Live, half dead

Last night I went to my first evening, indoor performance since March 12th last year.  And today I feel like I’ve been hit with a brick!  Being out in the evening until getting home after a concert time is something my body has apparently forgotten how to do over the last year or so!

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All the news that fits…

orvaxThere’s less being produced right now in the way of on-line content but here are a few titbits:

  • Opera Revue has a new and very silly vaccine related number on Youtube.
  • Sara Schabas has a recital recorded in the Spiegelsaal at the Opernhaus Zürich premiering on Sunday.  This one is ticketed ($10 in aid of Highlands Opera Studio).  Tickets here.
  • Kathy Domoney has a new series of Opera Breaks coming up.  You can check out previous Opera Breaks here, which is also where the new stuff will eventually appear.  The schedule is:
    • June 12th – “Dite alla giovine”, La Traviata ( Verdi) duet – Natalya Gennadi, soprano & Dion Mazerolle, baritone
    • June 26th – “ Green Finch and Linnet Bird”, Sweeney Todd ( Sondheim) – Caitlin Wood, soprano
    • July 10th – “Crudel! perché finora”, Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) duet – Caitlin Wood, soprano & Clarence Frazer, baritone
    • July 26th – “ Vilia” , The Merry Widow ( Léhar) – Natalya Gennadi, soprano

There’s also been a sorta, kinda “season announcement” from the COC.  You can find it and Perryn Leach’s take on it on the COC Youtube channel.  Basically there’s going to be free, live streamed content from the Four Seasons Centre in the fall using the kit I talked about in discussing the COC/NBC’s digital strategy back when.  What it is, whether there will be any kind of in-house audience and what happens after Christmas we have to wait until August to find out.

Newtubes

It seems like less on-line “opera” content is being produced as Europe prepares to return to theatres and Canada holds it breath.  A few things are ongoing though and there’s fun new content from Natalya Gennadi and friends with HBD!Project April.  More fine singing and stunning graphics. 

There’s also Isolation Series: Wash, Dry, Reset from Opera Revue featuring the mordant wit and musical talents of Dani Friesen, Alexander Hajek and Claire Harris, plus dish detergent and popcorn.  Both are on Youtube on channels Natalya Gennadi and Opera Revue respectively.

Around the tubes

Once more the week’s Youtube offerings show that digital works best when it’s “made for digital”.  Who’d a thunk it eh!  Anyway there’s very watchable new content on Youtube from Alexander Hajek, Opera Revue and Domoney Artists.  Best of all though is a new short film called Sempra Libera from Carsen Gilmore and the very good soprano Michelle Drever.  If you like the look and feel of Morte you’ll love this.  It’s really dark.  It’s the grimmest take on Violetta I’ve seen; Natalie Dessay included!

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Into March

groundhogPickings are still decidedly slim in terms of locally created on-line content with many postponements due to the current lockdown in Toronto.  What I have lined up is as follows:

  • The UoT Opera Student Composer Collective’s annual show is being streamed at 2.30pm on Sunday 21st February.  This year it’s called Escape Room and it’s a comedy with a scenario of characters trapped in a darkened room with no memory of how they got there.  It’s being streamed via Zoom and preregistration at this link is required.
  • The COC has a roundtable on Gender and Opera on its Youtube channel on March 5th at 7pm.
  • Confluence Concerts are offering a tribute to John Beckwith; specifically his songs, on March 7th at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm.  That’s on Confluence’s Youtube channel.
  • Tapestry have two shows coming up on their Youtube channel.  March 6th at 8pm sees Mireille Asselin and guests perform a range of works celebrating their French heritage.  Then on March 27th at 8pm Morgan-Paige Melbourne performs Where Do I Go?; an intriguing looking mixture of piano and dance.

There’s also new short but fun content on the appropriate Youtube channels from Opera Revue, Alexander Hajek and Domoney Artists.

Do check to make sure that there aren’t further changes before planning your life around these events!

On-line roundup

Music-for-Self-Isolation_Horvat-620x670Ontario’s state of emergency seems to have slowed the production of on-line content to a trickle.  The only new things I’ve seen recently are from the ever reliable Opera Revue and Alexander Hajek.

Opera Revue’s eighth isolation production features five pieces from Frank Horvat’s Music for Self Isolation; a set of thirty one short pieces for one or two musicians written last spring.  The concert features the five pieces with a vocal part.  I have to say I liked the texts; taken from various sources, more than the music.  The music is sort of “singer sonwriterish”; simple, tonal, melodic, a bit repetitive.  It’s fine of its type but it’s not my bag.  Performances by various combos of sopranos Emily Ding and Dani Friesen, pianist Claire Harris and guitarist Michael McKenzie are very nice though and the recording; despite being done via Zoom, is perfectly acceptable.  The music may not be entirely my thing but I’m delighted that someone is doing projects like this.  You can find it on Opera Revue’s channel on Youtube.

Alex Hajek’s contribution is another intriguing Toronto based film this time featuring Der Doppelgänger from Scubert’s Schwanengesang.  It’s beautiful to look at and beautiful to listen to and, again, featurers Claire Harris on piano as well as Alex’ lovely baritone.  This one’s on Youtube too.  The channel is Alexander Hajek.

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.

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Virtual – new and upcoming

Things I’ve seen recently or plan to see include:

Seen recently:

  • Two more spooky shorts from Tapestry Opera and Red Truck productions.  If you had any lingering doubts about Keith Klassen’s sanity these should take care of them!  That said, the technical quality of these is amazing. (Tapestry Youtube channel).
  • A COVID flavoured Halloween special from Opera Revue.  (Opera Revue’s Youtube channel)
  • A recording and video presentation by the Kingston Symphony of Dean Burry’s Nijmegen Bridge 1944.  It’s a homage to the Canadians who died liberating the Netherlands and it’s well worth hearing.  There are also more Harmon in Space episodes.  (Kingston Symphony Youtube channel)

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News roundup

So what am I still watching on-line?

  • Opera Revue; they are still producing interesting concerts more or less weekly
  • Against the Grain; ditto plus interviews
  • Opera Vision; useful source of full length opera videos in less boring productions than the Met

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You turns

Just a quick round up of what’s happening on Youtube that I haven’t written about recently.

Opera Revue continues to produce weekly short videos.  The latest looks like it’s going to be the first in a series of numbers from their Blitzkrieg Cabaret show at the Dakota Tavern back before the flood.

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