Toronto contemporary music outfit Soundstreams have announced their 2015/16 season. Highlights from an operaramblings perdpective include a chance to hear Adrianne Pieczonka sing music ranging from George Crumb to The Beatles. That one’s at Koerner Hall on September 29th and will also feature Kristina Szabó. In November there’s the previously announced run of Boesman’s Julie at the Bluma Appel. I’m eagerly awaiting casting information on that. There’s also a concert dedicated to James MacMillan, including his Seven Last Words from the Cross. That one is at Trinity St. Paul’s on March 8th next year. There’s a 80th birthday bash for Steve Reich at Massey Hall on April 14th next year and for real masochists there’s a concert featuring multiple types of squeezebox music at Trinity St.Paul’s on February 10th. Full details and ticket information can be found here.
That headline is pretty typical of the English translation of the libretto of Schoenberg’s Aron und Moses. “Holy is genital power” is another gem. The whole thing is basically an extended debate about the nature of God with Moses arguing for an extreme degree of abstraction and Aron championing a more populist version that “the people” can relate to. There are ideas in there that could probably be staged quite spectacularly, such as the Golden Calf scenes and a spot of human sacrifice. There’s even a fairly decent opportunity for an orgy. In their 1975 film Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub reject any opportunity for visual excess or even representation almost as rigidly as Moses himself.
Last night we headed out to that part of the formerly industrial west end much beloved by tiny arts organizations to see a thoroughly eclectic series of performances by Against the Grain Theatre. This is the company that previously brought us a genuinely Bohemian La Bohème at the Tranzac club. Last night’s show cunningly built on that success by using the undoubted crowd pleaser, Lindsay Boa-Sutherland, to headline a performance of Weill’s Die sieben Todsüngen. Since the orchestra was replaced by two superbly virtuosic pianists in Daniel Pesca and AtG music director Christopher Mokrzewski it made sense to include two fiendish pieces for two pianos; Steve Reich’s Piano Phase and John Adams’ Hallelujah Junction. The program was balanced up for “virtue” with Britten’s Abraham and Isaac. So, a thoroughly eclectic but oddly coherent line up.