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More shows to enjoy…

  • hr_BengalTigerWebBannerOctober 11th to November 6th at Crow’s Theatre it’s Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.  “During the chaos of the 2003 American occupation of Iraq the lives of two American marines intersect with an Iraqi gardener as they search through the rubble of war for friendship, redemption, and a toilet seat made of gold.”
  • Jarrousky1October 26th at 8pm at Koerner Hall Philippe Jaroussky is appearing with Ensemble Artaserse.  It’s a rare chance to hear somewhat controversial countertemor Jaroussky sing with orchestra in an ideal venue.  The concert includes works by a range of baroque composers.  Some of the material is relatively familiar; “Cara sposa” from Rinaldo for example, but much is by less well known composers such as Hasse and Ferrandini.  Artaserse Ensemble is a leading period instrument band that, besides Jaroussky, has appeared with such singers as Cecilia Bartoli and Andreas Scholl.
  • October 27th – 30th at Alliance Française it’s Tapestry’s Tapestry Briefs: Les Shorts qui chantent.  This will showcase scenes created at the very first bi-lingual LibLab.  Direction is by Tim Albery.
  • October 26th to November 12th at Hart House Theatre, Howland Company and Hart House Theatre have a modern adaptation by Paolo Santalucia of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
  • November 3rd at 5.30pm it’s Centre Stage at the Four Season’s Centre, live for the first time in a while.  It’s the usual format; cocktails and snacks, a competition for aspiring voices and, for the well heeled, an on-stage dinner.

If you are buying tickets look out for deals.  There’s a fair bit of discounting going on.  Some shows have clearly sold very well but others not so much.  The post pandemic bounce back looks a bit anaemic right now.

Gould’s Wall

It was March 2017 and I was interviewing composer Brian Current over lunch.  He mentioned having seen Geoff Sirett bouldering on the wall of the Royal Conservatory atrium and how he had an idea for a site specific opera based on the life of Glenn Gould.  Eventually this became Gould’s Wall with a libretto by Liza Balkan.  Announced and rescheduled more than once due to COVID it premiered last night under the auspices of Tapestry Opera and the conservatory’s 21C series.

*Lauren Pearl and Roger Honeywell _ Gould_s Wall _ Tapestry Opera _ Photo by Dahlia Katz(3)

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Getting into RUR

rurIt’s not much of a secret that I’m a bit fanatical about new opera.  This year Tapestry has two really exciting looking premieres in Toronto.  Later in the year there’s Brian Current’s Gould’s Wall which, as an ex climber, I just have to see but first, in fact coming up next month, is RUR: A Torrent of Light by Nicholas Billon and Nicole Lizée.  It’s about robots and it’s a collaboration with OCAD U who are developing some way cool technology for the show.  There’s now loads of really good preview material about the show on Tapestry’s Youtube channel.  So I have two suggestions to make:

  • Watch the Youtube videos
  • Buy a ticket for the show before it sells out

Balance of April and into May

rurThere’s a fair number of shows appearing at fairly short notice as people scramble to adapt to relaxing regulations so this post will contain events for April not previously noted plus a look forward to May.

  • April 26th at 7.30 pm Likht Ensemble have a free Holocaust Remembrance Day concert at Mazzoleni Hall.
  • April 28th at 8pm at St. Andrews on King St. Soundstreams are reprising the Vivier Lovesongs concert that was done as a stream last fall.
  • April 29th at 7.30pm at 918 Bathurst The Happenstancers have a concert featuring music by Julia Wolfe, Nahre Sol, Kaija Saariaho, Gyorgy Kurtag, Oliver Knussen, and WA Mozart.

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Good news, bad news

LT-New-Team-LargeTwo interesting and very different news items about the Toronto arts world appeared yesterday.  The first is essentially good news.  Loose Tea Music Theatre announced the hiring of a General Manager (Tim Crouch), a Director of Marketing (Rochelle Smith) and a Director of Development (Francesco Corsaro).  This is a pretty big move for what has been, for as long as I can remember, pretty much a one woman band.  Loose Tea is pretty much the only company in town that’s focussed on politically committed music theatre so this could presage some interesting developments.  More on this here.

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SOS Sketch Opera Singers 3

The third SOS – Sketch Opera Singers from Tapestry Opera is now up on Youtube.  It’s quite similar to the previous episodes with inspired lunacy from KrossØver (Teiya Kasahara, Keith Klassen, Krisztina Szabó, Korin Thomas-Smith and a snail but definitely not Simone McIntosh).  I think it’s a bit darker and a bit weirder than earlier episodes, even a bit surreal in places.  The sketch where people are helped through break-ups by soft toys singing well known arias comes to mind.  Still, it’s half an hour of (mostly) harmless fun.  Definitely worth a watch.

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In which I review a live concert

Little did I suspect on March 12th 2020, as I attended UoT Opera’s Mansfield Park, that I would not review another live concert until July 14th 2021 but that’s how the COVID crumbled.  Today I made it to one of Tapestry’s Box Concerts at CAMH on Queen Street.  It was much more fun than my last visit which was for a meeting on infection control in the basement of the dreary old building, now demolished.

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Back to the Future

Do you remember back when real live musicians used to perform for a real live audience?  Well some mad dudes are trying to revive it.  Tapestry Opera have some shows in conjunction with Canadian Stage coming up in High Park.  July 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th you can catch the show “Box Concerts” that Tapestry have been taking around health care facilities and offering for private booking.  It’s PWYC.  Booking is via Canadian Stage.  Also on the 17th at 3pm there’s an extended program including excerpts from Rocking Horse Winner where Asitha Tennekoon will be joined by Midori Marsh and Lucia Cesaroni.  That’s $50 booked at the same page.

Asitha Tennekoon performing in Tapestry Opera's Box Concerts. Photo by Dahlia Katz (1)

Photo credit: Dahlia Katz

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SOS: Sketch Opera Singers 2

SOS2 was at least as good as the first instalment.  Krisztina Szabó came in as replacement for Simone McIntosh who is back on the west coast and showed that she’s at least as crazy as anyone else involved in this show (even Keith Klassen and that’s saying something).  Highlights include Korin Thomas-Smith auditioning for Papageno and being asked to sing everything from Sarastro to the Queen of the Night, Krisztina as a manic photographer, the previously mentioned ABBA-nera, Teiya Kasahara breathing COVID on Keith Klassen and lots more rather dark virus humour.  All sorts of people chipped in with cameos and/or music, Michael Mori and Keith Klassen directed with Jennifer Tung and Juliane Gallant providing music direction.  Technical quality is excellent and it’s free.  It’s only 30 minutes long so there’s no excuse for not watching.  It’s available here.

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