The Anchoress is a 2018 work for soprano and instrumental ensemble by David Ludwig setting texts by Katie Ford. There are eight “scenes” each exploring an aspect of life of the medieval anchoress; a woman who voluntarily secluded herself in a cell attached to a church. Such women were seen as almost saintly and thought to have great insight which was sought by all ranks of people. Issues explored in Ford’s poems include faith, alienation, gender and social power as seen through the anchoress’ eyes.
This concert was the culmination of several days of workshops involving Wallis Giunta, Jordan de Souza and eighteen emerging artists; both singers and pianists. It’s a comparatively unusual opportunity to focus on contemporary repertoire for a while and the results were fun. As usual with these multi-participant efforts I’m not going to attempt to be exhaustive but just concentrate on my personal highlights.
Yesterday afternoon I went to see the UoT Opera program’s show Brush Up Your Shakespeare. It was substantially the same as the program they gave six months ago in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre so I ‘m just going to comment on changes of one kind or another.
There were a few extra numbers. Danika Lorèn sang the Poison Aria from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. It’s an interesting voice. There’s lots of power but maybe isn’t quite fully under control yet. Still, easier to refine a powerful basic instrument than get anywhere with a small one. One to watch. William Ford sang Macduff’s O figli mie! from Verdi’s Macbeth. That’s a pretty bold call for a student and he wasn’t bad at all. This time we also got a sort of catalogue raisonnée of the program from director Michael Patrick Albano with contextual information on each number.
Last Days is a staging of songs and texts from and about WW1. It’s directed by Tim Albery with music direction by David Fallis and it’s performed by students from the University of Toronto Opera Program. Continue reading
Topher Mokrzewski does it again. This time it’s an operatic spoof on our appalling, indeed surreal, mayor. Aaron Dimoff sang the role of Rob Ford. Alex Beley and Tyler Fitzgerald are the Ford Nation Chorus. All the singers are part of Calgary Opera Emerging Artist Development program.
Hat tip too to Brent Bambury and the CBC.