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Volume 23 Issue 5 - February 2018

  • Text
  • Toronto
  • February
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Performing
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Symphony
  • Orchestra
  • Quartet

BENJAMIN EALOVEGA Thomas

BENJAMIN EALOVEGA Thomas Hobbs understated, his oratorios and operas crafting a path for the development of an entire genre of dramatic expression. Handel was an international artist himself, German by birth but writing enormously successful works in English such as Messiah, and Italian operas including Giulio Caesare. This month (February 22 to 25), Tafelmusik’s orchestra and chorus unite to perform Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, or The Power of Music with soprano soloist Amanda Forsythe, tenor Thomas Hobbs and baritone Alexander Dobson. In addition to his concert appearances, Hobbs will host a masterclass on February 24 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, where he will work with advanced students and professional musicians on Baroque vocal repertoire as part of Tafelmusik’s Guest Artist Masterclass Series. Masterclasses are fine opportunities for the public to see how much care, attention and preparation it takes to put together even the smallest amount of musical material at a professional level, a rarely seen peek behind the curtain. St. Matthew: The works of Johann Sebastian Bach are, perhaps, the pinnacle of an individual’s internal musical synthesis, the product of an encyclopedic knowledge of musical styles coupled with a tremendous intellect and prodigious propensity for high-quality compositional output. One of Bach’s most immense, profound, and legendary masterpieces is his St. Matthew Passion, which will be performed by Chorus Niagara and the Talisker Players on March 3 in St. Catharines. If we look beyond the staggering creativity displayed within this work, it is, furthermore, incredible to think that Bach wrote such a staggering piece to be played within the context of a church service, surrounded by all the additional elements of Lutheran liturgical ritual (including a proper Protestant sermon)! QUICK PICKS: Choir and Organ Music from Canada and Beyond While on the topic of church music, there are two concerts taking place this month that focus on music written by legendary church musicians, one highlighting works by Healey Willan, the “Dean of Canadian Composers,” the other the inimitable organ music of J.S. Bach: On February 16 at 8pm, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene hosts “Willan 50,” a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Willan’s death. With the combined forces of St. Thomas’s Anglican Church, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and organists Matthew Larkin, Simon Walker and Andrew Adair, Matthew Larkin in recital on the Casavant organ in St. Matthias Anglican Church, Ottawa this is bound to be a heartfelt, musical and moving tribute to one of Canada’s most renowned and influential compositional characters who considered himself “English by birth; Canadian by adoption; Irish by extraction; Scotch by absorption.” Two days later, on February 18 at 4:30pm, fans of Bach’s organ music will be treated to an appearance by British organist David Briggs at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in Belleville. Briggs, former artist-in-residence at St. James Cathedral in Toronto and a renowned performer and improviser, will play Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in G BWV541, Pièce d’orgue BWV572, Passacaglia BWV582 and more, as well as an improvisation. If you missed the chance to hear Briggs in concert as part of the “Splendours of Notre Dame” concert at St. James Cathedral last month, take advantage of this opportunity; he is a delightfully skillful player! As always, I encourage you to explore the full range of listings in this issue of The WholeNote – in addition to these few highlights, there are a great many fine concerts and events taking place in our city this month! Your feedback is always welcome, either in person or, if you prefer to spend the month of February in solitary hibernation, emerging only when the trees are budding, send me a note at earlymusic@thewholenote.com. Matthew Whitfield is a Toronto-based harpsichordist and organist. JUDITH VAN BERKOM THE PEASANT CANTATA by Johann Sebastian Bach ALL THE DIAMONDS Songs and Poems Inspired by the Night Sky Bach’s raucous cantata followed by a mid-winter cabaret to warm the soul. Starring Patricia O’Callaghan and Giles Tomkins and a stellar band of singers and players. an Ontario government agency un organisme du gouvernement de l’Ontario 8, 9 & 10 February 2018 Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 106 Trinity Street Tickets from torontomasquetheatre.com or call 416-410-4561 28 | February 2018 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | Art of Song Tapping Into the Forbidden Donna-Michelle St. Bernard LYDIA PEROVIĆ You don’t often find yourself discussing the concepts of evil and ethical conduct ten minutes into the phone conversation with somebody you’ve never met before, but that’s exactly what happened during my phone interview with the playwright and hip-hop artist Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. I rang her at the agreed time to ask about her latest project, the libretto for the opera Forbidden, and while phone interviews usually take time gearing up, she was immediately deeply engaging and generous. A Tapestry Opera production that runs February 8 to 11, Forbidden is created out of scenes of interdiction, loosely held together by the character of a girl who is visited by Lucifer. As a hip-hop emcee, St. Bernard brings the song into the mix, and how! How did Forbidden come together? Director Michael Mori and composer Afarin Mansouri started the project, and Michael invited me in and we just hit it off. It was a very collaborative process. We generated about 40 story ideas – the piece now has a number of vignettes that are stitched together – and we started out by asking what is forbidden and what interests us about the forbidden. We went with stories that both of us found most intriguing. And then talked them out. Afarin was able to describe to me scenes that she actually experienced that absolutely captivated my imagination. And I would take that back to the text and mix it with my own experience and then go back to her. I won’t ask you what the libretto is “about,” as that’s always the hardest question, but still – what is the libretto going to be like? We looked at questions around the management of women’s bodies, around religious restrictions, around political oppression. In the stories that we’ve chosen, the thread was rules and restrictions imposed by authority figures. I’m really interested in the conflict between the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. I come from a Catholic upbringing and I’d get into these arguments as a child when I was trying to understand: Why don’t we bring that homeless person to our home, mom? Well that’s not what you do, was her reply. OK, but here in the Bible… Yeah, but that’s not realistic, she’d say. What does realistic have to do with it, you told me this is absolute truth! And as an adult I am exactly that unreasonable. If you have something that someone needs, you give it to them. I don’t understand why churches lock their doors and are gilded in gold when they can feed people instead. So when you accept what you’ve been taught from a moral authority, and that moral authority seems to be inconsistent with what they’ve imposed on you, you have to question the teaching, you question the teacher and you have to re-orient your understanding of how the world works. That’s the territory that we’re living in. Why are things forbidden, who has the authority to forbid things, and what moral ground are they standing on – and am I following them as a matter of choice or is this somehow imposed on me? And that kind of thread runs through all of the stories in the opera. Do all religions share a fear of the female body and the will to control it? There are people who are drawn to leadership in those faiths who misuse the intentions of the spiritual teachings in that way. There are very few faiths with female spiritual leadership. In most faiths of which I have any experience, formal religious training happens from a male authority in a formal institution, while personal individual spiritual training happens in a home from a maternal authority. We found that to be an interesting dichotomy; institutional leadership in any faith tends to be male, but then the ongoing management of that faith tradition tends to be female-led. We are being taught to selfmanage and to impose on each other rules that are not our rules; you are handed the rules and then handed a stick to keep other women in line with. Donna-Michelle St. Bernard in the Theatre Passe Muraille production of The Sound of the Beast, 2017 THE ECSTASY OF RITA JOE Should women not abandon all existing religious traditions, then? Why try to reform and salvage something that proscribes you? I am very interested in Christian faiths that have women ministers. I attended a wedding once that had a woman minister officiating and I was really confused. And I have from then till now retained great disappointment in myself for how confused I was by that. Women who are fighting for leadership within THE OPERA by Victor Davies Not Forgotten by Maxine Noel VOICE B OX OPERA IN CONCERT Guillermo Silva-Marin General Director operainconcert.com 416-366-7723 | 1-800-708-6754 | www.stlc.com World Premiere Now the musical version of a transcendental Indigenous story. Robert Cooper C.M., Conductor Marion Newman Evan Korbut* Michelle Lafferty Rose-Ellen Nichols Michael Robert-Broder Everett Morrison March 24 & 25 2018 *Awarded the Stuart Hamilton Memorial Fund for Emerging Artists MATTHEW COOPER thewholenote.com February 2018 | 29

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

Volume 24 Issue 8 - May 2019
Volume 24 Issue 7 - April 2019
Volume 24 Issue 6 - March 2019
Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019
Volume 24 Issue 4 - December 2018 / January 2019
Volume 24 Issue 3 - November 2018
Volume 24 Issue 2 - October 2018
Volume 24 Issue 1 - September 2018
Volume 23 Issue 9 - June / July / August 2018
Volume 23 Issue 8 - May 2018
Volume 23 Issue 7 - April 2018
Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018
Volume 23 Issue 4 - December 2017 / January 2018
Volume 23 Issue 3 - November 2017
Volume 23 Issue 2 - October 2017
Volume 23 Issue 1 - September 2017
Volume 22 Issue 9 - Summer 2017
Volume 22 Issue 8 - May 2017
Volume 22 Issue 7 - April 2017
Volume 22 Issue 6 - March 2017
Volume 22 Issue 5 - February 2017
Volume 22 Issue 4 - December 2016/January 2017
Volume 22 Issue 2 - October 2016
Volume 22 Issue 1 - September 2016
Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016
Volume 21 Issue 8 - May 2016
Volume 21 Issue 6 - March 2016
Volume 21 Issue 5 - February 2016
Volume 21 Issue 4 - December 2015/January 2016
Volume 21 Issue 3 - November 2015
Volume 21 Issue 2 - October 2015
Volume 21 Issue 1 - September 2015

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