There are actually some up coming concerts and so on to talk about. The big event is, of course, the Toronto Summer Music Festival. This starts on July 14th and it seems incredible that it’s four months since I previewed it. There are a couple of additional TSMF events worth noting, notably an interview with Ben Heppner in Walter Hall on August 4th at 2pm. There are also master classes including one with Anne Schwanewilms on July 19th from 2pm to 5pm, also in Walter Hall.
Summer Opera Lyric Theatre has also announced its performance line up. There are three operas on offer:
There is a premiere of Davies and Benson’s A Tale of Two Cities, based on the Dickens novel. That’s on July 29th and August 6th at 8 pm and July 31 and Aug 6th at 3 pm.
Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann is on July 30th and August 7th at 3 pm and August 2nd and 4th at 8 pm.
Handel’s Julius Caesar is on July 30th, August 3rd and 5th at 8 pm and August 3rd at 3 pm.
All performances are at the Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College St. Three-performance subscription packages are $60; single tickets at $28, $22 (students & seniors). For tickets call 416-366-7723 or visit www.stlc.com.
Christoph Loy, in his 2011 Salzburg production of Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, avoids the problem of how to represent the Spirit World by essentially eliminating it. Instead we get a Konzept based on Böhm’s first recording of the work in Vienna’s Sofiensalle in 1955. Vienna is still recovering from the war and the hall is unheated and the singers unpaid. The Empress is rising star Leonie Rysanek and the Nurse is long time favourite Elisabeth Höngen. They represent the generations separated by the war. The Emperor is an American singing in Europe for the first time and, crucially, Barak and his wife are a real life married couple. Initially we see a lot of recording studio action as singers are moved about by actors in this experiment in early stereo. Then the action, particularly the Barak/Wife interaction slips more and more off stage. For the finale, we get a sort of celebratory concert in evening dress. It’s not a bad concept and this cast handles it very well but I fancy it’s a tough introduction to this far from straightforward opera and it does lose the magic of the Spirit World. (In other words I’m glad I saw the Met production before this one.)
We caught Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Met on Wednesday night. Expectations were high. It’s Strauss, and rare Strauss at that. It was our first time at the Met. The on-line opera world was abuzz with Christine Goerke’s performance as the Dyer’s Wife. By and large we weren’t disappointed.