First half of November

I think it’s time to get back to doing two listing posts per month as the schedule is getting pretty busy.

On November 1st at 8pm Karina Gauvin is appearing at Koerner Hall with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in a programme of opera arias from 18th century St. Petersburg.  The following night at 7.30pm, in Mazzoleni Hall, the Glenn Gould School has its fall production.  This time it’s Jonathan Dove’s Siren Song.  Curiously UoT Opera is also doing a work by Dove this season.

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News, news, news

Various new production and season announcements…

LooseTEA Theatre have announced their season.  November 2nd to 4th, at Heliconian Hall, there’s a double bill of Anne Frank operas.  Singing Only Softly music by Cecilia Livingston, libretto by Monica Pearce and Alaina Viau will be presented with The Diary of Anne Frank by Grigory Frid.  The singers are Sara Schabas and Gillian Grossman and Cheryl Duvall will be at the piano.  Alaina Viau directs.  December 3rd to 5th , also at Heliconian, they will present the production version of Carmen #YesAllWomen.  (My thoughts on a 2016 WIP version).  This version will combine voices (Erica Iris and Keith Klassen), chamber orchestra and turntables (SlowPitchSound).  The libretto is by Alaina VIau and Monica Pearce, the music by Samuel Bisson.  Alaina Viau directs and Scott Christian conducts.  Tickets for both shows are available at www.looseteamusictheatre.com.

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L’Histoire du Soldat

Most music lovers have probably heard the music from Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat in either orchestral or chamber arrangement but it’s rare for the work to be given in its full staged form but that’s how it was presented (more or less) last night at Koerner Hall by the Toronto Summer Music Festival in association with LooseTEA Music Theatre.  That form includes a narrator, an actor (originally three actors, nowadays usually just a single actor/narrator) and dancer.  Plus, of course, the band; violin and bass, clarinet and bassoon, cornet and trombone, piano.

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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 anyways?!

Whose opera is it anyways?! is a comedy-improv-opera show from LooseTEA Theatre’s Alaina Viau.  Last night saw the second in what is being projected as a monthly series at the Comedy Bar on Bloor West.  So how does it work?  The “games” and associated players are decided in advance but each usually requires some kind of audience input such as a place or a mood or even the messages on someone’s phone.  The team then act out and sing a sketch on the prescribed lines.  Natasha Fransblow provided accompaniment on keyboards, though how much of that was planned and how much improvised I couldn’t tell.  In between numbers Jonathan McArthur MC’d accompanied by really obnoxiously loud pop music (not helped by the speaker basically being in my left ear).

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This week

5720421dc9-jpgToday at 2.30pm Voicebox:Opera in Concert are performing Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi.  It’s Bellini’s take on Bandello rather than Shakespeare, not a lot happens and the orchestral music is ho hum so a semistaged version with piano isn’t a bad bet if the singing is good.  Juliet is the up and coming Caitlin Wood.  Romeo, on whom much depends, is Anita Krause.  It’s at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.

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Whose opera is it anyway?

I’ve always been a fan of those BBC Radio 4 programs where people have to do silly things so I was naturally drawn to LooseTEA’s fundraiser “Whose opera is it anyway?” in which a select band of singers (Greg Finney, Whitney Mather, Michael York, Charlotte Church, Fabian Arcineagas and Kijong Wi) got to do silly things bid on by the audience.  Some of the silly things even involved members of the audience. Asa Iranmehr was on the keyboards and comedian Andrew Johnston, despite almost total ignorance of anything operatic, MC’d.

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It was great fun and much funnier than the average bel canto “comedy”.  Highlights included Sit, Stand Lie where Michael, Greg and Fabian had to perform La mia Dorabella with one of them in each position at any one time, Moving People where Greg and Whitney were “manipulated” by Aria Umezawa, Michael Mori, Katja “polkadots” Juliannova and Rachel Krehm while singing the Papageno/a duet.  The best/weirdest singing was probably a couple of “in the style of”s.  I was really impressed by Whitney’s Deh vieni non tardar in the style of Miranda Sings.  It takes real talent to sing that badly!  Greg’s Catalogue Aria in the style of (a very lugubrious) Vladimir Putin was a hoot too.  My sunglasses came in handy in “Props”.

woiia1sThe snacks were decidedly better than they often are at these events too.  Really good pizza!  So, a good time was had by all.  More people should come to these things.  Have a few drinks, meet fun people, see just how multi-talented some of our singers are and have fun.  Why not?

Sorry about the photo quality.  Taken by me on my phone.