The annus horribilis of 2021 seems to be going out with a whimper rather than a bang; at least musically in Toronto. Much of the streamed content on offer consists of repeats which is, I suppose, a holiday tradition. In this category we could include Against the Grain’s Messiah:Complex showing on Youtube and at TIFF and Essential Opera’s December. There’s still some new stuff appearing. Opera Revue have a rather good short piece about the exorbitant cost of aviaries in Toronto on Youtube. (They also have a live show coming up this weekend at the Emmett Ray. The COC have a show I(n Winter coming up this weekend on the COC web site featuring music by, among others, Vivaldi and Ian Cusson. There are also a couple of very short concerts from the RBA on the COC’s Youtube channel. Also, this year the annual Krehm memorial concert in aid of St. Mike’s ICU is on Youtube at 5.30pm on Boxing Day. Rachel Krehm is singing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen in the Schoenberg arrangement and that will be followed by a chamber reduction of Beethovens Symphony No.7. Evan Mitchell conducts the Canzona Chamber Players. For live, Tafelmusik have a sort of Christmas “greatest hits” concert and the TSO have a much shortened Messiah. Apart from that the holiday season is looking like booze and booster shots.
Opera Atelier’s new film Angel premiered last night. It consists of six scenes which, we are told, can be performed as a sequence or individually. There’s a basic theme of “angels” and the texts are drawn from Milton and Rilke (in translation). The score is by Edwin Huizinga and Christopher Bagan with some of the dance music being actual baroque works.
Opera Atelier’s webstream of Handel’s The Resurrection premiered on Thursday evening and will be available until this coming Thursday. It’s ticketed and you can buy an access code from the RCM box office. It’s the first Opera Atelier show conceived for webstreaming as opposed to filming a stage performance. The action was filmed in St. Lawrence Hall and the music was recorded at Koerner.
There a couple more on-line events coming up.
- Tafelmusik have a moderated panel discussion on the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of choral singing. That’s on March 18th at 7pm. It’s a ticketed event ($5). Tickets are available from tafelmusik.org
- Toronto Operetta Theatre is doing Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. It will be available from March 19th at 7pm until April 5th. This one is also ticketed ($20) plus there are dinner delivery packages available for March 19th and 20th. Full cast and other details at http://torontooperetta.com/shows.html
Opera Atelier’s fall show Something Rich and Strange was originally conceived as a show that could be given before a (limited) live audience as well as via web stream. That’s obviously constraining compared to a show that is created without a fourth wall and can include location filming. All the other constraints of these strange times had also to be observed. Despite this there was much to like in a show that presented a number of scenes from the 17th and 18th century repertoire plus a couple of “neo-baroque” pieces composed by Edwin Huizinga.
Tafelmusik are starting a series of on-line concerts on May 27th. They are ticketed, Pay-What-You-Like with a starting price of $5. Details on the whole series can be found here.
The Guggenheim Museum’ Works & Process Artists (WPA) Virtual Commissions will present the world premiere of Click Clock – Tick Tock by Dick Hyman on June 1st at 7.30pm. It’s described as “a surreal meditation on time during quarantine, with intricate paper cuts and ecstatic musical performances” and features well known countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. It’s free and will play on the WPA Youtube channel.
Yesterday I received seven assorted emails about cancellations in Toronto plus news from the Metropolitan Opera. Essentially all the major orchestras and music theatre organisations in Toronto are shuttered until at least the end of the month. Events are also being called off elsewhere so check your location situation. Here’s a quick run down:
- The Four Seasons Centre is closed until the end of the first week of April. So, the ballet is off, as is the free concert series. The COC is still planning to run its spring season but we’ll see.
- Tafelmusik and the TSO have cancelled performances until the end of the month.
- After tomorrow the UoT and the Conservatory are cancelling public events until the end of the month.
- Tapestry Songbook on March 21st is sort of cancelled. There will be no live audience but the show will be live streamed at 8pm and the performers are being paid. Go Tapestry!
- Amici Chamber Ensemble’s show on the 29th is off.
- The Metropolitan Opera is closed so no Live in HD but they are doing free nightly web casts of the HD back catalogue. Details here.
More news when I have any…. Stay safe!
The 5th Annual Toronto Bach Festival will take place from May 29th to 31st. All the details are at www.TorontoBachFestival.org. The big event is a performance of the B minor Mass on the 31st at 4pm at Eastminster United Church on the Danforth. The line up of soloists is quite impressive; Hélène Brunet, Ellen McAteer, Daniel Taylor, Charles Daniels and Joel Allison. They will be joined by a small choir and period instrument ensemble. John Butt conducts. In addition there’s a line up of recitals, concerts and lectures.
December is not just Messiah though heaven knows there are plenty of those…
On Sunday 1st Voicebox is presenting Janáček’s Katya Kabanova. It has a strong cast including Lynn Isnar, Emilia Boteva, Michael Barrett and Cian Horrobin. We don’t see nearly enough Janáček in Toronto. That’s at 2.30pm at the St. Lawrence Centre.
Against the Grain’s remount of Figaro’s Wedding runs December 3rd to the 20th at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse at 8pm. Music direction this time is by Rachael Kerr and the cast includes Bruno Roy, Miriam Khalil, Ally Smither, Phillip Addis, Lauren Eberwein, Jacques Arsenault, Maria Soulis and Greg Finney. Review of the 2013 original.
Opera Atelier’s current production of Mozart’s Idomeneo is frustrating, especially given their recent run of good form. It, unfortunately, combines a fussy, rather pointless production with histrionic antics and uneven singing. It’s just not good enough.