October 1st at 7.30pm at Trinity St. Paul’s Toronto Mendelssohn Singers have a concert of (mainly) contemporary a cappella music titled The Pilgrim’s Way. This is a new initiative in which the professional core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir will perform as a 24 person ensemble. I’m quite fond of good professional choirs singing interesting stuff (see CD and concert reviews of The Crossing and LA Master Chorale).
Opera Atelier open a run of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas on the 20th at 7.30pm at the Elgin Theatre. Meghan Lindsey and Colin Ainsworth are the lovers. Also on the 21st and 23rd.
Toronto Operetta Theatre will perform Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld on the 21st at 8pm at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The cast includes Vania Chan, Tonatiuh Abrego, Gregory Finney, Joshua Clemenger, River Guard and Mairi Demings. Also playing on the 22nd and 23rd.
From September 11th to 25th Crow’s Theatre has a show; The Shape of Home: Songs in Search of Al Purdy. This is a sort of staged song cycle exploring the words and ideas of “Canada’s unofficial poet laureate”.
As you probably now theatres are closed in Ontario until the end of January and, it seems, organisations are taking a very cautious approach to February. It’s not very heroic but given the flakiness of the Ontario government it’s understandable. The COC’s Madama Butterfly is to be an on-line stream and a whole raft of performances at the RCM are postponed or rescheduled. The only confirmed shows of vocal interest at this point that I’m aware of in February are the Stewart Goodyear concert on February 9th and the Opera Atelier All is Love on February 19th and 20th; both at Koerner.
There is news. The COC has cancelled “in person” performances of Madama Butterfly. Instead it will be “made available as a free digital presentation to current 2021/2022 COC subscription holders who are continuing to support Canadian opera through the donation, exchange, or credit of tickets.” How that works I have no idea.
Also at the COC, they are taking a rather interesting approach to land acknowledgements. You can learn more about it in this ten minute video.
Opera Atelier’s new film Angel premiered last night. It consists of six scenes which, we are told, can be performed as a sequence or individually. There’s a basic theme of “angels” and the texts are drawn from Milton and Rilke (in translation). The score is by Edwin Huizinga and Christopher Bagan with some of the dance music being actual baroque works.
A couple of “season” announcements have come in. Inverted commas because it’s all rather provisional with more details to come. Opera Atelier is offering a virtual summer/fall season with a reprise of Handel’s Resurrection from July 29th through August 12th. This time there is a Standard Audio Description; a tool for blind and partially sighted people. The fall sees the final version of Edwin Huizinga’s Angel released as a film that will stream October 28th through November 12th, The cast includes Measha Brueggergosman, Colin Ainsworth, Mireille Asselin, Jesse Blumberg, Meghan Lindsay, John Tibbetts (Opera Atelier debut), and Douglas Williams. An announcement about a return to in theatre perfomances will be made in January.
Opera Atelier’s webstream of Handel’s The Resurrection premiered on Thursday evening and will be available until this coming Thursday. It’s ticketed and you can buy an access code from the RCM box office. It’s the first Opera Atelier show conceived for webstreaming as opposed to filming a stage performance. The action was filmed in St. Lawrence Hall and the music was recorded at Koerner.
I only have two confirmed events for May. On Thursday 6th there is Tapestry’s Sketch Opera Singers 2.SOS1 was a hoot and the brief excerpt for the upcoming show on Tapestry’s Youtube channel suggests the new one will be fun too. If you haven’t seen it check it out. It’s the famous ABBA-nera by Sven Bizet. Like all Tapestry’s streams SOS2 will be free on Youtube.
Opera Atelier’s fall show Something Rich and Strange was originally conceived as a show that could be given before a (limited) live audience as well as via web stream. That’s obviously constraining compared to a show that is created without a fourth wall and can include location filming. All the other constraints of these strange times had also to be observed. Despite this there was much to like in a show that presented a number of scenes from the 17th and 18th century repertoire plus a couple of “neo-baroque” pieces composed by Edwin Huizinga.
My sense of time, or rather lack of one, has made these “upcoming” posts a bit irregular. So anyway these are things I haven’t mentioned so far.
Tonight at 7pm on Youtube, Confluence Concerts present the Hutcheons with a talk on Creativity and Aging based on their book Four Last Songs. I’ve read the book and had (used to have) some of the best conversations with Doctors Linda and Michael so this should be good. Musical excerpts from Messiaen and Leonard Cohen will be performed by Larry Beckwith, Robert Kortgaard and Patricia O’Callaghan. Free.
Wednesday at 8pm on Youtube it’s Tapestry with SOS – Sketch Opera Singers episode 1. Singing peas on a dinner plate. The inner thoughts of evil babies. An attention-starved man who bursts into dramatic song whenever he steps into a light. Check out the teaser that’s already up on Youtube. Also free.
Saturday at 7pm is Opera Atelier’s Something Rich and Strange which is a baroque pasticcio. It’s streamed via the Koerner Hall streaming site and tickets are $25. Check out OA’s website for details.
December 13th at 8pm is Against the Grain’s multicultural Messiah/Complex. Free but registration required.
December 17th at 8pm is Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah.. This is the latest iteration of what has become an annual event but reenvisaged for the web. I was on a Zoom call last Monday with the director and music director. Sounds like it should be good. Also free but registration required.
The usual suspects (check earlier posts for recommendations) are still also mostly producing new content.