I went to see Esprit Orchestra’s show Plug in at Koerner Hall last night. I don’t often go to purely orchestral concerts but Jenn Nichols was dancing and I have this feeling that I ought to listen to more contemporary music.
The first piece; Symphonie minute by José Evangelista, is a highly compressed “symphony” in four movements. Each movement only lasts a couple of minutes and it uses a large orchestra. It’s intriguing that in such a short time each movement has a clearly defined character. It’s quite dissonant but very easy to listen to and doesn’t outstay its welcome.
I managed to catch the end of the run of York University’s production of The Beggars Opera this afternoon. It’s a hugely ambitious concept with a couple of hundred people involved. The basic concept is that John Gay’s piece is being performed by inmates in a prison as part of their rehabilitation. Layered onto this is an obnoxious talk show host who is commenting on the proceedings from a sort of gutter conservative perspective. Add to this interpolations based on Lady Gaga, blues harmonica, ukulele and even a bit of Britten. Fights break out between the cast and have to be dealt with by the prison warden and staff. Equally, they intervene in over enthusiastic sexual encounters. It’s brave but it rather tends to overwhelm the piece at the centre. Continue reading