You may have been following this saga. Basically, Artscape had a twenty year lease on a lot of space in the Distillery District which they leased out various arts organisations and studio artists, including Tapestry Opera and Nightwood Theatre; who jointly occupied the Ernest Balmer Studio and adjacent space wherein I attended many, many performances, rehearsals, workshops and so on. It’s what made the Distillery District more than a bunch of tourist tat and over-priced restaurants. But the lease ran out and the landlord declined to renew. Tourist tat is more lucrative than art and the Distillery District’s owners have always struggled with the idea of any purpose other than maximising profits.
March 3rd and 5th, Opera York are presenting Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. Details are here. Also on the 5th at 1pm Opera Revue are playing a new venue; The Aviary in the Canary District. (They are playing another new venue, Granite Brewery, on the 12th. Opera Revue your source for craft beer!) And the following night at 7.30pm it’s AtG’s Opera Pub at the Drake at 7.30pm.
From the 9th to the 12th it’s UoT Opera’s spring offering at the MacMillan Theatre. This year it’s Arthur (not George) Benjamin’s A Tale of Two Cities. Benjamin is probably the only opera composer to be shot down by Hermann Göring. I’m not sure what, if anything, that says about his music.
Closing out November there’s Opera Revue at Castro’s this afternoon at 3pm and a couple of concerts on Wednesday. At lunchtime Wirth Prize winner Elisabeth Saint-Gelais and collaborative pianist Louise Pelletier present an intriguing looking programme in the RBA then at 7.30pm at Mazzoleni Hall the RCM’s Rebanks fellows are performing. Both are free but the Mazzoleni concert is ticketed and may be sold out.
Tapestry Briefs: Les shorts qui chantent opened last night at the Alliance Française. It’s a twist on the traditional Tapestry Briefs show. This time it’s bilingual with the twelve sketches emanating from a bilingual LibLab held in Toronto in conjunction with Opéra de Montréal and Musique Trois Femmes. The short scenes are directed by Tim Albery and make really interesting use of video projections in the very Intimate theatre at the AF.
October 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.”
October 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.
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.
It’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:
There’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.
Two 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.