I went back to see the COC’s Louis Riel again on Friday evening. Unlike opening night I wasn’t all keyed up to see whether Peter Hinton’s production “worked”. I knew it did. I think, too, perhaps the cast were less nervy and had settled into the show. In any event it allowed me to see the show in some different ways though I suspect that to fully unpack it would take a couple more viewings. It’s more than a crying shame that there will be no video recording, unlike 1969. In fact it’s a damning indictment of successive Canadian governments and the CBC.
What follows isn’t intended as an exhaustive analysis or review. Rather it’s a few thoughts that have been percolating.
So here is the promised review of last night at the Four Seasons Centre. I have to phrase it that way because it was more than Somers’ opera Louis Riel though that of course was the major event. The evening kicked off with a performance in the RBA by the Git Hayetsk Dance Group. This is a west coast group and I’m not going to try and get into the complexities of nation, lineage and clan involved but it was a moving performance of traditional songs and dance with a brilliantly witty piece involving the trickster raven and a lot of stolen handbags. This was also the beginning of the public conversation about the use of the Nsga’a mourning song in Louis Riel. That conversation continued when the same group made a brief appearance on the main stage immediately before the opera performance. I understand that the intent is for the leader of the dancers to report back to the matriarch of the clan that owns the song on what happened and for the conversation to continue from there.
Last night we saw the last performance of the current COC run of La Traviata, this time with the alternate cast. Joyce El-Khoury, Andrew Haji and James Westman came in for Ekaterina Siurina, Charles Castronovo and Quinn Kelsey. We were also sitting in Ring 3 rather than lower down which gave a rather different perspective; perhaps not showing off the clever lighting for the intimate scenes quite as well but much more effective, by giving greater depth, for the party scenes.
There are a couple of biggies coming up next week. On October 7th and 8th the amazingly talented and apparently fearless Barbara Hannigan is singing with and conducting the TSO. For all I know she’ll be tap dancing and doing hand stands as well. It’s her conducting debut with this orchestra. The programme features works by Nono, Haydn, Mozart, Ligeti and Stravinsky. 8pm Roy Thomson Hall.