Talking Kopernicus

I sat down yesterday with Danielle MacMillan who will sing Agni in Against the Grain’s upcoming production of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus.  Kopernikus is subtitled A Ritual Opera for the Dead and concerns the experience of transitioning from life to death as experienced by Agni.  I had many questions:

  • What was the music like?  After all Vivier is not your “typical” composer.
  • What’s the nature of the production?
  • What does it feel like to play a dead person?

And a few more things that bubbled up as we talked.  So here’s a summary.

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April shows

butterfly-square… plus a late March addition…

March 29th and 30th Tapestry are doing the Songbook thing again.  This is the show where an established singer; Jacqueline Woodley this time, works with emerging artists and a pianist (Andrea Grant) plus director Michael Mori to create a show based on Tapestry’s back catalogue.  There are three shows at the Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery; Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 4pm and again at 8pm.

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Looking forward to March

Commandatore imageUsually things slow down a bit at the end of February but not, it seems, this year.  First a notice for this month.  Sara Schabas and Daniel Norman present a recital of music by Bernstein, Mozart, Schubert, Alma & Gustav Mahler & more.  It’s at the Church of the Redeemer on Bloor at 7.30 pm on February 27th.  Tickets here.  The first weekend of the month is busy with a “semi-staged” Le comte Ory at Trinity St. Paul’s on Saturday March 2nd at 7.30pm.  The production is by François racine and the cast includes Asitha Tennekoon, Marjorie Maltais and Caitlin Wood.  On Sunday at 3pm Toronto Operetta Thaetre are presenting Ivor Novello’s Perchance to Dream.  That’s at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.  Also on Friday night and Sunday afternoon Opera York are doing Don Giovanni.  The Donnas are Natalya Gennadi and Beste Kalender. That’s at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts.

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February

nlightsHere are a few more February items of interest in addition to those mentioned here.  Tapestry’s new piece Hook Up opens on January 30th at Theatre Passe Muraille and runs for most of February.  Then on Sunday 3rd February at 2.30 pm VOICEBOX have a performance of Schubert’s rather rare opera Fierrebras.  Kevin Mallon conducts the Aradia Ensemble for this one.  Also there’s Opera Pub as usual on Thursday 7th February.

On February 16th at Gallery 345 at 8pm there will be an Against the Grain presentation of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine.  The “twist” here is that Elle becomes Lui and will be sung by tenor Jacques Arsenault.  Topher Mokrzewski at the piano.  Aria Umezawa directs the first in what is planned as a series of “twisted” concerts.

In free concert news there’s the Quilico Prize competition on February 11th at 5.30pm in the RBA.  Once again the members of theEnsemble Studio compete for cash.  At the nnon hour there’s Susan Bullock and Liz Upchurch on the 19th with a programme of Wagner, Strauss and Duparc and on the 20th there’s Samuel Chan and Stéphane Mayer with an all Schubert programme.  Then on the 21st there’s Lauren Eberwein and Rachel Kerr with a Messiaen and Ravel show.  Given that it’s the Jessye Norman Gala on the 20th as well I think I’ll just schlep my sleeping bag over to the Four Seasons Centre.

Also at the COC of course Elektra continues until February 22nd with Così fan tutte opening on February 5th and running until the 23rd.

Bound 2.0

The second of three projected iterations of Against the Grain Theatre’s Bound opened last night at The Great Hall.  Version one was staged but in piano score.  Last night’s version was sung off music stands but with a chamber ensemble and major changes to the music.  It’s going to be interesting to see how the production version, due this time next year shapes up.

bound1

Andrew Haji, Miriam Khalil, Topher Mokrzewski, Justin Welsh, David Trudgen

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Trending turkeywards

turkeySo one thing can be guaranteed in December; lots of Messiah.  This year I have four on the radar.  There’s the TSO of course.  This year Johannes Debus conducts with soloists Claire de Sévigné, Allyson McHardy, Andrew Haji and Tyler Duncan.  One might almost have expected the COC Chorus but actually it’s the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in the loft.  That one runs December 18th, 19th, 21st and 22nd at 8pm and the 23rd at 3pm.  Roy Thomson Hall of course.  Over at Tafelmusik, it’s Ivars Taurins with Sherezade Panthaki, Krisztina Szabó, Charles Daniels and Drew Santini plus, of course, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir.  That’s on December 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st at Koerner Hall at 7.30pm. The Sing-a-Long version is at Roy Thomson Hall at 2pm on the 22nd.  There’s also a workshop on the 8th at 2pm at Eglinton St. George’s United Church.

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