Music Theatre Holiday Fare Runs the Gamut From Panto to VR At this time of year, if I said I was going to tell you about a show that has to do with exploring a person's identity by looking at their past, ·present and future, you'd probably guess I was describing a production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, or the musical that's based on it, Scrooge; · Although there are in fact several musical Dickens shows in town over the next few weeks, the production I'm actually describing is New Music Concerts' -infoweaver. Created by Kristi Allik and Robert Mulder, it's a tribute to and an exploration of the artists' Euro-Canadian heritage, partly inspired .by their recollections and souvenirs of their own grandparents. It explores the way in which each individual human being is unique in experience and memory, although linked to others by shared elements. Beginning and ending with a tolling bell, the show is divided into three parts -- the past (a percussive composition); the present (musical and visual images of ·the Canadian landscape) and future (a collage of urban, virtual and natural images). What makes it particularly unusual is that the two · artists - called "interactors" or "infoweavers" - perform and manipulate the sounds and images working with a computer network, video,· slide projection and electroacoustic music. If you're intrigued by the "" concept of QuickTime Virtual Reality, you'll want to head over to tl;ie Robert Gill Theatre between December 7 and 10 to see for yourself what a pair of artists can do with some of the latest in . digital technology . . By Sarah B. Hood OPERATIC INTERLUDES the Canadian Opera On a more traditional note, qompany presents the these first two months of the Santa Fe Opera production of winter offer lots oflush operas · Hans-Werner Henze's Venus and operettas to keep our and Adonis in repertory with hearts, at least, warm the' Lyric Opera ofChithroughout the season. cago production of Puccini's First, Opera The Girl of the Golden West, Mississauga presents Bizet's , also known as La Fanciulla Carmen on various dates del West. The first of these is between December 2 and 9. the Canadian premiere of a Then the wonderful Laura German work that was first Whelan heads a cast of performed in Munich in accomplished singers in 1997. The second is, of Opera In Concert's presen- course, the 1910 opera based tation of Rossini's La Gazza on David Belasco's play of the Ladra (The Thieving M~gpie), same name. (Belasco also ·which Tintin fans like me will wrote the book upon which remember as the opera that Puccini based Madama · helps the Belgian boy detec- Butterfly.) It's an odd tive solve the mystery of the m:ixture of a rough-anq-ready missing Castafiore Emerald. It California Gold Rush setting runs for one afternoon only with early 20th-century on Sunday, December 3, Italian opera music. Elena preceded by a background Filipova sings the role of discussion by Iain .Scott. Golden Girl Minnie, owner of The always-depend- the Polka Saloon, and John able Toronto Operetta Fanning plays Sheriff Jack Theatre offers The Merry Rance. Widow right through the holidays, from December 22 to January 6. (Music Thea- . tre Mississauga also presents the Franz Lehar favourite on December 1 and 2.) This frivolous and charming show would make a nice introduction for someone who hasn't had much exposure to the oper(ett)a form; almost everyone has heard the show's most famous song; which has "all the world in love with love". For a really special treat, the New Year's Eve performance is a special gala including a pre-performance reception and "Parisian Buffet Dinner" before the show. Afterwards the members of the company join the audience for a Champagne Dance Party to welcome in the year 2001. What could be more fun? STAGE TO PAGE Opera fans (or those who are thinking of giving a present to one) will be delighted to hear about a new book called Opera Viva: Canadian Opera Company - The First Fifty Years, by Ezra Schabas and Carl Morey. It's a glossy 300-page hardcover full of colour photos, based on research and interviews with figures like Brian Dickie, Judith Forst, Nicholas Goldschmidt, Lotfi Mansouri, Ermanno Mauro and Jan Rubes. If you're the type of person who enjoys the opera quiz section on the Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts, you'll hardly be able to stop poring over the Appendices, which offer a full production history of the .COC, with dates, cast members, conductors and designers. Opera Viva is ,published by Dundurn Press (.99) The authors In January the heavy hitters step up to the plate as 24 Wholenote DECEMBER 1, 2000- JANUARY 31, 2001 will talk about the history of the COC on December 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert Gill ' Theatre at 214 College Street. On the subject of excellent new publications, Dance Collection has just released the staggering compilation known as the Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada. The work of many scholars and journalists over a very long period indeed, it's a solid and attractive paperback with some 300 entries on important Canadian dance figures, historical and contemporary. Black-and~white photos illustrate two-thirds of the entries. Because it's a not-forprofit endeavor, it's priced at · only .95 ( in hardcover). It's available at TheatreBooks, 11 St. Thomas Street, or through email@example.com. SECOND STAR FROM THE LEFT Finally, I can't resist mentioning one of my own seasonal favourites, the annual Christmas pantomime from. Ross Petty Productions. Stuffed full of jokes as corny as the floor of a movie theatre, the shows are always glittery, gaudy and lot of fun, with a guaranteed happy ending. This time it's Peter Pan, in a new version written by Judy and David Gershon. Sheila McCarthy, well known from her roles in Emily of New Moon and I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, plays the high-flying little boy who won't grow up~ while Ross Petty promises to chew scenery as the dastardly Captain Hook. As an added treat, the beloved "Mr. Dressup", Ernie Coombs, returns to the group again. I'll be there, whether I can borrow a child or not.
Hit the web. Join the future with Linda Maguire @ www.lindcimaguire.com Saturday morning opera chats at l Oam-11 am. Lessons, coachings, consultations E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org Also, don't miss... - www.OperaHouse2000.co'!!. --=------""IL"-= Canada's foremost Violin Specialists 201 Church Street Toronto, On. MSB 1Y7 email GHCL@idirect.com www.georgeheinl.com lain Scott's Opera Courses in s~pport of the Opera School at the University of Toronto This year's Winter Course - by popular requesi Richard Wagner's Top Ten starts Tuesday, 76 January 2007 .. ten Tuesdays·- 7.00 to 9.30 pm .. 100 mtrs from Museum subway station · .. Huge video screen - comfortabfe seats .. 5 per course - seniors 5 .. just ask anyone who has taken his courses ... for a Registration Form call (419) 486 8408 (and for information on Iain's TOUR OF VERDl's IJALY in May 2001 ... call 221 6411 ) DECEMBER 1, 2000- JANUARY 31, 2001 Wholenote 25