Collectìf – Beyond Perception

Collectìf’s latest show for the Toronto Summer Music Festival at Walter Hall last night was called Beyond Perception: What Haunts Us Now.  It presented three new multimedia works each curated and directed by one of the trio of singers.  The first piece, by Whitney O’Hearne featured arrangements of French works; both folk and classical that deal with the idea of La Dame Blanche; by turns sorceress or virgin bride.  Turning the idea of male defined female transgression upside down to celebrate women’s agency, O’Hearn combined arrangements of the chosen music for combinations of three voices and piano with soft focus atmospheric video rather reminiscent of Collectìf’s Winterreise show at Heliconian Hall.  The singing was beautiful and the concept intriguing.  Top notch accompaniment by Trevor Chartrand.

DSCF0267-Gord Fulton

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As a Stranger

stranger2On the face of it the idea of reorganising Schubert’s Winterreise for three female voices and staging it as a kind of allegory isn’t an obvious one but Collectìf’s As a Stranger worked remarkably well.  The arrangement and distribution of the numbers was judicious; most of the songs went to a single singer, some were split and occasional and effective use was made of two or three voices in unison.  The idea behind the split being to make mezzo Whitney O’Hearne the narrator/traveller while sopranos Jennifer Krabbe and Danika Lorèn embodied the malign and benign aspects/characters of the story.  Heliconian Hall doesn’t offer a lot in the way of staging possibilities but well thought out costumes, a few props and a considerable, and quite sophisticated, video element added up to a pretty satisfying experience.  In the last number Jennifer relieved Tom King at the piano to allow the Leierman to stagger off into the wintry night.  All well thought out and well executed.

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Le Rossignol et la Rose

Le Rossignol et la Rose is Collectif’s first show.  It’s another take on how to make art song more interesting and attract a new audience.  The formula this time is to stage a series of songs with an implied linking narrative in a funky space.  It worked pretty well.  The B Lounge is a basement lounge/club next door to a boxing gym.  It’s scruffy but comfortable with enough space for performance in and around the audience.  There’s a bar.

rossignol

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