The Perfect American

The Perfect American is the ironic title of Philip Glass’ latest opera which premiered in Madrid last year.  It’s about Walt Disney and set at the end of his life looking back at his life and forward to his death.  It’s a not very flattering portrait.  It depicts Disney as blinkered, racist, virulently anti-Communist and, in fact, only comfortable with a sort of Leave it to Beaver America; though passionate about that.

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Toronto Operetta Theatre and Toronto Masque Theatre 14/15

handbagToronto Operetta Theatre and Toronto Masque Theatre have announced their respective 2014/15 season line ups.  TOT will present three shows.  The first is a zarzuela; Federico Chueca’s La gran via.  Jose Hernandez conducts and the cast includes Margie Bernal, Fabian Arciniegas, Pablo Benitez and Diego Catala. There’s one performance on November 2nd.  The Christmas show will be Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado.  Singers include Lucia Cesaroni, Mia Lennox, David Ludwig and Giles Tomkins with Derek Bate conducting.  There are six performances scheduled between December 27th and January 4th.  Finally, and perhaps most exciting, is a revival of Victor Davies’ 2008 piece Ernest, the Importance of Being.  It’s based on the Wilde play and will star Jean Stilwell as Lady Bracknell.  Larry Beckwith conducts.  There will be four performances on April 29th and May 1st to 3rd.  All three shows will be directed by Guillermo Silva-Marin and will be staged at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. (www.stlc.com)

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But in me life has halted

It’s perhaps odd that somebody like me, who got into Janáček’s music as a teenager, should have taken so long to discover his operas but I’m so glad I did.  The latest discovery is Věk Makropulos in a 2011 recording from the Groβes Festspielhaus in Salzburg with Angela Denoke as the 337 year old diva Emilia Marty.  It’s a strange work dramatically; a sort of fantastic detective story.  Apparently it’s based on a comedy (by Karel Čapek, the guy who coined the modern meaning of “robot”) though how it got from a comedy to the opera is a bit of a mystery.  It’s weird, compelling and creepy but not at all funny.  It also has a terrific score. Continue reading