And so to March

OperaSpring365pxHere’s what’s coming up in the first part of March.  Thursday 1st is Opera Pub Night at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club at 9pm.  On Friday March 9th Soundstreams are presenting Tan Dun’s Water Passion at Trinity St. Paul’s at 8pm.  On Wednesday 14th and Friday 16th the Glenn Gould School is presenting Die Fledermaus in a production by Joel Ivany.  That’s at 7.30pm in Koerner Hall.  It’s a good looking cast and recommended.  Thursday 15th through Sunday 18th the UoT Opera is presenting Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing in the MacMillan Theatre.  The production is by Michael Patrick Albano and start times are 7.30pm except for Sunday at 2.30pm.

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Looking ahead to February

groundhog-day-usaFebruary is going to be really busy so I think I’ll take the previews in chunks.  First up though one event in January I haven’t yet had opportunity to mention.  This coming Sunday 21st Fawn Chamber Creative have a PWYC fundraiser for their in process  opera-ballet project.  It’s from 2-6pm at The Smiling Buddha.  It will be party, silent auction and some performance.  Previous ones have been fun but I’m booked Sunday.  Details at: http://www.fawnchambercreative.com/events/upcoming/. Also in January and missed off the radar, on the 28th at 3pm at Mazzoleni Hall,the Amici Ensemble have a Strauss inspired concert featuring the lovely but tiny Sasha Djihanian who is current holder of the loudness to weight record for a soprano.

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Hnsl nd Gtl

The Glenn Gould School’s fall opera production this year is Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel given in Brent Krysa’s English language, highly condensed version, originally created for the COC Ensemble Studio School Tour.  It really is condensed.  There’s no chorus and it comes in at just over the hour mark.  The main plot elements are retained but I think quite a bit of the darkness, and most of the religiosity, are gone, though the latter isn’t eliminated entirely.  After all, the Evening Prayer and the final chorus are musical highlights and pretty much have to be there.  It doesn’t leave any room for the director to explore ideas like child abuse or addiction and pretty much forces, for better or worse, a straightforward emphasis on the basic story.

Kendra Dyck (Gretel) & Rachel Miller (Hansel); GGS opera; Lisa Sakulensky Photography;1357sm

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Winter draws on

Moving into winter what does the Toronto opera/concert calendar have to offer?  This coming week there’s an interesting looking concert in the RBA at noon on Tuesday.  The Haven Trio (soprano Lindsay Kesselman, clarinetist Kimberly Cole Luevano, and pianist Midori Koga) will perform the world premiere of Toronto-based composer Kieren MacMillan’s Three Portraits, a dramatic setting of poems by Dana Gioia, the current Poet Laureate of California.

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Coming up

Here’s a round up of upcoming performances of interest over the next week or so.  Sunday at 3.15pm TIFF are showing Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s films Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s “Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene” and Moses and Aaron.  The films will be preceded by a live performance of a Schoenberg piece by Adanya Dunn and Topher Mokrzewski.  More details here.

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Apparitions

JTwGGSNMEConductor Brian Current and the Glenn Gould School New Music Ensemble presented three pieces, one of them a world premiere, today in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  The performances were prefaced by a really rather informative and informal chat by Brian on “how to listen to contemporary music”.  It was engaging and totally non-patronising.

And so to the music.  The first piece was Marco Stroppo’s 1989 piece élet… fogytigian, dialogo immaginario fra un poeta e un filosofo; a piece evoking an imaginary dialogue between a Hungarian poet and an Italian philosopher who never actually met, or so the composer told us.  The first movement was bright and aggressive, very much in the European manner of the 70s and 80s with the second even more explosive before, in the third movement, settling into an exploration of string colour.  The composer explained this as being like three walls of a house, painted different colours, slowly rotating.  It’s the kind of piece one needs to hear more than once.

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