Something Rich and Strange

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.

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More upcoming on-line content

confluencecreativityMy 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.

Streams and things

A quick reminder that tonight, tomorrow and Saturday see new streams from AtG (A Little Too Cozy prequel), The GGS Fall Opera (Seven Deadly Sins and Lucrezia) and Confluence (Purcell).  There’s also new content on the appropriate Youtube channels from Domoney Artists and Alex Hajek.

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Opera Atelier announces a real live 2020/21 season

Yes, Opera Atelier, bar further restrictions on gatherings/performances, is planning to offer two fully staged, costumed and choreographed live shows in the upcoming season, though only for a single performance of each.  Both will play at Koerner Hall which is well equipped both back stage and front of house for “social distancing”.

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A couple more streams

iconsquaresm_00006A37_3543e7925dd54a5aae2e07eb9148999b-unnamed(16)Living Room Music concert series is an eclectic series of events hosted by Isobel Leonard.  As best I can tell they are likely to feature music in a variety of genres plus spoken word and dance.  There’s a show called Grateful Embrace tomorrow at 7pm tha includes Toronto based baritone Jorell Williams.  There’s lots more information on the whole series here.  There are links to the video on the AOP page or you can find them on the American Opera Project Youtube channel.

On May 20th at 8pm Opera Atelier are hosting a virtual showcase called Together/Apart.  There’s a really good line up of singers, dancers and instrumentalists including Angela Hewitt and Wallis Giunta.  All the details are on the Opera Atelier website which is also where the stream will be hosted.

Both these events are free but donations would be appreciated.

Opera Atelier 2020/21

‘Tis the season for season announcements.  First out of the blocks is Opera Atelier.  They have two Toronto shows.  The fall show is a tweaked revival of the venerable 1991 production of Mozart’s Magic Flute.  It gets new costumes and a new “flying machine” for the Queen of the Night. Colin Ainsworth sings Tamino with Mireille Asselin as Pamina, Douglas Williams as Papageno, Gustav Andreassen as Sarastro, and Holly Flack as the Queen of the Night.  That runs October 22nd to November 1st 2020.

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What’s on in October

rusalka-1-1I can’t believe an October preview post already.  But here it is.  So what’s on?  Against the Grain’s Opera Pub kicks off again on the 5th at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club.  It’s the usual 9pm start but come really early if you want a table.  The 10th to the 12th sees Amplified Opera’s series of three shows at the Ernest Balmer Studio.  The 11th is the first Toronto date for Against the Grain’s La Bohème tour.  That’s 7.30pm at the Tranzac.  Other dates and other city information here.  The 12th is opening night for Dvořák’s Rusalka at the COC.  Full details on dates, cast, tickets etc here.  On the 19th UoT’s Early Music programme are doing Handel’s Acis and Galatea at the Heliconian Club at 2pm.

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Frustrating Idomeneo

Opera Atelier’s current production of Mozart’s Idomeneo is frustrating, especially given their recent run of good form.  It, unfortunately, combines a fussy, rather pointless production with histrionic antics and uneven singing.  It’s just not good enough.

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The Angel Speaks

The Angel Speaks got its North American premiere last night at the Royal Ontario Museum.  It’s a new piece born out of Opera Atelier’s collaboration with the Chapel Royal at Versailles and represents something of a new direction for the company.  Structurally I suppose one could describe it as a cantata with dance for baroque instruments.  It combines works by Purcell (and a little William Boyce) with two new works by Edwin Huizinga to create a loose plot line around the Archangel Gabriel and the Annunciation of the Virgin.  It incorporates Huizinga’s Inception, first seen in Toronto as a sort of entr’acte to OA’s Pygmalion show last October.  But at the core of the piece is a new Huizinga composition; Annunciation, for baritone, soprano and small ensemble, setting text by Rilke.

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Opera Atelier 2019/20

Opera Atelier has announced its 2019/20 season.  As usual there are two main stage shows.  The first is a revival of their 2011 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  It runs from October 31st to November 9th, 2019, in the Ed Mirvish Theatre.  It’s a production that plays up the comedy and the elements of the commedia dell’arte in the piece while pretty much eschewing anything deeper or darker.  The cast includes Douglas Williams as the Don with Stephen Hegedus as Leporello, Colin Ainsworth, as Don Ottavio, Meghan Lindsay as Donna Anna, Carla Huhtanen as Donna Elvira, Mireille Asselin as Zerlina, Olivier Laquerre as Masetto, and Gustav Andreassen as Commendatore. beautiful Ed Mirvish Theatre.  David Fallis conducts.

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