7th annual Krehm memorial concert

It’s seven years since Elizabeth Krehm died and last night we heard the seventh memorial concert organised by her sister Rachel at Christ Church Deer Park.  As ever I was amazed and delighted at the resources the extended Krehm family can draw on.  The Canzona Chamber Players Orchestra is essentially a scratch operation but in the hands of conductor Evan Mitchell it’s always a pleasure to listen to.

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Eight singers drinking

michaelEight drinkers singing.  Or vice versa.  I forget.  Anyway, last night’s extravaganza from Tongue in Cheek Productions and Opera5 at Gallery 345 was a blast.  The schtick was that eight people got to choose a cocktail and a related song set while the audience could purchase their choice(s) of the said beverages.  There was a lot of clowning around and some very good singing all backed up by a very serious looking Trevor Chartrand at the piano. Continue reading

Into the second half of of November

Here’s what’s coming up…

On the 14th at 1.30pm in Walter Hall Jane Archibald and Liz Upchurch are giving a recital under the auspices of the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto (so this isn’t a free concert).  The 15th sees the opening of a run of a “play with music” from Theatre Gargantua called The Wager which will run at Theatre Passe Muraille from the 14th (preview) to the 30th.  It promises to be a “bold and irreverent investigation into the strange things that people believe”.  It’s written by Michael Spence and directed by Jacquie PA Thomas and the cast includes Teiya Kasahara.

The Wager

The cast of The Wager. Photo:Michael Cooper

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Songbook IX

Jacquenline-Woodley-600x218The ninth edition of Tapestry’s celebration of their back catalogue happened last night in the Ernest Balmer Studio.  This year’s mentors are Jacqueline Woodley and Andrea Grant.  The emerging artists are Elisabeth Boudreault, Lindsay Connolly, Brianna DeSantis, Ryan Downey, Gabrielle French, Rebecca Gray, Lauren Halász, Rachel Krehm, Brittany Rae, Anne-Marie Ramos and Jennifer Routier with pianists Qiao Yi Miao Mu and Ryoko Hou.

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Open Chambers

Staging art song and chamber works happens in Toronto but not a lot.  Over the last few years I’ve seen interesting shows from Against the Grain, Collectif and UoT Opera among others.  As it’s something I tend to enjoy I was pleased to catch the opening performance of Opera 5’s Hindemith and Shostakovich program; itself the first in a proposed series called Open Chambers.

Open Chambers #15

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6th annual Krehm memorial concert

ekThe 6th in the annual series of fundraisers for St. Mike’s ICU in memory of Elizabeth Krehm took place at Christ Church, Deer Park last night.  Once again Evan Mitchell had assembled a fine orchestra of volunteers and Elizabeth’s sister, Rachel, sang.  The orchestra book ended the program with the overture from Hänsel und Gretel and Brahm’s 4th Symphony; the latter a very red blooded account indeed with the brass and woodwinds getting a workout.  The main interest though was the premier of Come Closer: Songs on Texts by Elizabeth Krehm.  The texts are drawn from selections of Elizabeth’s writing, from Grade 2 to near the end of her short life, selected by Rachel.  The music is by Ryan Trew.  They are really quite evocative texts, showing a surprising emotional depth.  The settings are apt; steering a middle ground between artsy and schmaltzy, and Rachel sang with real feeling.  It was a loving and lovely act of remembrance.

And so, into November

ThomasOliemans28-e1534886868523-1024x489Here are a few interesting events happening in the first half of November.  There are competitions.  There are also concerts…

Thursday 8th at 1.30pm in Walter Hall the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto are presenting baritone Thomas Oliemans, and pianist Malcolm Martineau in a programme consisting of Brahms’s Die schöne Magelone and Schumann’s Liederkreis, op. 39.  Tickets etc here.  There’s also a pre concert talk at 12.15pm when Jane Cooper will talk about Bertha Crawford. Continue reading

Christmas improv

Wednesday evening saw the last Whose Opera is it Anyway? of the year in the new digs at Bad Dog Comedy Club.  Last month’s line up of singers; Rachel Krehm, Michael York, Gillian Grossman and Amanda Kogan, were joined by Adanya Dunn and an elf.  Natasha Fransblow was at the keyboard again.  Greg Finney; the thinking man’s Don Cherry, MC’d.  The format was as ever; a line up of improv games with audience input.  Highlights included the Three Minute Messiah, Adanya giving her mum a dildo and the deep, dark depths of Keith Lam’s Instagram account.  And beer.  And Greg’s suit.

The news is that LooseTEA now has a regular slot for WOIIA.  In the new year you will be able to catch them at Bad Dog on the third Sunday of the month at 9.30pm.  It’s a better venue than the old place and it’s a fun way to spend an hour and a half or so.

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Whose Opera is it Anyway? November edition

Last night’s Whose Opera is it Anyway? from LooseTEA Theatre featured Alana Viau MCing, Natasha Fransblow on keyboards, Rachel Krehm, Michael York, Gillian Grossman and Amanda Kogan improvving and a thirteen year old kid called Alex (or possibly Alice) stealing the show.  The format was the usual.  Games where the audience supplies some key element e.g. a place – a launderette and designated cast members turn it into a sketch.  Best of the night I think was the “breakfast food” sketch with Michael and Amanda which went from a surprisingly filthy “left over pizza” to “left over pizza backwards” to “left over pizza in the Dark Ages”, mostly in Pig Latin.  There was also a very creepy “execution” sketch where Rachel gleefully cut body parts off a recumbent Michael.  Do not upset this chick!

There was lots more and of course it’s very silly.  That’s the point!  But it’s good fun and worth a look.  The next edition is at Bad Dog Theatre at 8pm on December 20th.

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Fifth annual Krehm memorial concert

Last night was the fifth concert in memory of Rachel Krehm’s sister Elizabeth.  This year it was held in the rather cavernous and imposing Christ Church Deer Park, an Anglican church at Yonge and St. Clair.  The concert opened with an elegiac piece for strings written by Jean Coulthard for the coronation of Elizabeth II.  Then Rachel gave us a beautiful and moving account of Mahler’s Rückert Lieder.  Um Mitternacht(*) is a particular favourite of mine and seemed especially fitting here.  It was the full orchestral setting with Evan Mitchell conducting his extraordinary orchestra.  They were back after the break for a thoroughly compelling account of Tchaikovsky’s great sixth symphony Pathétique.  What’s remarkable is that this isn’t an orchestra that has a permanent basis.  It’s a group of musicians who come together for these concerts and make great music on modest rehearsal time.  It’s especially impressive that these things always seem to happen in huge churches with churchy acoustics rather than a concert hall and they still sound terrific.  As in previous years, this was a fund raiser for the ICU at St. Mike’s and once again it looked like mission accomplished as there was a very decent audience in the church.

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