Marcel d’Entremont in the RBA

The 2018 Wirth Song Prize winner tenor Marcel d’Entremont gave the customary recital in the RBA at noon yesterday accompanied by Dakota Scott-Digout.  It was an interesting choice of material; nicely balanced between old and new worlds.  He started with Ravel’s Cinq mélodies populaires grecques.  I guess these set the tone for the recital.  Marcel has a very operatic voice.  It’s big with quite a lot of vibrato.  The Ravel was loud but nicely characterized and sung in perfect French.  He followed up with a rousing. but not overly subtle, Kuda, kuda.   I was beginning to find things a bit one dimensional.

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Songbook XL

Tapestry and the COC collaborated for yesterday’s concert in the RBA.  The performers were members of the Ensemble Studio.  The material was a mix of numbers from the Tapestry back catalogue plus a couple of songs by COC composer in residence Ian Cusson.

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Into the second half of of November

Here’s what’s coming up…

On the 14th at 1.30pm in Walter Hall Jane Archibald and Liz Upchurch are giving a recital under the auspices of the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto (so this isn’t a free concert).  The 15th sees the opening of a run of a “play with music” from Theatre Gargantua called The Wager which will run at Theatre Passe Muraille from the 14th (preview) to the 30th.  It promises to be a “bold and irreverent investigation into the strange things that people believe”.  It’s written by Michael Spence and directed by Jacquie PA Thomas and the cast includes Teiya Kasahara.

The Wager

The cast of The Wager. Photo:Michael Cooper

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Old Songs, New Songs

Yesterday Matthew Cairns and Rachel Kerr performed an unusually wide range of songs in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  It’s part of Matthew’s prep for his CBC recording session which was part of the prize at last year’s Centre Stage and which will be broadcast in the new year.  They kicked off with a contrasting pair of Duparc song’s.  First came the almost dreamy L’invitation au voyage with it’s arpeggio accompaniment followed by the much more dramatic Le manoir de Rosemonde.  These really set the tone for the recital.  There was power where it was needed but also considerable delicacy from both singer and pianist.

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A first look at UoT this year

The students of the post graduate program at UoT Opera were on show in the RBA yesterday with a show made up of staged opera excerpts curated and directed by Michael Patrick Albano.  It’s right at the beginning of the academic year and these sorts of concerts are a bit of a calibration exercise for those of us who follow the progress of young singers.  The starting point this year is decidedly high.

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The Maiden and the Nightingale

Yesterday’s lunchtime recital in the RBA was given by soprano, Vanessa Vasquez and pianist Miloš Repický.  It was a well constructed programme though there were few surprises.  The first set was three Strauss standards; Ständchen, Breit’ übermein Haupt and Befreit; the last dedicated to Vanessa’s teacher who died recently.  They were all well sung with appropriate emotional emphasis and, best of all, both performers appeared to be enjoying themselves.

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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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