New(ish) content you might want to check out:
- AtG’s Youtube channel has a really interesting interview with Peter Sellars and a very nice film presentation of Celia Livingston’s Penelope (after Homer’s Odyssey)
- Toronto Operetta Theatre is also on Youtube now with excerpts from various shows from the last few years. technical quAlity is very good.
And coming up, this year’s Mysterious Barricades event in support of World Suicide Prevention Week is on September 10th. It’s virtual this year, of course, but needed now more than ever. Details on their Facebook page
Toronto Operetta Theatre’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore opened last night. Director Guillermo Silva-Marin has chosen to translate the piece to a cruise ship in the 1920s which has its incongruities but they aren’t particularly disturbing (except perhaps for Sir Joseph Porter’s shoes!). In fact what we get is basically a crisp, well paced and idiomatic Pinafore which is what I want in G&S. It’s also genuinely funny, though some jokes age better than others, and occasionally even quite moving.
Not noticed by me when posting a week or so ago….
Toronto Operetta Theatre are doing that infernal nonsense Pinafore. It’s at the St. Lawrence Centre on March 4th, 6th and 7th at 8pm and 8th at 2.30pm. It’s a nice looking cast includingb Ryan Downey, Bradley Christensen and Holly Chaplin. Derek Bates conducts.
On the 27th the Exultate Chamber Singers are doing Brahms’ German Requiem in the four hands piano version. Pianists are Mira Jung and Elaine Choi while the soloists are baritone, Parker Clements, and soprano, Julia Frodyma, It’s at the rather lovely St. Thomas’ Anglican Church on Huron Street at 8pm.
My review of Johann Strauss’ The Gypsy Baron performed by Toronto Operetta Company is up on the Opera Canada website.
Meghan Lindsay as Saffi in Toronto Operetta Theatre’s The Gypsy Baron. Photo: Gary Beechey
So what do the first couple of weeks of 2020 hold. First up Toronto Operetta Theatre their traditional Mew Year run. his year it’s Johann Strauss’ The Gypsy Baron and there are five shows between December 28th and January 5th. The cast includes Michael Barrett, Meghan Lindsey and Beste Kalender. It plays at the St. Lawrence Centre.
If you can even contemplate the thought of another late night drinking Against the Grain’s Opera Pub is on at 9pm on January 2nd at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club. The following night tenor Zach Rioux has a free recital of mostly Italian rep in Mazzoleni Hall at 7.30pm (ETA CANCELLED).
September 28th is shaping up as a bit daft from a scheduling point of view. I’ll be at the opening of Turandot at the COC but there are at least two other options. Confluence have a celebration of Clara Schumann at St. Thomas’ Church on Huron Street at 8pm. It features pianists Angela Park and Christopher Bagan, soprano Patricia O’Callaghan, actor Alison Beckwith, and violinist Ellie Sievers. The same day at 4pm Toronto Operetta Theatre have their season opener; Viva la Zarzuela. It’s at the St. Lawrence Centre and features tenor Rómulo Delgado. I guess one could just about do that and one of the evening shows.
… plus a late March addition…
March 29th and 30th Tapestry are doing the Songbook thing again. This is the show where an established singer; Jacqueline Woodley this time, works with emerging artists and a pianist (Andrea Grant) plus director Michael Mori to create a show based on Tapestry’s back catalogue. There are three shows at the Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery; Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 4pm and again at 8pm.
Ivor Novello’s Perchance to Dream opened in London in April 1945. It’s fluffy, romantic and nostalgic. It has a ridiculous plot, some great tunes (A Woman’s Heart, We’ll Gather Lilacs etc) and lots of eye candy. It’s probably exactly what people needed after nearly six years of an exceptionally weary, dreary war. It ran for a thousand performances. Approached in the right frame of mind it’s still a very enjoyable, escapist way of spending a couple of hours.
Usually things slow down a bit at the end of February but not, it seems, this year. First a notice for this month. Sara Schabas and Daniel Norman present a recital of music by Bernstein, Mozart, Schubert, Alma & Gustav Mahler & more. It’s at the Church of the Redeemer on Bloor at 7.30 pm on February 27th. Tickets here. The first weekend of the month is busy with a “semi-staged” Le comte Ory at Trinity St. Paul’s on Saturday March 2nd at 7.30pm. The production is by François racine and the cast includes Asitha Tennekoon, Marjorie Maltais and Caitlin Wood. On Sunday at 3pm Toronto Operetta Thaetre are presenting Ivor Novello’s Perchance to Dream. That’s at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Also on Friday night and Sunday afternoon Opera York are doing Don Giovanni. The Donnas are Natalya Gennadi and Beste Kalender. That’s at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Arts.
Toronto Operetta Theatre opened a run of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus at the St. Lawrence Centre last night. It’s a will crafted production; basically traditional as to costumes and sets and with a generous amount of more topical jokes added to the dialogue (both dialogue and musical numbers are performed in English). The one thing about it that is a bit different and much to be praised is that the jailer Frosch, played by director Bill Silva-Marin, is actually funny and sings pretty well for a guy who doesn’t sing a lot anymore. The schtick is that he is obsessed with singing and insists on singing lessons from Alfred (or here Alfredo) when he appears in the jail in place of Eisenstein. The singing lessons are kind of a parody with plenty of jokes about vocal production and a fair bit of physical humour. All this is actually set up from the beginning by making Alfred a rather larger role than usual with a fair amount of interpolated snatches of Verdi and Puccini. It may not sound that radical but it does liven up the third act which all too often can be pretty dull and anti-climactic.