Threepenny Submarine

Rachel Krehm and co’s latest project Threepenny Submarine is now live on the Opera 5 Youtube channel.  It’s a collaboration between Opera 5 and Gazelle Automations and features two (puppet) singers on a quest in a submarine.  It stars Caitlin Wood as a Rossini singing cockatiel with a tidiness fetish, which doesn’t seem terribly like Cait (at least the tidiness thing.  Of course she can sing Rossini), and Rachel Krehm as a messy Wagnerian vixen, which sounds about right.  It’s designed for kids but it’s quite funny and very cute and should work for kids of all ages.

threepennysubmarine

Also on the tubes, The Crossing have produced an animated watercolour video of one of the tracks from their recent recording of Gavin Bryars’ A Native Hill.

Telephone double bill

The third of Saturday night’s webstreams was Toronto City Opera’s double bill of Menotti’s The Telephone and Poulenc’s La voix humaine. The choice of rep makes sense in that it meant that very few people had to be assembled in the Ernest Balmer Studio where the recordings took place though it also looks a bit odd for a company that in normal times is about participation.

The Menotti is essentially a rather weak joke stretched out for half an hour. A man is trying to propose to a girl but every time he gets close to popping the question she either receives or makes a phone call. I thought it was a bit feeble the first time I saw it and it doesn’t wear well. It doesn’t help that it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to marry this utterly boring girl except, perhaps, her utterly banal suitor. I guess the basic problem is that anything trying to be “realistic” from the US in the 50s and 60s is almost bound to be dull as just about any interesting aspect of human life was off limits due to various kinds of censorship. Anyway, I think TCO got as much out of the piece as there is to be got. The contemporary updating had its witty moments and both Nicole Dubinsky and Johnathan Kirby; backed up by Ivan Jovanovic gave strong performances in the singing and acting departments.

Collage 1

Continue reading

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.

Resized_20171110_191125.jpeg

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

woiia-dec