3 years ago

Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020

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  • Classical
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  • Choral
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  • Performances
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  • Toronto
  • October
Following the Goldberg trail from Gould to Lang Lang; Measha Brueggergosman and Edwin Huizinga on face to face collaboration in strange times; diggings into dance as FFDN keeps live alive; "Classical unicorn?" - Luke Welch reflects on life as a Black classical pianist; Debashis Sinha's adventures in sound art; choral lessons from Skagit Valley; and the 21st annual WholeNote Blue Pages (part 1 of 3) in print and online. Here now. And, yes, still in print, with distribution starting Thursday October 1.

FEATURE Brueggergosman

FEATURE Brueggergosman and Huizinga at her home in Halifax, Nova Scotia that’s where Opera Atelier is making a case for itself as an essential service – in the service of beauty, and of excellence.” “It’s really special,” Huizinga adds, “when you find yourself working with people who can’t … what to say … basically who can’t stop. It’s as simple as that. And it’s amazing. And that’s how I feel about working with Measha too. Because we just want to create now.” “Yes,” she replies, “because people are really hurting, so we have even more imperative as artists who have the capacity to translate that pain into beauty. We have the words and music… Our challenge will be in having them trust they are not going to get sick, that the invisibility cloak of fear that coats this season is a justifiable response to the information they are getting. If people can come out of their houses to protest racism and injustice they can come out of their houses to commune with beauty without shame.” The bottom line for her? “The imperative is on artists,” she says. “We need to stop bitching. We are not legitimized by someone else, we’re essential by how we place ourselves. We place ourselves in the mix. We position ourselves in ways where we are not cancellable, when presenters tell us we are cancelled, what they are really saying is that they are cancelling themselves.” And on the conversation goes, in the middle of a wannabe hurricane at the heart of a pandemic storm. Best thing of all, most of it is focused on the 24 lines in the Rilke poem that sparked the chat: the nuances of gender in German; why Grace Andreacchi’s translation works; where knowledge and consent come into it when the story tells of a sky god who, in the form of an angel or swan, sows his seed. (And where does fault lie when, as a consequence, when cities and civilizations rise and fall.) But at the end we cycle back: “Up to this point we have been distracted by systems that are never going to be loyal to us,” Brueggergosman says. “They have to be removed in order for us to fully actualize our power, to dig deep into questions that should have been asked before. For me it’s a shifting of my loyalties, to the vision God has given me, the execution of it, the ability to make things happen, the autonomy of it – like the autonomy of sitting around talking about a poem for an hour because of the power in it. My favourite part of all this is that I get to decide what things mean for me, at a particular time. I think every year we get the opportunity to see things from a new perspective, and this is one of those times.” “See, that’s why I needed to be here,” Huizinga replies. David Perlman can be reached at A Time to FALL FOR DANCE JENNIFER PARR In these still surreal times defined by restrictions, we are all increasingly hungry for live performance. With opera and theatre still considered too dangerous or problematic to bring back quite yet,dance has begun to return, although to unusual venues. The Canadian Stage Company, for example, has opened their stage in the heart of High Park – which has stayed empty of its usual Shakespearean performances this summer – for three exciting weekends of dance performances. Week One: September 26 and 27, Solo in High Park featured some of the city’s top soloists in a variety of styles from tap to flamenco, house, and contemporary. Week Two: Dusk Dances,October 3 and 4, featuring the work of three Dusk Dances contemporary choreographers, and Week Three: Red Sky, October 9 to 11, showcasing the thrilling physical style of this Dora Award-winning Indigenous company. And while the National Ballet of Canada has had to cancel their usual fall season at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – including perennial holiday favourite The Nutcracker – they too are making more experimental appearances, at both Harbourfront Centre and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Harbourfront’s Brigantine Room will welcome physically distanced audiences to live performances of Robert Binet’s Group of Seven-inspired, The Dreamers Ever Leave You, October 9 to 17; and at AGO Live on October 22 and 23, audiences will get to take an even closer look at the creative process as they are invited into Walker Court to observe open rehearsals of a newly commissioned work by Kevin A. Ormsby. For both these companies, there will doubtless be other unusual excursions to write about in the months ahead, but right now, at Harbourfront and at several venues around the city, it’s the sixth edition of FFDN. 12 | October 2020

Svetlana Lunkina in The Dreamers Ever Leave You, National Ballet of Canada many ways there are to connect with our audiences, even though dance is primarily a visual art form, ideally experienced live.” Keeping “Live” at the core: Most FFDN events will be experienced by the majority of audiences through live streams via a new “Netflixlike website,” but Ibrahimof was insistent on keeping a live element at the heart of the festival, The popular Open Studio, for example, usually located at Union Station, is moving to Meridian Hall’s West Lounge where audiences can watch choreographers and dancers at work within aglass-walled mini-studio. The other hugely popular “I really wanted to still be able to present a show in the theatre even if it meant we produced it simply for a camera crew.” — Ilter Ibrahimof DARLENE HUYNH KAROLINA KURAS. FFDN for short: Fall for Dance North Festival was co-founded by artistic director Ilter Ibrahimof toreflect Toronto’s multiculturalism, with the aim of creating an atmosphere of shared discovery that will entice people to attend live dance performance throughout the year. Of necessity this year’s live performance element will be much smaller than it usually is, but it will still exist amidst FFDN’s 2020 exploration, in collaboration with over 100 artists and technical experts, of expanding the ways in which audiences engage with dance. “It was eye opening,” Ibrahimof told me, “to discover how Union Station-based free event, Big Social, where anyone could show up to watch and take workshops in various styles of social dance has taken a futuristic step forward – transformed into an augmentedreality experience at Harbourfront’s Natrel Pond. Spaced around the pond on social-distancing circle decals, audience members will focus a smart phone or other device on a target image in the centre of the pond to launch an almost holographic six-and-a-half-minute moving image collage of three couples dancing in tango, swing or vogue styles to a specially composed soundscape. Not the same thing as dancing Father OWEN LEE at Admired by millions around the world for his brilliant intermission commentaries in radio broadcasts for the Metropolitan Opera in New York and for many decades of knowledgeable and witty appearances on the Texaco Opera Quiz broadcasts, Father Owen Lee passed away in 2019, just shy of his 90th birthday. This memorial site, curated by Iain Scott, includes seven video interviews; a wide selection of Lee’s Met radio broadcasts; audio playlists exploring his musical and dramatic analyses and commentaries; a brief introduction to each of his 21 books; lists of his published articles and public lectures; biographies, his eulogy and several obituaries. October 2020 | 13

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