Ending with a beginning

David Fallis2

David Fallis

David Fallis’ last show after 28 years as Artistic Director of the Toronto Consort is, perhaps appropriately, the earliest opera in the repertoire; Monteverdi’s Orfeo.  The first performance of three was last night at Trinity St. Paul’s.  It’s a concert performance with surtitles and some interesting orchestration.  The expected strings and woodwinds are supplemented here by the sackbuts and cornettos of Montreal based La Rose des Vents as well as triple harp and an assortment of keyboards including, I think, two different organs. Continue reading

Like the 504 streetcar

Season announcements, it seems, are like the King Street streetcar(1).  You wait for ages then three come along at once.  This time it’s Opera Atelier announcing the 2017/18 season.  As ever there are two productions.  A remount of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro runs October 26th to November 4th. The cast icludes Douglas Williams, making his Opera Atelier debut, in the title role, with Mireille Asselin (Susanna), Stephen Hegedus (Count Almaviva), Peggy Kriha Dye (Countess Almaviva), Mireille Lebel (Cherubino), Laura Pudwell (Marcellina), Gustav Andreassen (Bartolo), Christopher Enns (Basilio/Don Curzio), Olivier Laquerre (Antonio), and Grace Lee (Barbarina).  This one will be sung in English.

oafigaro

Patrick Jang, Carla Huhtanen and Phillip Addis in “The Marriage of Figaro” (2010).  Photo by Bruce Zinger.

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The Play of Daniel

The Play of Daniel (Danielis ludus) is a 12th or 13th century Latin liturgical play from Beauvais in nothern France.  It appears in the liturgy for January 1st, The Feast of the Circumcision, and appears to have been an attempt to channel the traditional post Christmas disorder into more acceptable channels.  It was probably performed by the sub deacons of the Cathedral; young men in minor orders.  Alex and David Fallis have run with this setting and tried to create a piece that would evoke the same sort of reactions from a 21st century audience as the original did for those who saw it in Beauvais.  That’s a huge ask but, to my mind, they succeeded admirably.

Belshazzar - Olivier Laquerre (l) Noble – Bud Roach (r)

Belshazzar – Olivier Laquerre (l) Noble – Bud Roach (r)

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Dream of Gerontius

medium_stuart-skeltonEvery time I go to Roy Thomson Hall, as I did last night to see the TSO perform Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, I have to recalibrate for the acoustic.  It’s just much quieter than the Four Season’s Centre and, indeed, many other venues.  This has the advantage that coughing is largely inaudible but also that even a large orchestra playing full bore doesn’t exactly blow one’s socks off.  So, perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that I was more struck by the meditative aspects of this score than its moments of high drama such as the chorus of demons.  I’m pretty sure this was just the acoustic because conductor Peter Oundjian was certainly going for maximum effect in those sections. Continue reading

Upcoming events

vh-headshotThis evening at 7.30pm at Trinity St. Paul’s The Talisker Players have their first concert of the season entitled Songs of Travel.  Virginia Hatfield  will be performing the French baroque work Le Sommeil d’Ulisse by Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre and the rarely performed Algoma Central by Louis Applebaum. Also featured is baritone Geoffrey Sirett in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel and Vally Weigl’s Songs of Love and Leaving. Also on tomorrow.

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Some upcoming events

There a few things coming up in Toronto over the next week or two that might be worth a look.

segalgleadowTomorrow at noon in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre Lauren Segal and Robert Gleadow accompanied by Sandra Horst are giving a free concert featuring  Dvořák’s Gypsy Songs, de Falla’s Siete canciones populares Españolas, Ibert’s Chansons de Don Quichotte and Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel.

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The Toronto Consort’s Giasone

giasoneCavalli’s Giasone is a bit of a peculiar piece,  It’s based on parts of the Jason/Medea/Golden Fleece story but it’s at heart a comedy.  It was wildly popular in the 17th century then pretty much lapsed into obscurity though there is one recording available on DVD.  It provides quite a lot of opportunity for sight gags and spectacle so one had to wonder how well it would play in a concert version as presented by the Toronto Consort last night.  Actually they did quite well with it but let’s take a step back to talk about the piece for a minute. Continue reading