Where there’s a Will

So the Toronto Summer Music Festival continued last night with a Shakespeare themed show called A Shakespeare Serenade.  Curated and directed by Patrick Hansen of McGill it fell into two parts.  Before the interval we got Shakespeare scenes acted out and then the equivalent scene from an operatic adaptation of the play.  After the interval it was a mix of Sonnets and song settings in an overall staging that was perhaps riffing off The Decameron.  Patrick Hansen and Michael Shannon alternated at the piano.

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A partridge without orange

It’s that time of year which marks the passing of the baton at the COC Ensemble Studio which is traditionally marked by a lunchtime farewell concert by some of the graduates.  Today’s Les Adieux featured soprano Sasha Djihanian, baritone Cameron McPhail and pianist Michael Shannon.

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How sweet to be a sloth

norine burgessYesterday’s Talisker Players concert Creature to Creature was a well balanced selection of music and readings inspired by the idea of a bestiary.

First up was a set of Poulenc settings of Apollinaire texts. These songs, for mezzo, string quartet, flute, clarinet and bassoon, are very short and deceptively simple being both textually and musically many layered. They were very beautifully sung by Norine Burgess. Her fairly bright mezzo seemed well suited and there was sensitive accompaniment from the band among whom clarinetist Peter Stoll was particularly impressive. Continue reading

Another intriguing program from the Talisker Players

BeastiaryThe Talisker Players are presenting a show called present Creature to Creature on March 16 and 18 at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre. It’s inspired by mediaeval bestiaries and takes on human foibles through the lens of animal behaviour.  It had better be good because I can scratch quite nastily. The Taliskers will be joined by mezzo soprano Norine Burgess, baritone Geoffrey Sirett (more impressive every time I see him), and theatre artist Ross Manson.

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Lunchtime with Tracy Dahl

Dahl, Tracy (c)Kevin ClarkI’ve attended many very good concerts in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre but I’m not sure I’ve ever attended one as intense as Tracy Dahl and Liz Upchurch’s Songs from the Heart recital today.  Tracy really is a rather extraordinary artist.  She is the antithesis of the lieder singer who stands demurely by the piano and Schuberts mellifluously.  She throws every fibre of her being into the performance.  It’s not campily histrionic but voice, facial expression and gesture are all used to the full whether she’s  hiccupping a drunken Harlequin or sibilantly suggesting a slithery singing snake.

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