Threepenny Submarine

Rachel Krehm and co’s latest project Threepenny Submarine is now live on the Opera 5 Youtube channel.  It’s a collaboration between Opera 5 and Gazelle Automations and features two (puppet) singers on a quest in a submarine.  It stars Caitlin Wood as a Rossini singing cockatiel with a tidiness fetish, which doesn’t seem terribly like Cait (at least the tidiness thing.  Of course she can sing Rossini), and Rachel Krehm as a messy Wagnerian vixen, which sounds about right.  It’s designed for kids but it’s quite funny and very cute and should work for kids of all ages.

threepennysubmarine

Also on the tubes, The Crossing have produced an animated watercolour video of one of the tracks from their recent recording of Gavin Bryars’ A Native Hill.

More tubes

Here’s a round up of the latest on-line material to come my way:

  • From the Kingston Symphony, Opera 5 and all things Krehm/Mitchell plus assorted animated animals… the concluding episodes of Harmon in Space (available now) and a new project, premiering April 7th; Threepenny Submarine featuring puppets from Gazelle Automation, sopranos Rachel Krehm and Caitlin Wood and a chamber ensemble led by Evan Mitchell.
  • From Against the Grain… a continuation of the run of Messiah/Complex and a live chat “Making of” at 7pm tonight.
  • From Soundstreams… Electric Messiah is available again until April 11th.
  • From Calgary Opera… Opera Labs, a series devoted to innovation in opera. The first film is about Namwayut; a collaborative composition featuring, among others, Marion Newman, Yvette Nolan, Ian Cusson and Asitha Tennekoon.

Everything is on Youtube except the Calgary project.

marion

A few thoughts on web content

I last saw a live show in a theatre on March 13th.  Eight months later I’ve watched a lot of web content as well as continuing to review commercial opera recordings.  A month ago I wrote in Opera Canada that “there’s no substitute for live” and I stand by that view.  I do think though that there’s an opportunity and a need to rethink how opera and song is produced for webstreaming.

renaissance

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Opera Con

This is a bit of a belated plug for Opera 5 and Musique Trois Femmes’ virtual conference Opera Con.  It’s on this Friday/Saturday so it’s too late to catch yesterday’s events live but they are all available on demand.  There are more events this afternoon and evening where you can participate in the live text chat.  All the sessions are on Opera 5’s Youtube channel.  It’s mostly younger artists talking about how to make opera more diverse and accessible with everything from opera for younger audiences to whale song to virtual reality.  Worth a look.

whales

Eight singers drinking

michaelEight drinkers singing.  Or vice versa.  I forget.  Anyway, last night’s extravaganza from Tongue in Cheek Productions and Opera5 at Gallery 345 was a blast.  The schtick was that eight people got to choose a cocktail and a related song set while the audience could purchase their choice(s) of the said beverages.  There was a lot of clowning around and some very good singing all backed up by a very serious looking Trevor Chartrand at the piano. Continue reading

Open Chambers

Staging art song and chamber works happens in Toronto but not a lot.  Over the last few years I’ve seen interesting shows from Against the Grain, Collectif and UoT Opera among others.  As it’s something I tend to enjoy I was pleased to catch the opening performance of Opera 5’s Hindemith and Shostakovich program; itself the first in a proposed series called Open Chambers.

Open Chambers #15

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Back half of November

stacieSo here we go with things to look out for in the second half of the month or so.  On the 13th Stacie Dunlop and flautist Kelly Zimba are putting on a program of pieces by living American and Canadian composers, including premieres by Toronto composer David Jaeger and the duo HaRebraIN (Anh Phung/Alan Mackie) along with works by Leslie Uyeda, Braxton Blake, Kate Soper and James O’Callaghan.  That’s at 8pm at Gallery 345.

From November 15th to December 2nd Red Snow Collective are presenting the world premiere of The Monkey Queen, written by Diana Tso, directed by William Yong, and performed by Diana Tso and Nick Eddie. The production weaves text, movement, visual art and music, and reimagines the ancient tale through the playwright’s own personal journey as a Chinese-Canadian female artist; a sort of Journey to the East if you will.  It’s at the Theatre Centre Incubator at 7.30pm.

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Opera 5’s Barber of Seville

Opera 5 opened a run of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Factory Theatre last night.  It’s arguably the most conventional thing Opera 5 have done.  It’s a (very) mainstream piece.  There was no accompanying themed food or drink (a glass of Rotsina?).  There was no audience participation.  There weren’t even Aria Umezawa’s characteristically minimalist touches.  What there was a carefully constructed Barber for reduced forces directed by new Artistic Director Jessica Derventzis and conducted by Evan Mitchell.

O5 Barber #2_preview

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Looking ahead to June

Orfeo-Website-ImageJune 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.

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Announcements round up

VoxThere have been quite a few announcements in the last couple of weeks or so.  Here’s what’s coming up.

Essential Opera is back after a hiatus.  They are doing a single performance of Gianni Schicchi at 3pm on April 22nd at the Toronto Centre for the Arts (the one up near the Arctic Circle).  Kevin Mallon conducts the Toronto Orchestra with a really good line up of soloists.

21C is back from May 23rd to 27th with a varied lineup.  Perhaps the most interesting concert from a vocal point of view is vocal ensemble Vox Clamantis with violinist and singer Maarja Nuut and electronic music composer Hendrik Kaljujärv in works by Arvo Pärt, David Lang, and Helena Tulve.  The concert is presented in partnership with Estonian Music Week and it’s on the 26th at 8pm.

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