7 years ago

Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015

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  • November
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
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  • Performing
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"Come" seems to be the verb that knits this month's issue together. Sondra Radvanovsky comes to Koerner, William Norris comes to Tafel as their new GM, opera comes to Canadian Stage; and (a long time coming!) Jane Bunnett's musicianship and mentorship are honoured with the Premier's award for excellence; plus David Jaeger's ongoing series on the golden years of CBC Radio Two, Andrew Timar on hybridity, a bumper crop of record reviews and much much more. Come on in!

“Yes there will,”

“Yes there will,” she says. “About what I am doing next year. And the year after that … And the year after that. And the year after that. I will be coming back every year now.” “That’s good news!” I say. “Yes. Alexander Neef and I had a meeting and we decided that this is my home, this is where I live and I love, and I want to sing here every year. And it’s a conscious decision that we made, so it’s a good place for me to try out new repertoire as well … Sondra Selfie! “Well, that was true of your Aida and it was also true of the Devereux, so it’s a good town for that.” “I think so. And not just a good town, but an amazing opera house: the hall is spectacular, the acoustics are great, everybody top to bottom is wonderful – the orchestra, the productions that they get. I’m really, really happy to be singing here.” “Right now, as you can hear, I’ve been talking and singing a lot this last week. It takes a toll on you and you have to really be very regimented in what we do. And some days you live like a nun and you don’t go out and see your friends, because, well, it’s our job. But I signed up for it, and all of this – doing interviews – nowadays is all part of it. Hosting – I’m going to be hosting the Live from the Met, the Manon Lescaut which I love to do, it’s really a lot of fun; you get to put another hat on but it’s a lot of talking, a lot of energy for a whole day. So that’s why we come home and refresh and reboot the whole computer system and stay in our pyjamas and let the phone ring …” David Perlman can be reached at CONVERSATIONS AT THE WHOLENOTE William Norris Comes to Tafelmusik The WholeNote had a chance recently to chat with William Norris who has arrived in Toronto as the new managing director of Tafelmusik. (Norris replaces Tricia Baldwin, who has moved on to take the helm at the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston. But that will have to be a story for another day.) Norris comes to Tafelmusik following a ten-year sojourn with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, in London, England, or OAE as he refers to it. OAE has a 30-year history, the past 20 as orchestrain-residence at London’s Southbank Centre. He dropped by our offices to chat with publisher David Perlman. The WholeNote: We won’t start by asking you for sweeping statements about everying you’ve learned about Toronto already! Tell us about Orchestra of the Age of Enlightment and your connection to it. That way our readers who know Tafelmusik can draw some parallels. Norris: OAE has been at Southbank for two decades, Southbank being the equivalent of, say, the Lincoln Center in New York. OAE plays in two halls there, one 900-seater, one almost 3,000 seats, and has been resident there for at least 20 years. And before that? OAE will celebrate their official 30th birthday in June 2016. It was set up by musicians themselves, I suppose as a rebellion against a time when the period bands were led by one conductor (like John Eliot Gardiner or Roger Norrington). The musicians decided they wanted to run their own show and decide who they wanted to be conducted by rather than be dictated to. So the fact of OAE being period instruments and run by musicians was, in 1986, quite a rebellious thing to do to. And it evolved from there. They started out doing a concert here and a concert there, and now it’s over 100 events a year. In a wide range of venues? Yes, actually; though their home base is in London, most events happen outside of London, lots of touring in Europe – in the U.K. and further afield – also resident orchestra at Glyndebourne Opera Festival and frequent appearances at King’s Place in London which is a new venue, more of a chamber-size venue. Three thousand seats is an enormous obligation, tough to fill especially if you are pushing the adventurous end of things. Yes, so obviously the larger programs go there. The OAE’s repertoire extends more into the romantic era than, say, Tafelmusik’s does – this season includes music by Mahler and Bruckner, for example. So for OAE, the Age of Enlightenment didn’t end in 1789, then? No. For us (for them, I should say, now) Age of Enlightenment is more of an ethos than a strict era. Looking at the name, I misread it first as “Orchestra For The Age of Enlightenment,” so as though it was intended to have a dual intent, in terms of how attitudes to this music are going to have to shift if it is to survive. Is there that kind of dual intent in the name? I guess it’s about embodying enlightenment values, about adventure, seeking out new things, exploring different ways of doing things, so the values of the era, not just the music of the era. So values like the coffee houses, the penny university, the salon taking music into milieus not controlled by “the aristocracy,” that kind of thing ... Absolutely yes. That’s definitely the kind of thing the orchestra has been exploring in recent years, taking the music to pubs for example, and venues not usually associated with classical music. I read about one OAE program called The Night Shift that you were particularly involved in. You were at OAE for, what, five years? Ten and a half, actually. A big slice of my time, and of their time. We set The Night Shift up in 2006 – a very experimental thing at the time. 10 | Nov 1 - Dec 7, 2015

Black CMYK Pantone A stunning 21st-century operatic take on August Strindberg’s Miss Julie JULIE COMPOSED BY PHILIPPE BOESMANS DIRECTED BY MATTHEW JOCELYN MUSIC DIRECTION BY LESLIE DALA North American Premiere November 17–29, 2015 A Canadian Stage production presented in association with Soundstreams with support from the Théâtre d’Orléans (France). PRODUCTION SPONSOR: Photo: Carolina Bruck-Santos and Alexander Knop in Julie. Photo by: Gérard Bezard/La République du Centre. NEW DIRECTIONS IN MUSIC Nov 1 - Dec 7, 2015 | 11

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