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Volume 20 Issue 3 - November 2014

  • Text
  • November
  • Toronto
  • December
  • Jazz
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Musical
  • Bloor
  • Orchestra
  • Choir

international and local

international and local talent, some embedded in the global Islamiccommunity, but also some only peripherally engaged with it.The series launches November 1 with the show “Memory andPresence of Rumi: Mystic Music of Iran.” Presented by an internationalgroup consisting of a quartet of Persian musicians and adancer, it is co-led by the prominent kamancheh (bowed spiked lute)player and composer Saeed Farajpouri and the Vancouver tar (pluckedlong-necked lute) master Amir Koushkani. Siavash Kaveh on theframe drum daf, Araz Nayeb Pashayee on the goblet drum tombakand Farzad AJ dancing the whirling Sama round out the ensemble.The concert’s theme is the poetry of Rumi, the great 13th centurySufi mystic. His works and ethos still resonate today across centuriesand cultures.November 8, the focus shifts to a local quartet of singers, but onewith an international gaze – Nazar-i Turkwaz (My Turquoise Gaze) –a relatively new collective comprising Brenna MacCrimmon, MaryemTollar, Sophia Grigoriadis and Jayne Brown. For over 30 years theyhave individually been collecting and performing traditional repertoirefrom various regions on or inland from the Mediterranean, ingroups such as Maza Meze, Mraya, Doula and Altin Yildiz Orkestra,counting several JUNO nominations along the way. In a Facebook chatwith MacCrimmon, in Turkey at the time, she confirmed that “therepertoire is a potpourri of Balkan, Greek, Turkish, [Middle Eastern]and beyond ... with lots of harmony [in our singing].” I don’t want towait for the album, but plan to enjoy the sweet harmonies live.The established local group Autorickshaw mount the AKM auditoriumstage on November 15. This award-winning genre-bendinggroup is no stranger to these pages. I gave the group’s terrific newalbum The Humours of Autorickshaw a resoundingly enthusiasticreview on July 8, 2014 in The WholeNote. The lineup this nightconsists of vocalist Suba Sankaran, Dylan Bell (bass/keyboards), BenRiley (drums), John Gzowski (guitar) and Ed Hanley (tabla). This is thelast chance for Toronto audiences to catch Autorickshaw before theirtrio configuration heads off to India and Nepal on an unprecedentedtwo-month subcontinent-wide tour of ten cities.Skipping to November 27 and 28, Toronto audiences get anotherchance to hear one of today’s stars of world music, DakhaBrakha.They are presented with the support of Small World Music. Foundedon solid taproots of Ukrainian village songs (and dress), these Kyivbasedperformers add musical instruments and vocabularies of othercultures. Moreover they present their songs with the use of popularmusic microphone techniques, powerfully sung melodies and a theatricalperformance art sensibility. It all makes for a striking show, theenergy and attitude of which resonates with even those for whomtheir lyrics are a mystery.Another performer with a growing international reputation isthe Pakistani Sanam Marvi, emerging as an outstanding singer ofghazal, Pakistani folk songs and Sufi music. She gives two concertson November 29 and 30. Marvi, a student of her father, Fakir GhulamRasool, devoted years of study to Sufi poetry and today is recognizedas one of the leading singers in that tradition to emerge fromthe Sindh. Whether singing in Urdu, Sindhi or Saraiki, her aim is to“reach across generations and cultures” with her songs.December 5 and 6 the Aga Khan Museum presents its first multimediaperformance, the world premiere of “Siavash: Stories from theShah-Nameh.” Written and directed by composer and award-winningsound designer Shahrokh Yadegari, this “page-to-stage” work exploresthe trials of Prince Siavash as depicted in the Persian epic Shah-Nameh (Book of Kings) through storytelling, music and projectedimages. Numerous manuscripts of this popular poem written by thePersian poet Ferdowsi between 977 and 1010, and illustrated overcenturies, are on permanent rotational display at the museum. Thecast of Siavash features Gordafarid as the naqal (narrator), SiamakShajarian (vocalist) and Keyavash Nourai (violin, cello, kamancheh).This world premiere music theatre work neatly aims to bringcenturies-old manuscripts alive on stage.Andrew Timar is a Toronto musician and music writer. Hecan be contacted at worldmusic@thewholenote.com.Beat by Beat | Art of SongTwo Sopranos:Adi Braun andAprile MilloHANS DE GROOTAdi Braun was borninto a distinguishedmusical family. Herfather was the great baritoneVictor Braun, who diedin 2001 (and who almostcertainly crossed pathswith this column’s secondsubject, Aprile Millo, at theMet, in the years followingMillo’s debut there in 1985).Not many of Victor Braun’srecordings are at presentavailable but I would recommendthe Solti recording ofWagner’s Tannhäuser, inwhich he sings Wolfram andis easily the finest singer inthe cast. Adi Braun’s motheris Eraine Schwing-Braun, amezzo-soprano who in recentAdi Braunyears has taught at the RoyalConservatory and has alsoacted as German language coach for the Canadian Opera Company.The elder of Adi Braun’s brothers is the now-famous baritone RussellBraun, who is currently appearing as Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff andwhom we shall be able to see as Don Giovanni in the spring (both forthe COC). The younger of her brothers, Torsten, is the lead singer inthe alt-rock band Defective by Design.Braun’s training was classical and she appeared in productions bythe COC and by Opera Atelier. Some years ago, however, she decidedto concentrate on singing jazz since she felt that she was able to bringout the essence of the music in ways she could not do in opera or inthe art song. This change of field also marked a change from AdreanaBraun, the opera singer, to Adi Braun, the jazz vocalist. She performsjazz regularly and now has four CDs to her credit. Her concert onDecember 6 at the Royal Conservatory of Music is best described as“cabarazz,” a blend of jazz and cabaret. It features the songs of KurtWeill with pianist Dave Restivo, bassist Pat Collins and drummerDaniel Barnes. Braun gave an earlier version of this recital last seasonat one of the Richard Bradshaw Auditorium recitals at the FourSeasons Centre. I was at that show and I very much look forward tohearing her again on December 6, a performance which will includesome additional songs as well as readings from the correspondencebetween Weill and his wife, the singer Lotte Lenya.Braun also maintains a busy teaching schedule through her studioas well as through the RCM. She was formerly a conductor and accompanistwith the Canadian Children’s Opera Company and still coachesthere. She has succeeded her mother as the German language coachfor the COC. This month she is also giving a three-lecture series on thehistory of cabaret at the RCM November 12, 19 and 26, 6:30 to 8pm.Aprile Millo. There is a rare opportunity to hear the soprano AprileMillo on November 15 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. The collaborativepianist will be Linda Ippolito; guest artists are Mary-Lou Vetere,soprano, Giacomo Folinazzo, tenor, Gustavo Ahauli, baritone andMerynda Adams, harp. The recital will include works by Donaudy,20 | November 1 - December 7, 2014 thewholenote.com

Strauss, Wolf, Verdi, Bellini, Donizetti, Boito and Puccini.Millo began singing professionally in the late 1970s but her bigbreak came in 1982, when she replaced the indisposed Mirella Freniin the role of Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani. Since then she has becomeespecially famous as an interpreter of Verdi, in I Lombardi allaprima crociata, La battaglia di Legnano, Luisa Miller, Il trovatore,Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Don Carlo, Aida,Simone Boccanegra and Otello. Recordings of many of these operasin which she sings the soprano part are still available on CD as is arecital of Verdi arias (EMI). She has also performed in operas by othercomposers, notably Puccini’s Tosca, Boito’s Mefistofele, Ponchielli’sLa Gioconda, Rossini’s Guillaume Tell as well as the rarely performedverismo opera Zazà by Leoncavallo (you can hear an excerpt of herperformance in this work on YouTube).Critics have often seen Millo as one of the few singers still activewho can be placed in a tradition which goes back to Maria Callas andZinka Milanov, Renata Tebaldi and Magda Olivero. On the other hand,Millo does not see herself as the embodiment of a lost art and she hasrecently written about her admiration for Anna Netrebko’s singing inVerdi’s Macbeth. Millo is now 56, an age at which many singers thinkof retirement, but she will have none of that. On her blog she pointsout that the great Kirsten Flagstad did not find her true voice until shewas 39. She herself feels that as a singer she is in the prime of her lifeand is only now emerging as a true spinto. “Fine wine gets better withtime. It was and is supposed to be that way with voice too.”Millo is also strongly interested in the future of opera. The recitalon November 15 will be preceded by a concert in which Millo willpresent young Canadian singers from the Vetere Studio November 13,also at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. This studio is directed by Mary-LouVetere, a soprano and a musicologist with a special interest in Italianopera of the late 19th century, who also plays piano and accordionprofessionally.Other Events: The mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogerswill give two masterclasses (opera on November 3; art song onNovember 4) as well asa concert with studentsingers November 5.All in Walter Hall, theevents are open to thepublic and are freeof charge.OnNovember 7 Opera ByRequest presents thesoprano Tsu-Ching Yuwill sing works by ClaraSchumann, Chaminade,Eric Whitacre,Tchaikovsky and othersThe Art of TimeEnsemble presentsAprile Millosongs and the poemswhich inspired them (Petrarch/Liszt, T. S. Eliot/Lloyd Webber,Whitman/Crumb, Cohen and others). The reader is Margaret Atwoodand the singers are Thom Allison, Gregory Hoskins and CarlaHuhtanen at Harbourfront, November 7 and 8.On November 8 Kira Braun, soprano, will sing works by Schubert,Rachmaninoff and Ravel at Calvin Presbyterian Church. Also onNovember 8 the baritones Serhiy Danko and Alex Tyssiak will singwith the Vesnivka Choir and the Toronto Ukrainian Male ChamberChoir at Runnymede United Church.Recitals at Rosedale begins its new season with “A Walk on theDark Side: Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales.” The works are by Mahler,Debussy, Szymanowski, Weill, Gershwin and others. The singers areLeslie Ann Bradley, soprano, Allyson McHardy, mezzo, and GeoffSirett, baritone at Rosedale Presbyterian Church, November 9.Kirsten Fielding, soprano, Scott Belluz, countertenor,Rob Kinar, tenor, and David Roth, baritone, will be the“When I first heard Peyroux I couldn’t help thinking of Billie Holiday,Ella Fitzgerald and Edith Piaf. I was impressed that a contemporarysinger was confident enough to venture into such lofty territory.”(The New York Times)“I never know what I’m going to hear at an Art of Time concert,but I always come away feeling invigorated, challenged, surprisedand delighted. Exactly what I want in a night out.”(Laurie Brown, CBC)MadeleinePeyrouxwithFrom busking in Paris streets to toppingthe jazz charts globally, Madeleine Peyrouxperforms unique new arrangements of handpickedsongs by her favourite artists such asPaul Simon, Tom Waits and Hank Williams.ST. CATHARINESDecember 10Arts.BrockU.ca1-866-617-3257BURLINGTONDecember 13BurlingtonPAC.ca905-681-6000thewholenote.com November 1 - December 7, 2014 | 21

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