Here is what’s coming up. Valentine’s day sees two vocal recitals. At noon in the RBA there’s Clare de Sévigné and Rachel Andrist with The Truth about Love; the story of a young woman’s love gone awry. At 8pm Ian Bostridge has an all Schubert program at Koerner Hall. Thursday is also busy with members of the Ensemble Studio in a Russian program in the RBA at noon, a Johannes Debus masterclass at UoT at 2pm and Opera Trivia at the Four Seasons Centre at 7pm. Then on Friday at 7.30pm in Walter Hall there’s a free concert; Vocalini, from the undergrads of the UoT Opera. Also Thursday and Friday MYOpera have a couple of opportunities to see emerging artists. There’s a public masterclass with Philip Morehead at 6pm Thursday at the Edward Jackman Centre and a concert at 7.30pm Friday at the Vandenberg House.
Even by the standards of Rossini comedies The Italian Girl in Algiers is a bit daft. Mustafà, bey of Algiers, is tired of his wife and plans to get rid of her by marrying her off to his Italian servant Lindoro. He wants an Italian girl because well squire, nudge nudge. He instructs his sidekick and commander of the galleys Haly to procure one or be impaled (a somewhat pointed joke that runs through the piece). He shows up with Isabella and her sidekick Taddeo. Isabella just happens to be Lindoro’s squeeze. She immediately starts to plot their escape and persuades Mustafà that to succeed with Italian girls he must become a Pappatacci which involves eating enormous amounts of food and not getting upset when his beloved gets off with other men. With Mustafà in a pasta induced near coma the lovers escape and Mustafà reconciles with his wife. Got that?
March was a curiously quiet month. April starts to look busier, at least once we get past Easter. Tonight, Against the Grain have their monthly pub night at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club. Snow is forecast so you should all stay away and then maybe I’ll be able to get in. On Saturday at 4pm there’s a free (or PWYC) recital in Ernest Baumer Studio featuring soprano Stephanie Nakagawa and pianist Peemanat Kittimontreechai. They will be performing arias from contemporary Canadian operas. On Thursday 13th Philippe Jaroussky and Les Violins du Roy will be appearing at Koerner Hall. It’s at 8pm and features mainly fairly obscure Handel material.
Well yesterday’s MYOpera season launch party was a blast with a very competitive game of what we are not allowed to call Jeopardy. Apart from being a fund raiser the real purpose was to announce the company’s 2017 show. It’s going to be Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri. There will be three performances in the Aki Studio at the Daniels Spectrum; April 28 at 7:30 pm, April 29 at 4:30 pm and April 30 at 2:30 pm. Casting yet to be announced.
Time to revive the “upcoming week” post I think. There are two items of interest in the next week. Evolving Symmetry at the Heliconian Club on Wednesday 7th at 7pm features soprano Adanya Dunn, clarinetist Brad Cherwin and pianist clarinet Alice Gi-Young Hwang in a program of music by Debussy, Françaix, Milhaud, and Poulenc. Then on Saturday 10th at Opera Bob’s at 5pm MYOpera have their season launch party. Last year’s was fun.
Anna Theodosakis’ production of Britten’s Rape of Lucretia for MYOpera updates the piece from proto-historical Rome to somewhere in the mid 20th century which is fine but doesn’t seem, of itself, to add any layers of meaning to the narrative. There are neat visual touches in a simple but effective set design and the nature of and relationships between the characters are deftly drawn. The rape scene manages to be disturbing without being gratuitously graphic. It’s skilful theatre. But is that enough?
I didn’t do a preview post on Sunday so let’s remedy that with one covering the balance of this week and next week. Carmen continues at the COC with the first chance to see the second cast tomorrow evening. There’s also a slew of lunchtime concerts in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre:
- Russell Thomas, Don José in Carmen, is on Thursday 21st with a program of that includes Schumann’s Dichterliebe.
- The next day, Clementine Margaine, the second cast Carmen, performs French and Spanish love songs.
- On Tuesday 26th, Simone Osborne, the first cast Micaëla, has a program including Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées as well as works by Matthew Emery, Mozart and Cole Porter.
- Thursday 28th sees the annual collaboration between the Ensemble Studio and their counterparts from Montreal.
All of these are at noon and are free.
It looks like another fairly quiet week ahead. Just a couple of listings. Tomorrow at 7.30pm, at Walter Hall, Benjamin Butterfield and Steven Philcox are performing Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin. Tickets here. Then on Thursday, March 3rd there’s a panel discussion on a variety of opera topics featuring the MYO creative team moderated by Greg Finney. It’s at the Spoke Club at 7pm. Details are here.