The first of three concerts from the Elora Festival was webcast last night. It opened with a nicely produced video of the Elora singers performing Jonathan Dove’s In Beauty May I Walk which was followed by Lawrence Wiliford and Lucas Harris performing sings for lute and tenor. The lute was a weird and wonderful thing combining the usual strings with a longer theorbo like section totalling 12 courses and 23 strings. The music was all from the 17th century (as best I can tell) ranging from well known names like Purcell and Blow to others like John Beck who are likely only familiar to specialists in this rep. Anyway, it was beautifully done and makes one wish that this material would be performed more often.
Tapestry have another in their outdoor “box concerts” series coming up Friday, August 7th at 2pm at Ehatare Retirement and Nursing Home, 40 Old Kingston Rd, Scarborough. It features tenor Asitha Tennekoon and if you are in the neighbourhood you should be able to find them. The series is aimed at community groups, retirement homes etc and if you are so inclined you can arrange for them to come visit. Details are on the Tapestry website.
Just a quick round up of what’s happening on Youtube that I haven’t written about recently.
Opera Revue continues to produce weekly short videos. The latest looks like it’s going to be the first in a series of numbers from their Blitzkrieg Cabaret show at the Dakota Tavern back before the flood.
Rachel Fenlon is aa unusual talent. She’s equally skilled as a soprano and as a pianist and she has combined those talents to create an evolving show called Fenlon and Fenlon where she sings (mostly) art song while accompanying herself on piano. I saw a very early version of the show in Toronto back in 2016. Last night there was a chance to see Rachel again; streamed from Berlin by Against the Grain as part of the Opera Pub series.
Yesterday was the one vocal element in this year’s virtual Toronto Summer Music; a recital streamed from the Burlington Arts Centre by mezzo Ema Nikolovska and pianist Steven Philcox. I think this was quite the best on-line event I have seen/heard since this schmozzle started. It started off with a master class in German Lieder singing. There were three Beethoven and three Schubert songs and they were just lovely. Ema’s voice is a lovely rich mezzo and she showed great expression and attention to the text backed up by perfect diction. Steven, as ever, was an exemplary accompanist.
It seems like as soon as the lockdown started there was a great rush to get content up online. Companies big and small were at it and so were individual artists and groups of friends. Some of the content was performance, some was interviews and some was just plain quirky. Since then we’ve seen specially staged concerts and attempts to monetize the streams among other things. It’s four months on and what have we learnt?
FAWN are streaming a version of their latest Convergence theory concert on Thursday evening. This isn’t opera. It’s part of FAWN’s electronic music series. You can find out the details, order your 3D glasses and see a sample here.
On August 10th at 6.30pm EST the COC are livestreaming Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian as part of Montreal Pride. It’s apparently been filmed in HD (unlike the archive videos the COC has been streaming for a while now). I wonder if that means a video release at some point. It’s free but requires advance registration at coc.ca/Hadrian. Not familiar with the work? Here’s a link to my review of the opening night.
I’ve mentioned this one before but don’t forget Ema Nikolovska and Steven Philcox’ recital for TSM. That’s on July 31st at noon EST.
On Thursday evening the members of COC’s Ensemble Studio collaborated to create an on-line concert called Songs of Hope. All the current Ensemble members plus Liz Upchurch took part in an extremely eclectic programme MC’d by Simone Osborne. There was “classic” art song with Jamie Groote singing Britten’s arrangement of Burns’ Highland Balou. Joel Allison sang Silent Noon by Vaughan Williams; a test piece for any Anglo baritone inviting comparison with the likes of Thomas Allen and Bryn Terfel. He passes the test in my book. Very fine singing indeed. Vartan Gabrielan gave us a rare chance to hear a genuine bass singing Schubert; in this case Ständchen. The different timbre is an interesting and welcome change.
Toronto Summer Music have announced their revised “virtual” schedule. Alas most of the vocal music is gone but there is plenty of interesting looking chamber music with, of course, a Beethoven focus. It runs July 16th to August 1st and it’s all free. The full schedule is here.
The one vocal recital features mezzo Ema Nikolovska with Steven Philcox in an interesting and varied programme. It airs on July 31st from noon to 2pm. The programme is here.
Last night’s virtual salon by Confluence; Let’s Stay Together, featured an extremely, if unsurprisingly, eclectic selection of music and poetry and some serious techno-wizardry. Two numbers featuring Suba Shankaran and her technical whizz husband Dylan Bell exemplified the techy side. Come Together was an overdubbed. live looped, east meets west version of the Lennon and McCartney number in which the pair built up layers of sound incrementally. Meditation Round, which rounded out the evening, was a moving new work by Suba dealing with how we need to move forward, not back, as life, perhaps, returns to some sort of normality. There was an almost 16th century quality to the music and the performance in which pretty much everyone took part remotely. Brilliant mixing and post production here backing up an extremely affecting work.