Actéon et Pygmalion

Opera Atelier’s french double header opened last night at the Elgin Theatre.  It was, bar the occasional twist, classic Opera Atelier.  They presented two French baroque operas in their distinctive style with a little humour and none of the excesses that have sometimes crept in.

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Ending with a beginning

David Fallis2

David Fallis

David Fallis’ last show after 28 years as Artistic Director of the Toronto Consort is, perhaps appropriately, the earliest opera in the repertoire; Monteverdi’s Orfeo.  The first performance of three was last night at Trinity St. Paul’s.  It’s a concert performance with surtitles and some interesting orchestration.  The expected strings and woodwinds are supplemented here by the sackbuts and cornettos of Montreal based La Rose des Vents as well as triple harp and an assortment of keyboards including, I think, two different organs. Continue reading

Looking ahead to June

Orfeo-Website-ImageJune is kind of quiet but first there’s yet another show to mention for the busy last weekend of May.  David Fallis is conducting his last performances as Music Director of the Toronto Consort.  It’s Monteverdi’s Orfeo and it’s at Trinity St. Pauls at 8pm on the 25th and 26th and 3.30pm on the 27th.  Besides David it features Charles Daniels in the title role, Kevin Skelton as Apollo, Laura Pudwell as Messagiera with Jeanne Lamon on first violin plus Montreal’s premier cornetto and sackbut ensemble La Rose des Vents.

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Assorted news and signal boosts

genderneutralHere’s the news that’s arrived in my inbox this week.

Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts announced that from 2019 the DORA awards will be gender neutral.  In categories where there has traditionally been “Best Performance by a Male” and “Best Performance by a Female” there will now be a single “Best Performance” award.

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Water Passion

WaterPassion-v3Tan Dun’s Water Passion After St. Matthew, given last night by Soundstreams at Trinity St. Paul’s is very Tan Dun.  The work is in nine movements and scored for chorus, soprano and bass-baritone soloists, violin, cello, electronics and lots of percussion.  And bowls of water and rocks.  The texts broadly follow the Passion story finishing with a final Resurrection movement in which water is the symbol of rebirth, recycling and spiritual completeness.  There are also ritual elements.  Bowls of water laid out in a cruciform pattern are lit from beneath.  The musicians change position and the players, especially the percussionists, perform hieratic gestures with the water bowls and their contents.  It also involves a complex and dramatic lighting plot.

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Renaissance Splendours

I think I may have been missing out a bit with the Toronto Consort.  I’ve been to the odd show that’s been identifiable as music theatre such as their excellent Play of Daniel but until I sat down with David Fallis and Laura Pudwell a few weeks ago I didn’t really have a clear sense of what they are about.  Last night’s concert, Renaissance Splendours, at Trinity St. Paul’s, gave me a pretty good idea of what I’ve been missing and how it fits into my musical universe.

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Four marriages and a Figaro

Opera Atelier’s remount of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro opened last night at the Elgin.  It’s a curious production made up of parts that don’t really fit together, hence the review title.  At the core is a rather elegant traditional production.  It’s wigs and crinolines and might have been seen almost anywhere almost any time in the last fifty years or so.  Most of the excessive baroque gesturing is gone and the acting is stagey but no more so than in many opera productions.

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