The GGS’ Rape of Lucretia

The Glenn Gould School released their spring opera performance on the new Koerner livestream platform on Thursday night.  It’s a concert performance of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia.  This is a piece I find hugely problematic but since I went into considerable detail about why in a review of an MYOpera production that I wrote exactly five years ago I won’t repeat myself.  Let’s just look at what the GGS did with it.

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Where Do I Go?

Where Do I Go? is the latest on-line offering from Tapestry Opera.  It’s an eight minute film followed by ten minutes or so of cast interviews.  The concept originates with the multi-talented Morgan Paige-Melbourne who wrote the music and words, plays piano, sings, speaks and dances on the film. She’s supported by dancer Natasha Poon-Woo and percussionist Adam Kaleta. Michael Mori directs.

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To the Distant Beloved

I’m late to the party on this one.  I had set aside time on Sunday to watch Russell Braun, Carolyn Maule and Miriam Khalil’s recital from Koerner Hall (one of the Mazzoleni Songmasters series) when first broadcast.  For whatever reason I couldn’t get it to mirror onto the big screen in a watchable way so I ended up watching it on my laptop yesterday.  So it goes.

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Coming up at the Royal Conservatory

Coming up at the Royal Conservatory….

  • March 12th at 8pm.  ARC Ensemble plays Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and English Songs.  An all Beethoven programme featuring Monica Whicher in the songs.  That’s a free livestream on the Koerner Hall performance page.
  • March 21st at 1pm.  To the Distant Beloved.  Miriam Khalil, Russell Braun and Carolyn Maule perform Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte and a world premiere piece by award-winning Iranian Canadian composer, Afarin Mansouri, commissioned by Canadian Art Song Project.  This one is $10 with tickets/codes available from the RCM box office.

Mandala

Mandala – the Beauty of Impermanence is the latest on-line offering from Confluence Concerts.  It’s curated by Suba Sankaran and should have seen the light as a live show last May.  The programme is as eclectic as one has come to expect from Confluence and lots of fun.  In the spirit of impermanence it will be available on the Confluence channel on Youtube only until February 10th.

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The Passion of Simone

I’m rather suffering from “stream fatigue” right now but once in a while something really worth watching shows up.  I’d put Royal Swedish Opera’s recent performance of Kaija Saariaho’s oratorio La passion de Simone in that category.  It’s a 2006 work with a French libretto by Amin Maalouf dealing with the life and thought of philosopher, social activist and mystic Simone Weil.

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Glenn Gould School double bill

The “postponed from the fall” double bill from the Glenn Gould School finally streamed on the Koerner Hall channel last night. The first piece was likely familiar to most viewers; Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins given in piano score in a production by Amanda Smith. The concept here is that Anna 2, rather than being a dancer, is some kind of on-line celebrity exploiting dating sites to bring her fame and fortune. The production had originally been designed for an audience and used moveable plexi-glass shields to ensure social distancing. It also made extensive use of projected conversation bubbles, emojis and other social media effects. This seems to have been ramped up in post production to add picture-in-picture effects and maybe to make the lighting; already a sort of rave inspired blend of blues and pinks with touches of rather lurid green, even more dramatic. With on screen subtitles it was arresting but maybe just a little too busy to fully process!

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SOS Sketch Opera Singers

Tapestry’s SOS Sketch Opera Singers does for the staid old world of opera what I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue did for the quiz show.  Five of Toronto’s finest artistes, in the guise of the cross-over group; Krossøver, are, in the immortal words of Humphrey Lyttleton, “given silly things to do”.

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Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror is a fifteen minute film from Essential Opera based on a score and libretto by Anna Pidgorna.  There’s a lot to unpack for a fifteen minute work!  First off, let’s be clear that this is a film and not a video of a performance or production that might have had a live audience.  It’s shot on location in Nova Scotia; on the beach, in the forest etc.  And it’s done very well with excellent editing and high quality in the audio and video recording.

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A Billy Strayhorn Celebration

Last night the first concert in Confluence’s virtual season went live.  It features the music of Billy Strayhorn curated by Andrew Downing.  Now jazz is not usually my thing but I found this concert interesting in many ways.  Strayhorn was unusual.  He was a poor African American who aspired to be a classical composer and pianist.  Realising the virtual impossibility of that in post WW2 America he took to jazz and dance band music and formed a very productive relationship with Duke Ellington.  He was also gay and that, rather courageously for the time, comes out in his music.  You can find out much more about Strayhorn in the most erudite chat between Andrew Downing and Professor Walter Vandeleur that precedes the music.

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