There’s 20cm of snow on the ground and more forecast. The groundhog consensus is a long winter. So, here are a few upcoming concerts and other events that may help get you through the rest of the winter.
On February 17th mezzo Janina Baechle, violist Keith Hamm and pianist Rachel Andrist are performing works by Mahler, Brahms and Leoffler in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at noon. Also in the RBA at noon on the 19th there is the annual concert featuring artists from the Ensemble Studio and Montreal’s YAP the Atelier lyrique. And on the 24th, but at 5.30pm Barbara Hannigan and others are presenting works by Chausson and Schoenberg. All these concerts are free.
Christine Goerke made her stage debut as Brünnhilde last night in Atom Egoyan’s production of Die Walküre at the COC. She didn’t disappoint. It’s a big voice with ringing high notes that ping over the orchestra. No scooping on the high notes either. She’s probably the next great Brünnhilde and that’s probably what last night will best be remembered for. With all the Elektras in her calendar it may also be a a case of “catch it while you can”. The rest of the singing was pretty distinguished too. Johan Reuter was a firm toned, perfectly solid Wotan. Heidi Melton, from beginning to end, was a wonderful Sieglinde to listen to; accurate, sweet of tone (for a dramatic soprano) and almost matching Goerke for power. Clifton Forbis, the Siegmund, still has genuine Helden high notes and was pleasant to listen to. One might have wished for a slightly more ardent approach to the Winterstürme scene but it was more than decent. Dimitry Ivaschshenko was a genuine solid bass Hunding who sounded just right and acted more, and better, than most. Janina Baechle made the most of her cameo as Fricka. The octet of junior Valkyries, made up of mostly younger singers, injected some youthful vigour into the whole enterprise to good effect. Johannes Debus in the pit impressed as a Wagnerian once more with a tightly structured and, at appropriate points, opulent reading of the score. The COC orchestra, always admirable, as so often last night pulled out their best for Johannes. So, admirable music making.
Martin Kušej’s 2010 production of Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Bayerisches Staatsoper is exactly the sort of production traditionalists fume about over their port and cigars. It’s loosely based on the Fritzl and Kampusch imprisonment/child abuse cases. The Water Goblin, aided by his wife, Ježibaba, have their children; Rusalka and her sisters, imprisoned in a wet cellar under their house. The Water Gnome is clearly indulging in sexual abuse of the girls to the total indifference of his wife. Rusalka dreams of a life among humans and of love. She begs her mother to make her human/set her free. This happens and Rusalka, mute and tottering on red heels, is free to pursue her romance with the prince. Is this literal or all in Rusalka’s imagination? Does it matter? Continue reading →