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.
June is kind of quiet but first there’s yet another show to mention for the busy last weekend of May. David Fallis is conducting his last performances as Music Director of the Toronto Consort. It’s Monteverdi’s Orfeo and it’s at Trinity St. Pauls at 8pm on the 25th and 26th and 3.30pm on the 27th. Besides David it features Charles Daniels in the title role, Kevin Skelton as Apollo, Laura Pudwell as Messagiera with Jeanne Lamon on first violin plus Montreal’s premier cornetto and sackbut ensemble La Rose des Vents.
New comic operas are rare. New comic operas that are actually funny are vanishingly rare. The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring is such a beast. It’s a new piece with music by James Rolfe and a libretto by Morris Panych derived from his twenty year old stage adaptation of Gogol’s short story. Originally commissioned by Tapestry Opera, the Toronto staging was under the joint auspices of that company and Canadian Stage with the work also to be staged by co-producer Vancouver Opera as part of their summer festival.
Geoff Sirett will sing the main role of Akakiy in the upcoming Tapestry/CanStage premiere of James Rolfe and Morris Panych’s The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring based on the absurdist short story by Gogol. I put some questions to Geoff about him, the piece and his role in it.
Not much sign of spring as we move into the second half of the month but there are some things musical to enjoy while we await the return of the sun. On March 18th at 2pm in Mazzoleni Hall there is You’re Welcome Rossini with the glamorous duo of Allyson McHardy and, the not seen often enough in Toronto, Lucia Cesaroni. This one is officially sold out but there may be rushes. Ten bucks says they do the Cat duet. Continue reading →
Casting has now been announced for The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring; an opera by Morris Panych and James Rolfe based on Gogol’s short story by way of Panych’s 1990s theatrical version. The opera is a co-production of Vancouver Opera, Tapestry Opera and Canadian Stage and will premiere in Toronto’s Bluma Appel Theatre (March 29th to April 14th) before heading to the Vancouver Playhouse (April 28th to May 12th).
The decision by Toronto Masque Theatre to pair Purcell’s miniature opera, Dido and Aeneas, with James Rolfe and André Alexis’ piece on the lovers’ inner thoughts, Aeneas and Dido, paid off last night. It produced an evening of just the right length with two contrasting but complementary pieces working really well together.
So the rumours have been around for a while but today the big announcement about Tapestry’s major project for 2017/18 went public. It’s a joint production with Canadian Stage and Vancouver Opera of an operatic version of Morris Panych’s adaptation of Gogol’s The Overcoat which, as a stage play, won critical acclaim in 1998. The music is by James Rolfe and it will premiere at the Bluma Appel Thaetre in March 2018 before moving to the Vancouver Playhouse as part of the second Vancouver Opera Festival. The idea originated in the 2014 LibLab which produced a very funny scene of a hapless customer being beaten senseless by his tailors. (something that should have happened to Cheetoh Benito long ago).
Coleman, Lemieux et Compagnie’s Against Nature presented last night at The Citadel, is another show combining vocal music and dance. It combines two baritones; Geoff Sirett and Alexander Dobson with a dancer, Laurence Lemieux, playing a female servant. Funny how things tend to coevolve in the arts world. Combining vocal music with dance, once not so common, is now almost ubiquitous with productions from the likes of CASP, Against the Grain and FAWN among others.
This review first appeared in the print edition of Opera Canada.
This new CD of music by James Rolfe on the Centrediscs label contains three works for voices and a small “early instruments” ensemble. Two; Europa and Aeneas and Dido, were written as companion pieces for Toronto Masque Theatre performances of the similarly titled works by Pignolet de Montéclair and Purcell. The third, Breathe, was written for Trio Mediaeval and the Toronto Consort.
Breathe is a setting of words by Anna Chatterton and Hildegard of Bingen on the theme of the four elements. It feels quite meditative with high voices (Suzie LeBlanc, Katherine Hill and Laura Pudwell) weaving patterns with the band. It’s rhythmically inventive, almost jazzy in places but always quite ethereal.