Rebanks fellows

Last night at Mazzoleni Hall we were entertained by the Royal Conservatory’s Rebanks fellows.  The programme was, to say the least, varied and very enjoyable.  It began with a movement from Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor played by Isobel Howard – violin, Caleb Georges – viola, Joanne Yesol Choi – cello and Sejin Yoon – piano.  It was a pleasant, if conventional, start to the evening.  There were rather more fireworks in the “Allegro ma non troppo” from Strauss’ Violin Sonata in E flat major.  There was some seriously virtuosic playing here from Aaaron Chan – violin and Ben Smith – piano.

1. Group Photo

from L to R: Michael Bridge, accordion; Caleb Georges, viola; Isobel Howard, violin; Sejin Yoon, piano; Hannah Crawford, soprano; Daniel Hamin Go, cello; Tim Beattie, guitar; Jonelle Sills, soprano; Aaron Chan, violin.

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Truth and Reconciliation at Koerner Hall

Yesterday was the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  The Royal Conservatory and Koerner Hall marked it with a free concert curated by Denise Bolduc, Mervon Mehta and Sarain Fox who doubled up as an extremely engaging host for the evening.

2.sarain

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RCM 2022/3 sneak peak

koerner-stage-emptyThe Royal Conservatory of Music did a partial reveal of their classical and jazz programming for Koerner Hall in the 2022/3 season.  It’s a pretty typical mx; heavy on piano, strings and chamber music, but there are a few interesting classical vocal concerts.  Here are the highlights:

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Slim pickings

wibble2As 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.

It’s beginning to look a lot like March 2020

closedSo, it’s cancellation time again.  Everything is off as far as “live” is concerned until at least January 26th in Ontario.  That means that a whole raft of concerts at the RCM are postponed/off including Gould’s Wall and Gerry Finley.  Morgan Paige-Melbourne and Eve Egoyan are going ahead as livestreams.  Check the RCM website for details.  The COC has suspended single ticket sales for Madama Butterfly until things become clearer.  Meanwhile the rest of the world, mostly, is getting on with it.  I’m told it’s called the 0 micron variant because that’s roughly the diameter of Doug Ford’s brain.

Royal Conservatory 2021/22

rcmThe Royal Conservatory of Music has just announced a real live season for 2021/22. Covid restrictions will likely be in place for at least the first part of the season but hopefully will ease up at some point. There’s the usual eclectic mix of classical, vocal, jazz, world music etc so I’ll just cover the classical vocal stuff which is actually pretty exciting.  Let’s go through it chronologically. Continue reading

Coming up at the Royal Conservatory

Coming up at the Royal Conservatory….

  • March 12th at 8pm.  ARC Ensemble plays Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and English Songs.  An all Beethoven programme featuring Monica Whicher in the songs.  That’s a free livestream on the Koerner Hall performance page.
  • March 21st at 1pm.  To the Distant Beloved.  Miriam Khalil, Russell Braun and Carolyn Maule perform Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and a world premiere piece by award-winning Iranian Canadian composer, Afarin Mansouri, commissioned by Canadian Art Song Project.  This one is $10 with tickets/codes available from the RCM box office.

Elliot Madore at Koerner Hall

Elliot Madore’s recital with Rachel Andrist was supposed to have happened at Mazzoleni all with a limited live audience last weekend but that didn’t happen and the programme was recorded in an empty Koerner Hall and streamed last night. The programme’s first half was all French and the second half English.

madoreandrist

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Royal Conservatory 2019/20

ldspThe RCM 2019/20 season has been announced.  It’s the usual mix of chamber, orchestral, piano, jazz, world music, the completely indefinable and, of course, vocal.  There are 91 concerts in total.  With such a wide range of material it’s hard to imagine anybody being interested in all of it or, conversely, anybody unable to find something to their taste.  My tastes, of course, run largely to classical vocal music so what follows is what I find most interesting: Continue reading

Joel Ivany’s Magic Flute

nikpix_joelmiriam_01I sat down a couple of days ago with Joel Ivany to discuss his upcoming production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Conservatory.  Here are some of the things we talked about.

What’s Die Zauberflöte “about”?

This opera has had whole books written about it but no-one seems to agree on what’s at the core of it.  Is it a simple fairy tale?  Is it an allegory of Reason versus The Church?  Is it a Coming of Age story?  Unsurprisingly we didn’t come to firm conclusions here but it’s clear that Joel wants to particularly explore some of the aspects of gender raised by the piece; especially the apparent misogyny of the piece.  There’s potentially more to Pamina than being the bait to trap Tamino or, alternatively, his completion.  What is her roles in the Trials?  What happens to either of them if they fail?  If Tamino needs to be “completed” what are we to make of the unpartnered Sarastro?  But, if Pamina has strength what kind of agency does she have?  The other female character are equally problematic.  How does one humanize the Queen of the Night?  Who, or what, is Papagena?  Neither of us think there are easy answers here and I’m looking forward to seeing how Joel’s take pans out.  What we could agree on is that even if the simple equation of male = good/rational and female = irrational/disposable worked in 1791 (if, indeed, it did), it won’t work in 2019.

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