I’ve just received news of programming into the fall and beyond from Tapestry, Toronto City Opera and Loose Tea Music Theatre.
Tapestry have announced three livestream concerts to be shown on their Youtube channel.
- October 24th 8pm: jazz pianist Robi Botos will be improvising on Tapestry’s amazing Bösendorfer Imperial Grand in live collaboration with an Art Battle Toronto artist, creating something new and unique.
- November 7th: The first episode of S.O.S. Sketch Opera Singers. It’s a collection of short opera sketches like the LibLab with an amazing line up of composers, librettists and performers. Check out the details.
- November 28th at 8pm there’s a collaboration between husband and wife duo soprano Xin Wang and saxophonist Wallace Halladay directed by Michael Mori and featuring the music of Ana Sokolovic.
Tapestry have also introduced a free “membership program” to create added value for their audience. Details here.
The latest Tapestry/Red Truck digital short is up. It’s called Silly Distance and it features an overheated Keith Klassen, in a suit, singing to 5000 cormorants. Find it here.
Also AtG have added assorted highlights from recent Opera Pubs to their channel.
Tapestry have another in their outdoor “box concerts” series coming up Friday, August 7th at 2pm at Ehatare Retirement and Nursing Home, 40 Old Kingston Rd, Scarborough. It features tenor Asitha Tennekoon and if you are in the neighbourhood you should be able to find them. The series is aimed at community groups, retirement homes etc and if you are so inclined you can arrange for them to come visit. Details are on the Tapestry website.
The Dora winners were announced last night. I don’t think there were any big surprises in the opera category. The COC’s Rusalka scooped most awards with four including Outstanding Production. The other three were Outstanding Direction (David McVicar), Outstanding Musical Direction (Johannes Debus) and Outstanding Achievement in Design (Lighting) (David Finn). It was probably the best thing overall the COC has done in a long time so not shocked.
Yvette Nolan and Dean Burry won the Outstanding New Opera category for Shanawdithit. I’m delighted about this one as I had rather more personal emotional investment in this project than most things I see and it was an important project in so many ways. Marnie Breckenridge received the Dora for Outstanding Performance by an Individual for her performance in Jacqueline. Also well deserved and a wee but surprising as there was every reason to give this one to Sondra Radvanovsky and usually that kind of name recognition wins out. In any event two big wins for Tapestry (and a nod to Opera on the Avalon for being a smaller regional company prepared to invest in something relevant).
Finally, Soundstreams presentation of Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit won Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble. In this case Nicole Joy-Fraser, Karen
Weigold, Vania Chan, Deantha Edmunds, Jennifer Taverner, Rebecca Cuddy, Bó Bárdos, Michelle Lafferty, Jonathan MacArthur, Mitchell Pady, Evan Korbut, Bryan Martin and Neil Aronof. This was another fascinating show that deserved some recognition.
So, yes, the eight hundred pound gorilla came out on top but hardly by a knock out.
The Dora award nominations are in. The most interesting thing is that the COC doesn’t dominate the Opera category this year. In fact Tapestry has most nominations with thirteen. In general, it was really nice to see new “committed” opera dominating the list rather than the usual stuff. Indigenous themes did very well too which is very pleasing. Loads of nominations for Shanawdithit, including Best Performer in a Leading Role for Marion Newman, which pleases me greatly. Good to see FAWN’s Pandora and Soundstreams’ Two Odysseys: Pimooteewin / Gállábártnit featuring along with LooseTea’s Singing Only Softly/The Diary of Anne Frank: Operas from the Secret Annex. There was one surprise in the list of COC nominations. I’m actually quite shocked that Speranza Scappucci didn’t get nominated for her conducting of Barber of Seville; a really remarkable performance. And one non-surprise; multiple nominations for Rusalka which might just be the best thing the COC have done in quite a while.
So now we can all speculate on who the eventual winners will be.
Those clever folks at Tapestry have just announced a “cancellation proof” 2020/21 season. Basically it’s set up so that shows can be given for a live audience or as a webstream or some hybrid solution as circumstances evolve.
Soundstreams have announced their 2020/21 season and hopefully we will get to see some of it! As ever there’s loads of good stuff starting with Steve Reich being in Toronto for his 85th birthday in April 2021. Other stuff that gets me excited includes:
- Huang Ruo’s The Book of Mountain and Seas as part of 21C at Koerner in January 2021. This features the vocal ensemble Ars Nova Copenhagen and puppets!
- Chan Ka Nin’s A Dragon’s Tale. It’s a co-pro with Tapestry and promises a waterfront extravaganza of western and eastern musical traditions. That’s coming in June next year.
- May 2021 sees a line up of Toronto’s finest performing works by Claude Vivier plus a new commission from Christopher Mayo. That’s going to be in the very intimate Temerty Theatre at the RCM
Plus Electric Messiah, Encounters and more. Full details here.
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.
My review of Tapestry Songbook X is now up on the Opera Canada website.
Krisztina Szabó and Chris Foley in Tapestry Opera’s Songbook X livestream. Photo: Dahlia Katz
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!