I have a Japanese carving

Hell’s Fury(*) is a two man show about Hanns Eisler conceived and created by Tim Albery.  It’s focussed on his time in the United States and, somewhat, on his return to the DDR.  It combines songs from the Hollywood Songbook (poems by Brecht and others set by Eisler), dialogue and projections to tell the story of Eisler’s arrival in Hollywood, his work in the US, his deportation as a result of the “work” of the House Un-American Activities Committee and his return to the GDR and struggles to come to terms with the Stalinist culturecrats leading ultimately to drink, depression and death.

Russell Braun in Hell's Fury The Hollywood Songbook_Photo by Trevor Haldenby (2)

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Looking ahead to June

June is shaping up to busier than one might expect.  But first here’s one last announcement for May.  On the 22nd B-Exalted have a choral concert at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene at 8pm. Soloists are Dallas Chorley, soprano; Rebecca Gray, alto; Charles Davidson and David Walsh, tenors, and Janaka Welihinda, bass.  More details here.

And so to June itself.  There are two items of interest on June 1st.  At Hart House Theatre at 2pm there’s a performance of Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music before it leaves for a tour of Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Israel.  I’m curious to see how it’s developed since we saw a version that was still rather WIP in June 2017.  Later, at 8pm at St. Thomas Anglican Church there’s the latest in the Confluence Series.  This one is titled At the River and features, among others, Larry Beckwith, Dylan Bell, Ian Cusson, James Meade, Marion Newman, Patricia O’Callaghan, Suba Sankaran, Jacqueline Teh and Giles Tomkins.  This has become a “don’t miss” series.

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Soundstreaming

MFDECatching up here on the news from Soundstreams.

On April 3rd at 6.30pm at Osgoode Hall there’s a “Musical Moot”.  It’s a fundraiser and preview for the Seven Deadly Sins show upcoming (see below).  It features singer/sinners Chloe Charles and Aviva Chernick, Cynthia Dale and Eric Petersen from CBC’s Street Legal plus former mayor (and one time rugby player) David Miller.  Is this even legal?

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Flurries

CussonThere have been a series of interesting announcements about composers and commissions from the Canadian Opera Company recently.  First is the announcement that Ian Cusson is to become composer-in-residence from August 2019.  Cusson is part Métis and, readers may recall, featured as half of a memorable evening kicking off the new Confluence concert series in October.  There’s an initial commission announced too.  He will work with Colleen Murphy on a piece for “families and young people” that weaves elements of myth into a contemporary urban setting.

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Electric Messiah IV

Soundstreams’ Electric Messiah is back for a fourth outing, again under the musical direction of Adam Scime.  The formula is basically the same as previous years.

  • Take excerpts from Handel’s Messiah
  • Add some new music
  • Arrange for small chamber ensemble, electronics and turntables (Sarah Svendsen, analog and electric harpsichord; Joel Schwartz, electric guitar; Jeff McLeod, electric organl; SlowPitchSound, turntablist)
  • Take a quartet of singers from different vocal traditions (Jonathan MacArthur, Katherine Hill, Aviva Chernick and Alex Samaras)
  • Throw in a dancer (Lybido)
  • Have some of the text sung in a language relevant to the singer (Gaelic, Hebrew, Swedish this time)
  • Stage it at Drake Underground

This year in addition there was some interpolated music not directly derived from Messiah; to whit, a gospel piece for Samaras called “Personal Jesus” and a harpsichord solo.

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Latvian Radio Choir

The Latvian Radio Choir tend to show up once a year as part of Soundstreams’ concert series.  Last night was the first time I have managed to go.  It was at Metropolitan United Church and I was up in the balcony.  It’s an awesome view and the sound is great but it’s hot!  I guess that’s where they put the sinners.

Soundstreams_LatvianRadioChoir_ClaireHarvie2018_1

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Trending turkeywards

turkeySo one thing can be guaranteed in December; lots of Messiah.  This year I have four on the radar.  There’s the TSO of course.  This year Johannes Debus conducts with soloists Claire de Sévigné, Allyson McHardy, Andrew Haji and Tyler Duncan.  One might almost have expected the COC Chorus but actually it’s the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in the loft.  That one runs December 18th, 19th, 21st and 22nd at 8pm and the 23rd at 3pm.  Roy Thomson Hall of course.  Over at Tafelmusik, it’s Ivars Taurins with Sherezade Panthaki, Krisztina Szabó, Charles Daniels and Drew Santini plus, of course, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir.  That’s on December 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st at Koerner Hall at 7.30pm. The Sing-a-Long version is at Roy Thomson Hall at 2pm on the 22nd.  There’s also a workshop on the 8th at 2pm at Eglinton St. George’s United Church.

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