Hell’s Fury(*) is a two man show about Hanns Eisler conceived and created by Tim Albery. It’s focussed on his time in the United States and, somewhat, on his return to the DDR. It combines songs from the Hollywood Songbook (poems by Brecht and others set by Eisler), dialogue and projections to tell the story of Eisler’s arrival in Hollywood, his work in the US, his deportation as a result of the “work” of the House Un-American Activities Committee and his return to the GDR and struggles to come to terms with the Stalinist culturecrats leading ultimately to drink, depression and death.
June is shaping up to busier than one might expect. But first here’s one last announcement for May. On the 22nd B-Exalted have a choral concert at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene at 8pm. Soloists are Dallas Chorley, soprano; Rebecca Gray, alto; Charles Davidson and David Walsh, tenors, and Janaka Welihinda, bass. More details here.
And so to June itself. There are two items of interest on June 1st. At Hart House Theatre at 2pm there’s a performance of Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music before it leaves for a tour of Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Israel. I’m curious to see how it’s developed since we saw a version that was still rather WIP in June 2017. Later, at 8pm at St. Thomas Anglican Church there’s the latest in the Confluence Series. This one is titled At the River and features, among others, Larry Beckwith, Dylan Bell, Ian Cusson, James Meade, Marion Newman, Patricia O’Callaghan, Suba Sankaran, Jacqueline Teh and Giles Tomkins. This has become a “don’t miss” series.
June is kind of quiet but first there’s yet another show to mention for the busy last weekend of May. David Fallis is conducting his last performances as Music Director of the Toronto Consort. It’s Monteverdi’s Orfeo and it’s at Trinity St. Pauls at 8pm on the 25th and 26th and 3.30pm on the 27th. Besides David it features Charles Daniels in the title role, Kevin Skelton as Apollo, Laura Pudwell as Messagiera with Jeanne Lamon on first violin plus Montreal’s premier cornetto and sackbut ensemble La Rose des Vents.
April just keeps getting busier. On April 12th The Women’s Musical Club of Toronto are presenting soprano Sylvia Schwartz with pianist Olivier Godin in a German and Spanish program. It’s a t Walter Hall at 1.30pm. Tickets are $45. The following evening at 8pm the remarkable 13 year old violinist and composer Alma Deutscher is appearing at Koerner Hall. She’ll be joined by pianist Angela Park and singers Adanya Dunn and Andrew Haji who will perform excerpts from her opera Cinderella which premiered to some acclain in Vienna.
I didn’t actually see anything much in the Luminato line up that got my juices flowing but my attention has now been drawn to CHARLOTTE: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music. It’s a Singspiel about a young female Jewish artist struggling with her identity and art during the early 1940s. She ends up in Auschwitz. You get the picture. The title role is being played by Adanya Dunn and the musical director is Peter Tiefenbach which, frankly, are reasons enough to go see it. It plays June 16th to 18th at the Theatre Centre on Queen Street West. More details here.
On a completely different tack, Jane Cooper is trying to raise funds to publish her biography of Bertha Crawford, a Canadian soprano who enjoyed a very successful operatic career in Poland and Russia in the early 20th century but who has been largely forgotten. You can find out more at Jane’s Kickstarter page.
I suppose it’s appropriate that R Murray Shafer’s Apocalypsis should be in part based on the Revelations of St. John. Is Revelations divinely inspired genius or the drug addled ravings of a half starved monk? I find myself asking similar questions about Shafer’s massive stage piece.
R. Murray Shafer’s 1980 “musical pageant”, Apocalypsis, is being restaged this year by Luminato. It’s currently in rehearsal and yestrday I got to see part of a staging rehearsal. It’s an unusual work requiring massive forces (500-1000 performers depending who you read) and combines spoken word, dance, singing and other things I’m not sure I have the vocabulary for. Oh, and yes, it depicts the end of the world! It’s big, loud, exciting and a bit mad. Part ego trip, part acid trip perhaps?
It’s that time of year when the musical calendar kind of grinds almost to a halt in Toronto. Looking ahead to June there’s not a whole lot on offer, at least in the opera/choral/artsong departments. The big event is Against the Grain’s Death and Desire show, of which I saw the first half previewed in the RBA. It’s on at the Neubacher Shor Gallery (Queen and Dufferin) on June 2nd to 5th at 8pm. Tickets are going fast so if you plan to go, head here soon. There’s a Mahler 2nd (Resurrection) Symphony at the TSO on June 10th (8pm) and 12th(7.30pm). Erin Wall, Susan Platts and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir will join the orchestra with Peter Oudjian conducting. Then it’s Luminato. The big deal for opera fans here is R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis. David Fallis will direct what sounds like a Cecil B. DeMille scale extravaganza. It’s at the Sony Centre on June 26th and 27th (8pm) and the 28th (2pm). At your own risk…
Well sort of… There isn’t anything a purist anyone would call opera in this year’s sex themed Luminato line up but there is one event that might be of interest to opera lovers. There will be three screenings of River of Fundament; a film by artist Matthew Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler.