Singulières

Singulières, written by Maxime Beauregard-Martin, is a French language (more or less) coproduction of Le collectif Nous sommes ici, le Théâtre Catapulte and La Bordée.  It'[s currently being presented jointly by Crow’s Theatre and Théâtre français de Toronto at the Streetcar Crowsnest.  It tells the stories of various Québecoises who are stlll single at a certain age.  Women who would once, especially in Quebec, have been referred to as “old maids”.

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Orphans for the Czar

How far will people go in the effort to survive?  How can they preserve some sense of self respect and dignity in that survival?  I think these are the questions underlying George F. Walker’s play Orphans for the Czar which had its world premier last night at Crow’s Theatre in a production directed by Tanja Jacobs.

01_CROWSOrphansfortheCzar-Shayla Brown & Paolo Santalucia_photoDahliaKatz

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April shows

orevueHere’s what’s coming up that I know about in April with some adds for the end of March.

    • 26th March 5pm – 7pm.  Opera Revue at Castro’s PWYC.  Expect a completely Weill performance.
    • 27th March 2.30pm.  Voicebox are doing Timothy Sullivan’s Florence: The Lady with the Lamp in concert at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.  Lauren Pearl sings the title role.

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Gloria

Brandon Jacobs-Jenkjins’ play Gloria, directed by André Sills is currently playing at Crow’s Theatre.  It’s a hard play to describe as spoilers must be avoided and it works at many different levels.  The initial setting is the offices of a New York “culture” magazine where we meet various members of the highly dysfunctional workforce.  A shocking event happens and the rest of the play explores how various parts of the media industries relate to such events in the internet age along with issues related to who really “owns” an experience and in what sense does that “ownership” validate or privilege their version of events versus any other.  One of the ideas here is that the “product” has become in every way secondary.  The magazine is little more than a prop for blog posts.  Book publishing is largely geared around selling the movie or TV rights.  Movie and TV production is largely about providing a package for prefabricated celebrities to feature in.  The irony of a print and internet reviewer writing about all this is not lost on me!

athena kaitlin trinh and Nabil Traboulsi in GLORIA_photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

athena kaitlin trinh and Nabil Traboulsi

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Leaping (or not) ahead to March

gloriaThere’s not exactly a flood of events in my calendar for march yet but there are a few.  Running March 1st to 20th at Crow’s Theatre is Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ satirical play Gloria about a Manhattan magazine staff seeking fame and glory as the internet turns the industry upside down.  It’s not an opera but it’s directed by the very talented André Sills which is reason enough for me.

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Best of 2021

1.boulotte sm2021 was another year of parts.  Pretty much no live indoor performances before September then a few chances to get to the theatre and now, well who knows?  So what stood out for me in 2021?  Here’s a round up by category.

Live Shows

Not much of course but there were some good shows, though opera didn’t really figure.  The Home Project from Native Earth and Soulpepper was a thought provoking look at the the idea of “home”.  MixTape at Crow’s Theatre explored the variegated nature of relationships through the medium of the once ubiquitous mix tape.  And on a more conventional note there was a rearranged at short notice recital at Koerner hall that showcased the extremely talented Davóne Tines. Continue reading

October upcoming

Still not a whole lot going on and much of what is, is at short notice so it misses posts like this.  But, here’s what’s in my diary for October so far.

  • September 30th to October 17th.  Mistatim; a streamed version of the Rsd Sky/TSO collaboration for young people presented by Crow’s Theatre.  Streaming codes are $20 from the Crow’s box office.
  • October 14th 8pm.  Soundstreams presents RBC Bridges Showcase; six short choral works by young composers.  It’s on-line and free and available for a month.  Register here.
  • October 15th, 7.30pm.  The annual IRCPA Encounter concert with ten young singers and Rachel Andrist at the piano.  It’s being broadcast from Zoomer Hall, presumably w/o a live audience.  It’s free at Classical 96.3 FM, and at http://classicalfm.ca.
  •  October 24th at 3pm.  The Dover Quartet at Koerner Hall in a programme that includes Barber’s Dover Beach.  There are in-person tickets and live stream codes available.  The pricing structure is complex so check out rcmusic.ca for details.
  • October 29th (subscriber/donors) and 30th (plebs) at 7.30pm.  The COC is streaming Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi from the Four Seasons Centre.  The stream will be “on-demand” for at least a month and is free.

That’s it I’m afraid.

Musik für das Ende

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Claude Vivier’s Musik für das Ende had to wait until 35 years after the composer’s death for its first fully staged performance.  That happened last night at Crow’s Theatre under the auspices of Soundstreams.  It forms the main and concluding part of a really interesting show  directed by Chris Abraham.

The first part of the program is a monologue, Il faisait nuit, of Vivier returning to his Paris apartment and describing his life and his final composition.  Written by Zack Russell and brilliantly played by Alex Ivanovici it’s a French/English piece based on extensive discussions with people who knew Vivier and is said to capture his verbal and physical mannerisms with uncanny accuracy.  It also introduces us to key design elements of the evening.  We, the audience, are lining the walls of a “black box”.  The set is created by lighting effects and there is an electronic sound track.  It’s a very immersive experience. Continue reading

Century Song

Century Song is a 50 minute show combining music, movement and video projections as it takes us on an aesthetic journey through the last hundred years.  At the heart of the show is soprano Neema Bickersteth who does the singing and dancing.  The singing consists of vocalises by Rachmaninoff, Messiaen, Cage, Aperghis and finally, a piece composed for the show by Reza Jacobs.  The songs are accompanied Gregory Oh on piano and Ben Grossman on percussion and computer.  The musical interludes are structured improvisations originally devised by Reza Jacobs, Gregory Oh and Debashis Sinha.  The dance elements are choreographed by Kate Alton and use a very wide kinetic vocabulary.  Bickersteth’s constantly changing costumes further illustrate the time travel element of the narrative.

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A few additions

centurysongThere are a few things I didn’t mention in my back half of April post.  Century Song opened a couple of nights ago at Crow’s Theatre.  It’s a live performance hybrid, inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, Soprano Neema Bickersteth melds classical song (music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Oliver Messiaen, John Cage, Georges Aperghis and Reza Jacobs) and movement to inhabit a century of women whose identities are contained within a single performer.  Details here.

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