Into October

220px-dreigroschenoperThings are still a bit slow on the Toronto opera front.  That said, today Soup Can Theatre are doing a concert version of The threepenny Opera at the Monarch Tavern.  Three actors; Christine Jeffries, Sarah Thorpe and Scott Garland, will sing all the roles.  There are three performances at 4pm, 6.30pm and 9pm.  Tickets are $13.  More details at

Then Thursday night sees the opening of the COC’s season with Sondra Radvanovsky in Bellini’s Norma.  There are eight performances.  By some weird scheduling quirk there is a nine day gap before the second on the 15th.  That’s also the night I have media tickets for so there won’t be a review until after then.  Sondra is singing the first four shows with Elza van den Heever coming in for the second half of the run.  Word is that it’s an inoffensively bland production but we’ll see.

Getting even cosier?

topherjoelA bunch of announcements today; most of them from Against the Grain Theatre.  The big one I suppose is the announcement of a formal arrangement with the COC which sees a two year “company in residence” arrangement whereby AtG will be based at the COC’s Front Street offices and where COC execs will mentor their AtG equivalents.  The relationship has been going on for a while so it’s not terribly surprising that they have decided to shack up together.

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Hell is oneself

No Exit 2Last night I attended Soup Can Theatre’s double bill of Barber’s A Hand of Bridge followed by Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit; an English translation by Stuart Gilbert, of his 1944 play Huis Clos.  The latter is a piece I’ve seen before and read in both English and French and I would never have imagined it could be presented as it was last night.  It’s a play about three people who find themselves in a room in Hell together.  They will be there for eternity, an eternal triangle I suppose, for they have been especially selected to get on each others’ nerves by continually reminding each character of that aspect of their former lives that they find least admirable.  I have always seen it as an incredibly bleak play as befits one that premiered in Paris in the last months of the German occupation.  I would never have imagined it as a comedy; albeit a dark one, but that’s what director Sarah Thorpe gave us.  Continue reading

Upcoming shows

bridgeThree shows that might be worth a look are coming up in the GTA.  Essential Opera are doing a show called Two Weddings and a Funeral which pairs Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Donizetti’s Il campanello.  It’s at Heliconian Hall on March 15th at 7.30pm.  It will be semi-staged with piano accompaniment.  Soup Can Theatre are also presenting a double bill of Barber’s A Hand of Bridge and Sartre’s No Exit (in English translation).  The former will be accompanied by a 14 piece band and the latter, no doubt, by wailing and gnashing of teeth.  The show runs March 28th to 30th at the Tapestry Opera Studio in the Distillery district.  Finally, Opera Hamilton are presenting Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles at the Dofasco Theatre in Hamilton.  This is a fully staged show with full orchestra and features Virginia Hatfield and Brett Polegato.  There are four shows from March 9th to 16th.  At time of writing no sopranos had been injured by falling scenery.