In what seems to becoming the pattern, Soundstreams has announced a 21/22 season which is virtual for the balance of this year with a possible return to “live” early next year.
The digital performances include a new film, Garden of Vanished Pleasures, directed by Tim Albery with music by Cecilia Livingston and Donna McKevitt inspired by Derek Jarman and his garden. That’s in September. Ironically I might see it before Jarman’s own film about his garden which I have had on hold at the TPL since January!
In streaming news Soundstreams has added a lovely concert of Ian Cusson’s Five Songs on Poems of Marilyn Dumont and Raven Chacon’s Ella Llora. The performers are mezzo Rebecca Cuddy and pianist Gregory Oh. I really urge people, Canadian or otherwise, to take a look at this. The news, as it pertains to Indigenous people in Canada, has been really grim in recent weeks and I don’t know anything quite like Dumont’s verse for conveying certain aspects of the Indigenous experience. She combines, sadness, anger and disarming humour in a way that touches me deeply and Ian’s settings intensify that. I’ve written about these songs before but never at such a moment.
Here’s a round up of the latest on-line material to come my way:
From the Kingston Symphony, Opera 5 and all things Krehm/Mitchell plus assorted animated animals… the concluding episodes of Harmon in Space (available now) and a new project, premiering April 7th; Threepenny Submarine featuring puppets from Gazelle Automation, sopranos Rachel Krehm and Caitlin Wood and a chamber ensemble led by Evan Mitchell.
From Against the Grain… a continuation of the run of Messiah/Complex and a live chat “Making of” at 7pm tonight.
From Soundstreams… Electric Messiah is available again until April 11th.
From Calgary Opera… Opera Labs, a series devoted to innovation in opera. The first film is about Namwayut; a collaborative composition featuring, among others, Marion Newman, Yvette Nolan, Ian Cusson and Asitha Tennekoon.
Everything is on Youtube except the Calgary project.
The sixth iteration of Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah unsurprisingly morphed from a live show in the intimate setting of the Drake Underground to a streamed video recorded on location in various places in Toronto. There is much that was the same as previously and some interesting differences. The selection of arias and choruses is very similar to previous years starting with “Comfort Ye”; arranged for all four singers and finishing up with “Hallelujah”.
Next Monday, December 21st, Essential Opera is streaming a new one act opera for three singers and string quartet by Monica Pearce called December. Julia and Natasha are newly in a relationship and are visiting Julia’s parents for the first time for the holidays. We are promised a light hearted piece about travel, holiday stress, family and relationships. It premieres at 8pm (Nova Scotia time I think) and it’s ticketed. Cast, crew and ticketing information is here.
My sense of time, or rather lack of one, has made these “upcoming” posts a bit irregular. So anyway these are things I haven’t mentioned so far.
Tonight at 7pm on Youtube, Confluence Concerts present the Hutcheons with a talk on Creativity and Aging based on their book Four Last Songs. I’ve read the book and had (used to have) some of the best conversations with Doctors Linda and Michael so this should be good. Musical excerpts from Messiaen and Leonard Cohen will be performed by Larry Beckwith, Robert Kortgaard and Patricia O’Callaghan. Free.
Wednesday at 8pm on Youtube it’s Tapestry with SOS – Sketch Opera Singers episode 1. Singing peas on a dinner plate. The inner thoughts of evil babies. An attention-starved man who bursts into dramatic song whenever he steps into a light. Check out the teaser that’s already up on Youtube. Also free.
Saturday at 7pm is Opera Atelier’s Something Rich and Strange which is a baroque pasticcio. It’s streamed via the Koerner Hall streaming site and tickets are $25. Check out OA’s website for details.
December 13th at 8pm is Against the Grain’s multicultural Messiah/Complex. Free but registration required.
December 17th at 8pm is Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah.. This is the latest iteration of what has become an annual event but reenvisaged for the web. I was on a Zoom call last Monday with the director and music director. Sounds like it should be good. Also free but registration required.
The usual suspects (check earlier posts for recommendations) are still also mostly producing new content.
Two more spooky shorts from Tapestry Opera and Red Truck productions. If you had any lingering doubts about Keith Klassen’s sanity these should take care of them! That said, the technical quality of these is amazing. (Tapestry Youtube channel).
A COVID flavoured Halloween special from Opera Revue. (Opera Revue’s Youtube channel)
A recording and video presentation by the Kingston Symphony of Dean Burry’s Nijmegen Bridge1944. It’s a homage to the Canadians who died liberating the Netherlands and it’s well worth hearing. There are also more Harmon in Space episodes. (Kingston Symphony Youtube channel)
The Dora award nominations are in. The most interesting thing is that the COC doesn’t dominate the Opera category this year. In fact Tapestry has most nominations with thirteen. In general, it was really nice to see new “committed” opera dominating the list rather than the usual stuff. Indigenous themes did very well too which is very pleasing. Loads of nominations for Shanawdithit, including Best Performer in a Leading Role for Marion Newman, which pleases me greatly. Good to see FAWN’s Pandora and Soundstreams’ Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit featuring along with LooseTea’s Singing Only Softly/The Diary of Anne Frank: Operas from the Secret Annex. There was one surprise in the list of COC nominations. I’m actually quite shocked that Speranza Scappucci didn’t get nominated for her conducting of Barber of Seville; a really remarkable performance. And one non-surprise; multiple nominations for Rusalka which might just be the best thing the COC have done in quite a while.
So now we can all speculate on who the eventual winners will be.
Soundstreams have announced their 2020/21 season and hopefully we will get to see some of it! As ever there’s loads of good stuff starting with Steve Reich being in Toronto for his 85th birthday in April 2021. Other stuff that gets me excited includes:
Huang Ruo’s The Book of Mountain and Seas as part of 21C at Koerner in January 2021. This features the vocal ensemble Ars Nova Copenhagen and puppets!
Chan Ka Nin’s A Dragon’s Tale. It’s a co-pro with Tapestry and promises a waterfront extravaganza of western and eastern musical traditions. That’s coming in June next year.
May 2021 sees a line up of Toronto’s finest performing works by Claude Vivier plus a new commission from Christopher Mayo. That’s going to be in the very intimate Temerty Theatre at the RCM
Plus Electric Messiah, Encounters and more. Full details here.
The second half of January kicks off with the COC’s revival production f Rossini’s Barber of Seville, this time starring Emily D’Angelo as Rosina. There are eight performances running to February 7th.
. Sunday 26th at 2pm there’s a concert in the Mazzoleni Songmasters series. It’s called Sirens and features Leslie Ann Bradley, Allyson McHardy and Rachel Andrist in a suitably watery and alluring program.