First the bad news. Calgary Opera have cancelled their fall production of Fidelio citing uncertainty over rehearsal, performance and audience management issues. I’m not surprised and I expect we will hear something similar from the COC next week. The performing arts really don’t seem to figure at all on the Ontario government’s priorities or plans which isn’t a surprise but is a bit depressing. There’s information here on what the industry is doing to try and get a change of priorities with tools you can use to help.
Here’s a round up of the latest on-line material to come my way:
- From the Kingston Symphony, Opera 5 and all things Krehm/Mitchell plus assorted animated animals… the concluding episodes of Harmon in Space (available now) and a new project, premiering April 7th; Threepenny Submarine featuring puppets from Gazelle Automation, sopranos Rachel Krehm and Caitlin Wood and a chamber ensemble led by Evan Mitchell.
- From Against the Grain… a continuation of the run of Messiah/Complex and a live chat “Making of” at 7pm tonight.
- From Soundstreams… Electric Messiah is available again until April 11th.
- From Calgary Opera… Opera Labs, a series devoted to innovation in opera. The first film is about Namwayut; a collaborative composition featuring, among others, Marion Newman, Yvette Nolan, Ian Cusson and Asitha Tennekoon.
Everything is on Youtube except the Calgary project.
This will be a bit of an “odds and sods” round up. First off, check out Natalya Gennadi and Catherine Carew’s latest offering on Natalya’s Youtube channel. The music is very good but the animated effects are amazing. Over at Against the Grain you can see Joel Ivany interviewing HE Adrienne Clarkson who is always interesting to talk to.
There are three new Youtube videos that aren’t performances but may be of interest. On the Confluence Concerts channel there’s the John Beckwith Songbook Lecture. I was expecting the usual sort of pre-show thing ahead of this weekend’s concert but it wasn’t that at all. What we get is Bradley Christensen explaining his doctoral thesis research on developing an interpretive and pedagogical guide to Beckwith’s songs. One might expect this to be rather dry and in a way it is but dry like a certain kind of British (or I guess Kiwi) humour. It’s a sort of “Note the sheep do not so much fly as plummet” performance. No sheep though. One would have thought a Kiwi could have fixed that. I shouldn’t joke really. It’s a perfectly serious and valuable project but the deadpan delivery is curiously compelling.
Apparently there is still such a thing as radio…
This Saturday the new recording of Rocking Horse Winner will be broadcast on Ben Heppner’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera following the live broadcast from the Met. That’s on CBC of course.
And on December 29th Margaret Atwood will be talking about AtG’s Messiah/Complex when she guest hosts BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme. Unfortunately, as I understand it, that show runs from 0600-0900 GMT so it’s strictly for the nocturnal types in Canada.
Against the Grain’s Messiah/Complex is a rewarding, actually quite fascinating, piece of work. It’s condensed to around 80 minutes but most of the well known numbers feature in some form. Each takes the form of a filmed vignette filmed somewhere in Canada. Some locations are urban, some are very much not; from David Pecaut Square to the high Arctic. Twelve soloists and a number of different choirs are used. Some pieces are sung in the original English but five other languages are also used. The non-English pieces are not translations in fact they subvert Charles Jennens’ theology in some really interesting ways. The TSO (or at least a bit of it) conducted by Johannes Debus provides the accompaniment. The performances are good, the filming is excellent and the technical quality is first rate. You can watch it for yourself at this link.
My sense of time, or rather lack of one, has made these “upcoming” posts a bit irregular. So anyway these are things I haven’t mentioned so far.
- Tonight at 7pm on Youtube, Confluence Concerts present the Hutcheons with a talk on Creativity and Aging based on their book Four Last Songs. I’ve read the book and had (used to have) some of the best conversations with Doctors Linda and Michael so this should be good. Musical excerpts from Messiaen and Leonard Cohen will be performed by Larry Beckwith, Robert Kortgaard and Patricia O’Callaghan. Free.
- Wednesday at 8pm on Youtube it’s Tapestry with SOS – Sketch Opera Singers episode 1. Singing peas on a dinner plate. The inner thoughts of evil babies. An attention-starved man who bursts into dramatic song whenever he steps into a light. Check out the teaser that’s already up on Youtube. Also free.
- Saturday at 7pm is Opera Atelier’s Something Rich and Strange which is a baroque pasticcio. It’s streamed via the Koerner Hall streaming site and tickets are $25. Check out OA’s website for details.
- December 13th at 8pm is Against the Grain’s multicultural Messiah/Complex. Free but registration required.
- December 17th at 8pm is Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah.. This is the latest iteration of what has become an annual event but reenvisaged for the web. I was on a Zoom call last Monday with the director and music director. Sounds like it should be good. Also free but registration required.
The usual suspects (check earlier posts for recommendations) are still also mostly producing new content.
A quick reminder that tonight, tomorrow and Saturday see new streams from AtG (A Little Too Cozy prequel), The GGS Fall Opera (Seven Deadly Sins and Lucrezia) and Confluence (Purcell). There’s also new content on the appropriate Youtube channels from Domoney Artists and Alex Hajek.
Things I’ve seen recently or plan to see include:
- Two more spooky shorts from Tapestry Opera and Red Truck productions. If you had any lingering doubts about Keith Klassen’s sanity these should take care of them! That said, the technical quality of these is amazing. (Tapestry Youtube channel).
- A COVID flavoured Halloween special from Opera Revue. (Opera Revue’s Youtube channel)
- A recording and video presentation by the Kingston Symphony of Dean Burry’s Nijmegen Bridge 1944. It’s a homage to the Canadians who died liberating the Netherlands and it’s well worth hearing. There are also more Harmon in Space episodes. (Kingston Symphony Youtube channel)
So what am I still watching on-line?
- Opera Revue; they are still producing interesting concerts more or less weekly
- Against the Grain; ditto plus interviews
- Opera Vision; useful source of full length opera videos in less boring productions than the Met
What new discoveries have I made? Continue reading