There was never a chance that Emily D’Angelo’s solo recital at Koerner Hall was going to be a steady procession of German lieder and French chansons with the odd Broadway number thrown in and it wasn’t. It was what D’Angelo fans would expect and (some of us at least) crave; lots of women composers and lots of contemporary music. There were five sets.
The first linked Hildegard von Bingen, Arnold Schoenberg and Missy Mazzoli. I’m going to focus on the Mazzoli. There was “Hello Lord” from Vespers for a New Dark Age and “You Are the Dust” from Songs from the Uproar. Both of these are stage works scored for chamber ensemble and electronics so they sound very different in piano score. Emily sang the with great purity and clarity and Sophia accompanied beautifully though there’s just no way one can capture the synth pop inflections of Mazzoli on piano. That said, it was a great advert for two works a I really admire. Continue reading →
Toronto Summer Music opened on Thursday night at Koerner Hall with a concert called Inspirations featuring chamber and vocal music drawn from folk influences.It began with Schumann’s Five Pieces in Folk Style Op. 102 for piano and cello played by Rachael Kerr and Matthew Zalkind.The folk roots are pretty clear here and since the pieces were written with amateur performance in mind those roots aren’t over elaborated and the result is satisfying.Not that they got an amateurish performance.Quite the opposite.
Last night was the last performance at Heliconian Hall of Loose Tea Music Theatre’s double bill of Anne Frank operas. The first half of the show centred on Grigori Frid’s monodrama for soprano and chamber ensemble (given here in piano score) The Diary of Anne Frank. It’s a work in 21 scenes of which 15 were performed last night. For a Soviet work of the 1970s it’s surprisingly modern in style with some interesting music for the piano. The vocal part though is pretty unsympathetic and although Gillian Grossman managed it pretty well a lot of it lies too high for comfort or even comprehension.
Last night, at the Ernest Balmer Studio, we got to see somewhat more developed versions of the works presented earlier in the week in the RBA but this time in staged format. I’m not sure my opinions changed much as a result though I think I’m even more convinced that here we have five pieces of substance that deserve to be seen in fully realised form. So, some brief thoughts on each. Note that, except for Book of Faces we only saw extracts from pieces that are still WIP. Continue reading →
Last night’s late, late concert at the Conservatory was basically a preview of Bicycle Opera Project’s 2015 season. It’s a bit hard to say what the final show will be like as we got mainly excerpts last night and it just feels really different to be in a formal concert hall compared with the usual venues for BOP.
Last night I was at the Arts and letters Club for the opening night of Opera 5’s Edgar Allan Poe themed show In Pace Requiescat. I had hoped that I had kicked the thing that has been afflicting me since Wednesday but I was over optimistic. I spent the first half of the show either in a coughing fit or trying desperately to avoid one and then had to leave at the interval thus missing Cecilia Livingston’s new piece The Masque of the Red Death.
What I did see; Daniel Pinkham’s The Cask of Amontillado and Debussy’s La Chute de la Maison Usher, was, as best I recall, pretty good. Staging and costumes are appropriately creepy and there was some very good singing from Adrian Kramer and a brief appearance from Lucia Cesaroni that made me want to see more. If I can shake this thing before the end of the run I’ll go back and do a proper review. There are further performances on Wednesday and Thursday.
Casting details for Opera 5’s Halloween themed show, Requiescat in Pace, have been announced. The singing line up is soprano Lucia Cesaroni, American baritone and recent Tanglewood fellow David Tinervia and, making a welcome return to Toronto, baritone Adrian Kramer.
Tapestry Briefs is the product of the Composer-Librettist Workshop run annually by Tapestry. Four composers and four librettists come up with sixteen ideas for a new opera and work up a scene from each. Last night twelve scenes from the most recent workshop were presented in a fully staged format with piano accompaniment in Ernest Balmer Studio and adjacent Distillery spaces. The quartet of singers for the evening was made up of some of Toronto’s top singer/actors; Carla Huhtanen, Krisztina Szabó, Keith Klassen and Peter McGillivray. Piano accompaniment was from Gregory Oh and Jennifer Tung.