October 11th to November 6th at Crow’s Theatre it’s Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. “During the chaos of the 2003 American occupation of Iraq the lives of two American marines intersect with an Iraqi gardener as they search through the rubble of war for friendship, redemption, and a toilet seat made of gold.”
October 26th at 8pm at Koerner Hall Philippe Jaroussky is appearing with Ensemble Artaserse. It’s a rare chance to hear somewhat controversial countertemor Jaroussky sing with orchestra in an ideal venue. The concert includes works by a range of baroque composers. Some of the material is relatively familiar; “Cara sposa” from Rinaldo for example, but much is by less well known composers such as Hasse and Ferrandini. Artaserse Ensemble is a leading period instrument band that, besides Jaroussky, has appeared with such singers as Cecilia Bartoli and Andreas Scholl.
October 27th – 30th at Alliance Française it’s Tapestry’s Tapestry Briefs: Les Shorts qui chantent. This will showcase scenes created at the very first bi-lingual LibLab. Direction is by Tim Albery.
October 26th to November 12th at Hart House Theatre, Howland Company and Hart House Theatre have a modern adaptation by Paolo Santalucia of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
November 3rd at 5.30pm it’s Centre Stage at the Four Season’s Centre, live for the first time in a while. It’s the usual format; cocktails and snacks, a competition for aspiring voices and, for the well heeled, an on-stage dinner.
If you are buying tickets look out for deals. There’s a fair bit of discounting going on. Some shows have clearly sold very well but others not so much. The post pandemic bounce back looks a bit anaemic right now.
In another nod to normality the COC’s free concert series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre kicked off with the traditional concert with the members of the Ensemble Studio. It was reasonably well attended, which is good news. But unlike previous years one didn’t need to be there an hour early to get a seat. Which is not so good news. I’m really curious to see when and if we start to get back to pre-plague audiences.
For me in previous years, this concert has been about taking stock; an opportunity to reflect on which members of the ES have progressed and how. Yesterday was much harder as I’ve seen little of any of them (live at least) for two and a half years. Some things though stood out. Midori Marsh, who kicked off the show with “Caro nome” has matured quite a lot. She’s always had a terrific voice but here she showed as a much more polished and poised performer. Alex Hetherington is also something of a known quality with her excellent 2021 Norcop Prize recital one of the better streamed events of the pandemic. She gets bonus points for singing “Lord, to Thee Each Night” from Handel’s Theodora. It’s a highly charged and technically awkward piece that demonstrated her technique and artistic sensibility nicely. Continue reading →
From September 11th to 25th Crow’s Theatre has a show; The Shape of Home: Songs in Search of Al Purdy. This is a sort of staged song cycle exploring the words and ideas of “Canada’s unofficial poet laureate”.
Watching The Queen in Me at the Canadian Opera Company Theatre last night I thought to myself that this was probably the first time I’d heard Teiya Kasahara singing classic opera arias with an orchestra. Given how many times I’ve seen Teiya on stage that seemed really weird. And that, I suppose, is one major aspect of what this show is all about; how casting is so rigidly stereotyped that it demands that people become something other than themselves to get cast. A tall, muscular, tattooed Queen of the Night isn’t that much of a stretch but a tall, muscular tattooed Cio Cio San or Mimi is a bridge too far.
So no big launch event to herald the COC’s 2022/23 season announcement, just an email. I’m not surprised because if the season had been announced in front of a large crowd at the Four Seasons Centre there would probably have been a riot. There are six productions on the main stage and each gets only seven or eight performances for a total of 45 which is the lowest since the house opened. Five of them are revivals and there’s no Parsifal. I begin to think that I have more chance of finding the Holy Grail than ever seeing Parsifal in Toronto.
There’s a fair number of shows appearing at fairly short notice as people scramble to adapt to relaxing regulations so this post will contain events for April not previously noted plus a look forward to May.
April 26th at 7.30 pm Likht Ensemble have a free Holocaust Remembrance Day concert at Mazzoleni Hall.
April 28th at 8pm at St. Andrews on King St. Soundstreams are reprising the Vivier Lovesongs concert that was done as a stream last fall.
April 29th at 7.30pm at 918 Bathurst The Happenstancers have a concert featuring music by Julia Wolfe, Nahre Sol, Kaija Saariaho, Gyorgy Kurtag, Oliver Knussen, and WA Mozart.
Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle is a twisted little opera with wonderful music. Atom Egoyan’s film Felicia’s Journey is equally twisted and also derived at root from the Bluebeard material. So it makes sense to mash them up and that, essentially, is what Egoyan has done in the latest on-line presentation from the COC.