Mizzy Mazzoli’s latest opera The Listeners is now available on the OperaVision channel on Youtube. It’s a Den Norske Opera production recorded in Oslo a couple of months ago and it’s very interesting. There are several short trailers etc on the channel that you can use to get an idea of what it’s about and what it sounds like.
It’s not everyday you come across a work for cello, chamber orchestra and flamenco dancer but Alice Ping Yee Ho has created one. It’s about fifteen minutes long and, as one might expect in a sort of homage to the genre, it’s melodic and percussive. It was recorded in a Vancouver performance featuring Rachel Mercer on cello and dancer Cyrena Luchkow-Huang with the all female Allegra Chamber Orchestra and conductor Janna Sailor. There’s some interesting choreography beautifully danced as well as excellent music making. The sound and picture quality on Youtube is excellent and the EP version sounds fine in standard CD quality. It’s also available in other formats.
The digital EP (audio only) is available from Centrediscs (catalogue number CMCCD 29922) or there is full video on Youtube.
Less a Toronto listings summary than a quick review of things going on in various real and virtual spaces.
On November 6th my good friends at Opera Revue have a “gala”; Ruckus! at the Revival. Besides the usual suspects there are several guests and I believe it starts at 6.30pm not 7.30 like the poster says. There’s a very short and very silly trailer here.
Last month I posted about a Pierrot themed concert including Danika Lorèn singing Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Happenstancers. Now they have released films of five of the songs studio recordings – not from the concert). They are very artsy black and white movies with the texts included and I like them a lot. They can be found on the Happenstancers Youtube channel as five separate films or as one continuous movie.
Medusa’s Children is a location shot opera film recently released by Opera Q; a Toronto based collective “dedicated to amplifying queer and trans voices”. I think this is the company’s second production following the live staged Dido and Belinda in 2019. This new piece; music by Colin McMahon, text by Charlie Petch, is also on a classical theme. In fact it follows Ovid pretty closely (at least for the back story) and of course there’s a queer twist.
There’s a new video up on the Confluence Concerts Youtube channel. It’s a lecture recital by counter-tenor Ryan McDonald about Klaus Nomi. It’s an interesting and scholarly attempt to situate Nomi in the context of both his own time and place (1970s/80s New York City) and in the context of contemporary queerness in the classical music world. There’s also some singing. Ryan, accompanied by Ivan Jovanovic, performs some of the material associated with Nomi including a couple of “diva arias” and songs by Dowland, Schumann and Purcell.
Songs From the House of Death is a new song cycle for mezzo-soprano and orchestra by Ian Cusson. It was premiered in April by Krisztina Szabó and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. It’s a setting of three texts from Joy Harjo‘s How We Became Human. Ian has a knack of finding really strong texts by Indigenous poets and these are no exception. The longest (13 minutes of the 23 minute work) is “Songs From the House of Death; Or How to Make it Through the End of a Relationship”. This is an evocation of death and impermanence and memory. The setting is very varied. The opening pizzicato strings are barely audible but it rapidly builds to blend densely orchestrated (it’s a big orchestra) and very high energy music with much gentler and more lyrical passages; sometimes using the concert master as a soloist. This fits the changing moods of the text and, as I’ve come to expect with Ian, the music is always rooted in the text.
The third instalment of the Likht Ensemble’s Shoah Songbook project features music from Poland; specifically from the Lodz ghetto and Auschwitz-Birkenau. It’s available now on the Harold Green Jewish Theatre channel on Youtube. Here’s the link. There’s about 12 minutes of useful introductory material and 25 minutes of music.
The current offering from Operavision on Youtube is the 2020 production by Opera North of Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins livestreamed from Leeds Playhouse in November 2020. It was Pay to View then but now it’s available for free until October.
The latest commission from the Canadian Art Song Project is Another Day by Abigail Richardson-Schulte. It’s a setting of six poems by schoolchildren on the theme of refugees and human rights. It’s now available on video performed by soprano Anna-Sophie Neher with Carl Matthieu Neher at the piano.