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Volume 24 Issue 5 - February 2019

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Performing
  • Orchestra
  • Symphony
  • Composer
In this issue: A prize that brings lustre to its laureates (and a laureate who brings lustre to the prize); Edwin Huizinga on the journey of Opera Atelier's "The Angel Speaks" from Versailles to the ROM; Danny Driver on playing piano in the moment; Remembering Neil Crory (a different kind of genius)' Year of the Boar, Indigeneity and Opera; all this and more in Volume 24 #5. Online in flip through, HERE and on the stands commencing Thursday Jan 31.

Gesualdo in Holy Week

Gesualdo in Holy Week Carlo Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories set the sombre pre-Lenten tone for a concert of works by this infamous homicidal composer, along with works by his 16th century contemporaries. Saturday, March 2, 7:30 pm St. Patrick’s Church 141 McCaul St. Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House time is presumed to have been heavily influenced by the music of the Moors. By the early 16th century, the polyphonic vocal style that developed in Spain was closely related to that of the Franco-Flemish composers. Composers from the North of Europe visited Spain, and native Spaniards travelled within the Holy Roman Empire, which extended to the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. Tomás Luis de Victoria, for example, spent a significant portion of his career in Rome, developing a technique that was said to have reached a level of polyphonic perfection and expressive intensity equal, or even superior, to Palestrina and Lassus. By blending Sephardic, Arabic and Spanish musics, the Toronto Chamber Choir’s Convivencia will provide an artistic reflection of the real-world exchanges that took place between the world’s three great monotheistic religions in a country whose history is punctuated by fascinating and wide-reaching influences. Featuring Lucas Harris as conductor and lutenist, as well as guest singers, guitars, oud, ney Director Peter Mahon Tickets: , Seniors: , Students with ID: (only at the door) Info: 416 286-9798 Order online: boxoffice.tallischoir.com and percussion, this concert is ideal for those who wish to broaden their knowledge of classical music and get a bigpicture look at what influenced the music we hear and perform today. Tales of Two Cities While on the topic of big-picture performances, Tafelmusik will remount their successful multimedia production “Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House” from February 21 to 24. Conceived, scripted and programmed by Alison Mackay, this musical exploration of the links between 18th-century Saxony and Syria became one of the most talked-about projects in Tafelmusik’s history when it was first seen in 2016. Celebrating the rich musical traditions of East and West, and the renewed dialogue between those traditions in contemporary, multicultural Toronto, Tales blurs musical boundaries and alters our perspectives on musical history. In terms of artistry, this concert brings an all-star roster to the Koerner Hall stage, featuring the Tafelmusik orchestra led by Elisa Citterio and Opera Atelier’s Marshall Pynkoski as stage director. The Tafelmusik team will be joined on stage by Maryem Tollar, vocalist and co-narrator, Alon Nashman, co-narrator, Naghmeh Farahmand, percussion, and Demetri Petsalakis, oud. In case you missed it in 2016, the musical selections are stellar, and include canonic works by Bach, Handel, Telemann and more, as well as traditional Arabic song and klezmer fiddle music. If last year’s Safe Haven was your first exposure to Mackay’s multimedia prowess, don’t miss this opportunity to see Tales which is sure to impress, both through the superb skill of the performers and the surprising, captivating connections drawn between the “then” of centuries ago and our very present “now.” While this month’s concerts might be slightly more outside the box than usual with regards to programming and presentation, the opportunity for cross-cultural exploration is one that shouldn’t be missed. At a time of xenophobic mania, and as the drawing of lines between “us and them” becomes increasingly aggressive, these performances provide an essential and contextual reminder that “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Have questions about these or any other early music concerts in this month’s WholeNote? Get in touch at earlymusic@thewholenote.com. EARLY MUSIC QUICKPICKS !! FEB 3, 2PM: Rezonance Baroque Ensemble. “Italian Celebration.” St. Barnabas Anglican Church, 361 Danforth Ave. Old and new come together as folk music and compositions by Neapolitan Baroque composers are performed alongside works by Toronto composer Romina di Gasbarro. !! FEB 15, 8PM: St. Basil’s Church, University of St. Michael’s College. “Litanies de la Vièrge.” St. Basil’s Church, 50 St. Joseph St. Glorious music from the pinnacle of the French Baroque, with choir and organ music by Charpentier, de Grigny and Couperin. !! FEB 16, 7:30PM: St. George’s Cathedral. “Te Deum Laudamus.” St. George’s Cathedral, 270 King St. E, Kingston. A survey of music from England and anthems from the 17th to 20th centuries, including Handel’s Te Deum in D and Stanford’s stunning Te Deum in B-flat. an Ontario government agency un organisme du gouvernement de l’Ontario Matthew Whitfield is a Toronto-based harpsichordist and organist. 30 | December 2018 / January 2019 thewholenote.com

Beat by Beat | On Opera Hook Up’s Uncharted Waters CHRISTOPHER HOILE Michael Mori, artistic director of Tapestry Opera has said that his goal for the company is to present one new Canadian opera per year. This year Tapestry is presenting two. The first is Hook Up with music by Chris Thornborrow to a libretto by Julie Tepperman running January 29 to February 9. The second is Shanawdithit with music by Dean Burry to a libretto by Yvette Nolan running May 16 to 25. Since Hook Up will be playing through almost a third of February, I spoke with its creators about how the project came to be and what it concerns. Tepperman points out that when Hook Up officially opens on January 30, it will mark five and a half years that she and Thornborrow have been working on it. Thornborrow and Tepperman met at Tapestry’s renowned LibLab (Composer-Librettist Laboratory) that brings eight composers and eight playwrights together to create ten-minute operas. These sometimes become the seeds of fulllength works. That is exactly what happened when Tepperman and Thornborrow met. As Thornborrow says, “The seed scene was about online bullying and slut-shaming at the time we were looking to tell a story that involves young people and women and a topic that was in the news quite a lot.” Tepperman says that “At LibLab we bonded over our both having worked with youth in schools and communities. Young women on both sides of Canada had recently committed suicide due to online bullying because of a sexual assault becoming public. Initially we were thinking of maybe a grade 7, 8, 9 audience and Tapestry was looking for an opera to tour schools. The seed scene was mostly filled with humour with the potential to go darker, which is where we eventually went with it.” The final result is very serious in intent. Tepperman explains: “This is an opera that explores sexual assault and consent in the context of rape culture in a university setting, and though we are focusing on a university setting we realize today that these issues are widespread throughout society far beyond the university campus.” “The opera follows three young people who enter university and have the chance to explore their sexuality but for them these are uncharted waters, and they are not prepared for the pressures of partying, drinking and having sex, or for the consequences.” I ask whether there is a paradox here: a hook-up culture on campus where students have sex with no strings attached; and a culture of consent and shaming where sex turns out to have all kinds of strings attached. Both replied. “Within the context of our story we explore this in different ways,” Thornborrow says. “Two of the young people are already in a monogamous relationship, but being in university away from the guardianship of their parents they are free to have sex whenever they want – except that the woman begins to question whether that is all there is. She wonders if they are just turning into their parents. The problem comes with the pressure to drink and how that affects a person’s moral compass and the ability to make informed decisions. So we are questioning hook-up culture and the pressures on teens at university campuses.” Tepperman continues: “At the same time we’ve been very careful that this opera does not become simply a lesson or a brochure; we intentionally end in a place where there are more questions than answers. Hopefully that will spur further conversation. So from the very beginning Tapestry has been interested in engaging professionals who deal with these issues and will be present for talkbacks after performances. This is not about victims and perpetrators but whether ANNOUNCEMENT THE GLENN GOULD SCHOOL HAS APPOINTED INTERNATIONALLY CELEBRATED CANADIAN SOPRANO ADRIANNE PIECZONKA AS ITS INAUGURAL VOCAL CHAIR AND HEAD OF THE VOCAL DEPARTMENT. Ms. Pieczonka is the first Vocal Chair in the school’s history. She will take on this role in May 2019 as she continues her thriving career as a performing artist. Among her many responsibilities, Ms. Pieczonka will oversee the casting of the school’s annual operas and vocal showcase and will supervise the selection of conductors and directors for all department productions. She will also conduct monthly master classes and select all other vocal master class artists. ggs.rcmusic.ca Emily Lukasik as Mindy in Hook Up any piece of art can contribute to a larger conversation.” Why choose opera as the medium to tell this story? I ask. Thornborrow answers: “For me as a composer it is just the impulse to tell stories through music, and I feel opera is a really powerful medium to tell stories of high stakes. At the same time the aesthetic of this opera is not according to traditional opera. We’re doing this in a small theatre; we’re using microphones; the instrumentation is a drum set and piano; and it moves at a fast clip. People sing usually at the same speed that people would speak, although there are moments that call for full voice. You’re getting dialogue at real-time speed with the explosive power of music, with a fluidity between the sung dialogue and the moments of intense emotion. I think that the music amplifies the stories and the emotions from those stories.” “Opera suits the new emotional environment that these 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds find themselves in” Tepperman adds. “And the DAHLIA KATZ thewholenote.com December 2018 / January 2019 | 31

Volumes 21-24 (2015-2018)

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

Volumes 16-20 (2010-2015)

Volumes 11-15 (2004-2010)

Volumes 6 - 10 (2000 - 2006)

Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)