on the first and third pieces.

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Bach III

The third and final concert in Confluence Concerts and the Toronto Bach Festival’s presentation of the Bach cello suites is now on line.  It features Andrew Downing playing the Suite No.2 in D minor BWV1008 on double bass and Ryan Davis playing the Suite No.5 in C minor BWV1011 on viola.  Both pieces were recorded in front of a live audience at Heliconian Hall.

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Palej premiere

This one’s a bit different.  COSA (Centre for Opera Study and Appreciation) have a stream of a new opera by Norbert Palej coming up.  It’s called The Art of Love and it’s drawn from various works by Ovid including the obvious one but also, as best I can tell, Medicamina Faciei Femineae and Metamorphoses.  It’s sung in Latin (there are subtitles for those whose Latin is less than fluent) with animations by Sean Stanley.  There are two overlapping casts with some very decent singers including Ryan Downey and Alex Hajek.  It’s playing tonight and the next three nights at 7.30pm with alternating casts.

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Gianni Schicchi

The COC’s production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi directed by Amy Lane is now available to watch for free, for the next six months, at coc.ca/watch .  It’s given a 1950s Italian setting but otherwise it’s a pretty straightforward approach reliant on good ensemble directing and acting, which it gets.  It’s livened up by video projections by Alexander Gunnarsson, which come over really very well on the film.

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Bach cello suites II


The second of three concerts of the Bach cello suites prresented by Confluence Concerts and the Toronto Bach Festival is now up on Confluence’s Youtube channel.  There’s an hour or so of really nice cello playing with Kieran Campbell playing the Suite no.4 and Eleanor Fry performing the Suite no.6.  The most interesting segments though are hearing the musicians talk about their rather unusual instruments.  Kieran was playing an early 18th century instrument that is quite a bit larger than a modern cello and has no spike at the foot.  It’s strung with gut of course though two of the strings are metal wrapped.  Eleanor’s instrument is a modern reproduction of a baroque five stringed cello.  I had no idea such a thing existed!  As with all the Confluence streams, technical quality is impeccable.  Definitely worth a look.

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Angel

Opera Atelier’s new film Angel premiered last night.  It consists of six scenes which, we are told, can be performed as a sequence or individually.  There’s a basic theme of “angels” and the texts are drawn from Milton and Rilke (in translation).  The score is by Edwin Huizinga and Christopher Bagan with some of the dance music being actual baroque works.

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SOS Sketch Opera Singers 3

The third SOS – Sketch Opera Singers from Tapestry Opera is now up on Youtube.  It’s quite similar to the previous episodes with inspired lunacy from KrossØver (Teiya Kasahara, Keith Klassen, Krisztina Szabó, Korin Thomas-Smith and a snail but definitely not Simone McIntosh).  I think it’s a bit darker and a bit weirder than earlier episodes, even a bit surreal in places.  The sketch where people are helped through break-ups by soft toys singing well known arias comes to mind.  Still, it’s half an hour of (mostly) harmless fun.  Definitely worth a watch.

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IRCPA Ten Singing Stars concert

The concert for the eleven singers taking part in this year’s IRCPA Encounter programme was broadcast on 96.3 FM on Friday evening.  It was also webcast on Youtube.  Here’s the link.   Anyway here’s a quick rundown on the performances.

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The 2021 IRCPA Encounter / Singing Stars Participants Front row, from left: Camila Montefusco, Hillary Tufford, Ana Toumine, Ryan McDonald, Ross Mortimer Back row, from left: Ryan Nauta, Jaclyn Grossman, Jocelyn Fralick, Melissa Danis, Rachel Miller Not shown Nicholas Gryniewski

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Soundstreams RBC Bridges Showcase

The RBC Bridges Showcase is the product of Soundstreams’ program for emerging composers who are mentored by a more experienced composer in the creation of a new choral work.  This year there are six composers and the mentor, by an odd coincidence, is Sarah Kirkland Snider.  The works are all for an eight voice ensemble and, in some cases, electronics directed by Gregory Oh.  The concert is available until October 21st on Soundstreams’ Youtube channel.

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