The line up for next season’s Songmasters series in Mazzoleni Hall has been announced.
November 22nd 2020 sees baritone Elliot Madore and pianist Rachel Andrist in a program called Troubled Times with music by Adams, Britten, Higdon and Musto. It really is about time Mississauga boy Elliot was heard in Toronto. he must have sung just about everywhere else by now!
If you missed the livestream of Tapestry Songbook X it’s on again tonight. And it appears there is going to be a virtual party. Here’s what’s up…. (according to Tapestry):
Two weeks ago, we livestreamed Songbook X, a concert featuring Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano, and Chris Foley, collaborative pianist. This reimagined concert united us in community at a time when we needed it most. We heard from folks who had a candle-light dinner as they watched and others who recognized friends in the livechat who they hadn’t heard from in a while. Join us for the show and get social! Invite a friend, plan your snacks and drinks, and join us for a night of beautiful piano and vocal music.
To attend, click here and select ‘Get Reminder’ – the streaming party will start on Facebook this Saturday at 8PM EST/5PM PST.
Be well, and see you online!
Concert Programme – Songbook X Livestream
7:00pm – Chill your refreshments
7:15pm – Break out the snacks
7:30pm – Home system sound check (make sure your speakers work!)
7:45pm – Start your video chat party
7:50pm – Pour libations
7:55pm – Pre-show toast with Artistic Director Michael Mori…everybody raise your glasses!
8:00pm – Concert time!
If you want to know what to expect you could always read my review.
Tongue in Cheek’s latest show, Democracy in Action, took place at the Lula Lounge last night. The concept was pretty straightforward. There were eight (almost) singers and a pianist. Each singer offered up five numbers ranging from opera through art song to musical theatre and pop. Advanced on-line polling had selected one song per singer. Polling of the audience in the house produced the other two. The in house polling was supported by really rather well done videos in which the “composers” tried to persuade the audience to vote for their stuff.
George Benjamin’s latest opera Lessons in Love and Violence debuted at Covent Garden last year. It was broadcast on the BBC and is still available on the web from Arte and has also been released on DVD and Blu-ray. This review is based on the Blu-ray version.
Sirènes is an album of pieces by Montreal composer Ana Sokolović. The first pice, which gives the album its title, is written for six unaccompanied female voices. It’s performed here by the vocal ensemble of Queen of Puddings Music Theatre conducted by Dáirine Ní Mheadhra. The six ladies in question are Danika Lorèn, Shannon Mercer, Magali Simard-Galdès, Caitlin Wood, Andrea Ludwig, and Krisztina Szabó. It’s an interesting piece and very Sokolović. The text is bent and twisted into sound fragments which are “sung” using an array of extended vocal techniques. The overall effect is of a shimmering, fluttery and quite absorbing sound world.
This year’s featured composer in UoT’s New Music Festival is Toshio Hosokawa. Last night saw performances of two of his one act operas in Walter Hall in productions by filmmaker Paramita Nath, with the composer in the hall. The first was a monodrama setting of Poe’s The Raven featuring Kristina Szabó and a student ensemble conducted by Gregory Oh. It’s an interesting piece. Hosokawa’s sound world combines the European avant-garde with Japanese elements so it’s unlike anything I’ve heard from a North American composer. It’s dramatic and atmospheric and works really well with fevered nature of Poe’s text. He also writes well for the voice with a variety of demands from whispering, through speech to full on singing. All of this coped with admirably by Szabó who, as ever, seemed perfectly at home with whatever the composer threw at her.
Yesterday the lemur and I ventured out to Roy Thomson Hall for Tafelmusik’s Singalong Messiah. I did this with some trepidation. There were reasons for this. First, I’m not a great sight reader; I sorta, kinda get by but I’m much more comfortable in the middle of a group of better singers that I can key off. But there’s the rub, I’m a tenor. I did this gig before in 2003 and there were like a million sopranos and seven tenors. See first point. It ain’t happening.(*). Finally, I had been fighting a cold/cough all week and feared that my voice would be better suited to Aristophanes than Handel. Fools tread boldly etc.
How to present a mostly forgotten composer to a modern audience is an interesting conundrum. Reviving a four hour opera seria about Marcus Aurelius likely isn’t the answer and just sticking a few pieces in an otherwise mainstream program is unlikely to have much impact either. Better by far, I think, is the approach Ivars Taurins has taken in Tafelmusik’s current run of concerts of music by the Venetian Agostino Steffani (1654-1728) at Trinity St.Paul’s.