The most substantial offering I’ve seen this week is a concert from Toronto Summer Music that aired last night. It was a song recital by four of the Toronto’s better known young singers with Steven Philcox on piano. Simona Genga sang some Mahler and some interesting songs by the Basque composer Jésus Gurudi (new to me!). Clarence Frazer gave us excerpts from Die Schöne Müllerin plus three songs by Butterworth. No prizes for guessing which three but they were well done. Jamie Groote sang a set of Jake Heggie songs plus Strauss’ Beim Schlafengehen. Always excellent to hear Strauss sung well. Asitha Tennekoon rounded things off with a set from Wolff’s Mörike Lieder and songs by Holman (Fair Daffodils; obligatory CanCon), Gurney and Finzi. It’s all high class stuff and there’s about 90 minutes of singing. The platform is Vimeo and it looks and sounds good. It’s free and available here.
In streaming news Soundstreams has added a lovely concert of Ian Cusson’s Five Songs on Poems of Marilyn Dumont and Raven Chacon’s Ella Llora. The performers are mezzo Rebecca Cuddy and pianist Gregory Oh. I really urge people, Canadian or otherwise, to take a look at this. The news, as it pertains to Indigenous people in Canada, has been really grim in recent weeks and I don’t know anything quite like Dumont’s verse for conveying certain aspects of the Indigenous experience. She combines, sadness, anger and disarming humour in a way that touches me deeply and Ian’s settings intensify that. I’ve written about these songs before but never at such a moment.
Toronto Operetta Theatre’s latest offering is a webstream of Emmerich Kálmán’s 1915 operetta The Csárdás Princess (Die Csárdásfürstin) presented here in English with the usual minor tweaks to the dialogue including obligatory Rob Ford jokes, which have become something of a TOT tradition. The plot turns on the fact that an Austro-Hungarian aristo, let alone a second cousin of the Emperor, can’t marry someone with fewer than 64 quarterings on their coat of arms, let alone a cabaret singer. Implausible impersonations etc abound and love triumphs in the end. It’s all entirely harmless for heaven forfend that anything satirical might have made it past the Vienna censorship, especially in wartime. And there’s no sex because this isn’t France. The humour mostly turns on Hungarian antipathy for their Austrian masters. It’s light hearted and very tuneful fun.
Do you remember back when real live musicians used to perform for a real live audience? Well some mad dudes are trying to revive it. Tapestry Opera have some shows in conjunction with Canadian Stage coming up in High Park. July 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th you can catch the show “Box Concerts” that Tapestry have been taking around health care facilities and offering for private booking. It’s PWYC. Booking is via Canadian Stage. Also on the 17th at 3pm there’s an extended program including excerpts from Rocking Horse Winner where Asitha Tennekoon will be joined by Midori Marsh and Lucia Cesaroni. That’s $50 booked at the same page.
Against the Grain Theatre have released a location shot film of Holst’s Sāvitri on Youtube. It’s a very beautiful film with some fine music making but I really wonder why anyone would choose to lavish their talents on this particular opera.
Toronto Operetta Theatre are offering a streamed performance of Emmerich Kálmán’s The Csardas Princess. It’s another film made in the Edward Jackman Studio and with TOT’s usual team in charge. The cast includes Lauren Margison in the title role with Michael Barrett as Prince Edwin. The cast also includes TOT regulars Caitlin Wood as Countess Stasi, Ryan Downey as Boni and Gregory Finney as Feri, Rosalind McArthur and Sean Curran appear as Edwin’s parents Anhilte and Leopold Maria.
The stream will be available from July 9th to 23rd and an access code is $20 plus fees and can be purchased here.
VOICEBOX:Opera in Concert have a streamed version of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur premiering on Friday. It’s a film made at the Edward Jackman Centre that reimagines the opera as a game of chess. Natalya Gennadi sings the title role with Julie Nesrallah as the Princess de Bouillon. The cast also includes Holly Chaplin and Evan Korbut. Tickets are $20 from www.operainconcert.com and the stream will be available until July 2nd.
It’s almost time for the Toronto Summer Music Festival 2021. This year it runs July 15th to August 1st. The bad news is that, like last year, it’s virtual. The good news is that it’s all free and, as always, there’s some excellent stuff. The full line up and details of how to access the streams are here.
The highlight for me will be Adrianne Pieczonka and Steven Philcox in a recital featuring Purcell’s “Music for a While”, selected lieder by Clara Schumann, a selection of melodies by Fauré, “Hermit Songs” by Samuel Barber, and selections of works by George Gershwin. That’s on Tuesday, July 20th at 7:30 pm.
So far no word on the line up for the Regeneration concerts but I guess I won’t miss spending three summer Saturdays alternating between a freezing Walter Hall and a scorching Philosopher’s Walk. It will feel quite civilised to dip into the Regen stuff as and when.