All the Schoenberg

calfThere was a sort of mini Schoenberg Fest at the TIFF Lightbox yesterday.  First up we got Topher Mokrzewski and Adanya Dunn with Claude Vivier’s Hymnen an die Nacht and five pieces from Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.  The Vivier was a very apt choice; a piece of CanCon in the spirit of the Schoenberg.  Topher may not like Schoenberg but he certain;y knows how to play it and Adanya, in my opinion, is at her considerable best in music of this type.  Good start.

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Coming up

Here’s a round up of upcoming performances of interest over the next week or so.  Sunday at 3.15pm TIFF are showing Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s films Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s “Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene” and Moses and Aaron.  The films will be preceded by a live performance of a Schoenberg piece by Adanya Dunn and Topher Mokrzewski.  More details here.


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gaslight_1Later this month there is an Ingrid Bergman retrospective at TIFF Cinematheque to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her birth.  There is one (vaguely) opera related film in the offering; Gaslight, a 1944 thriller directed by George Cukor about the niece of a murdered opera singer, Alice Alquist.  The girl aspires to an operatic career too and we do see Bergman practicing an aria from Lucia di Lammermoor.  However the main plot turns on the Bergman character (Paula) marrying and returning to her aunt’s house in London where she is subjected to attempts by her husband to drive her mad to get possession of the house where he hopes to find the jewels he murdered Paula’s aunt for in the first place.  The denouement is precipitated by a young Scotland Yard operative who, as a small boy, was given a glove worn by Alice as Juliette and signed by Gounod. Continue reading

Beating the blahs

GroundhogThere’s 20cm of snow on the ground and more forecast.  The groundhog consensus is a long winter.  So, here are a few upcoming concerts and other events that may help get you through the rest of the winter.

On February 17th mezzo Janina Baechle, violist Keith Hamm and pianist Rachel Andrist are performing works by Mahler, Brahms and Leoffler in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at noon.  Also in the RBA at noon on the 19th there is the annual concert featuring artists from the Ensemble Studio and Montreal’s YAP the Atelier lyrique.  And on the 24th, but at 5.30pm Barbara Hannigan and others are presenting works by Chausson and Schoenberg.  All these concerts are free.

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Maria Callas is Medea

callasPasolini’s Medea, which I saw at the very comfortable TIFF Bell Lightbox on Thursday evening, is a striking and unusual film.  Visually, throughout, it is painterly in an almost surrealistic way.  Locations and costumes combine to provide a weird and disturbing visual language which is never less than beautiful even when the most violent and brutal acts are being portrayed.  The visuals were helped by the really good job that had been done on restoring the original print.

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