7 years ago

Volume 7 Issue 5 - February 2002

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  • Toronto
  • February
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Band Stand CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 9 OK, so I may have· been wrong about the number of bands decreasing. Unfortunately, I have a nagging suspicion I'll still tum out to be righ~ about the shortage of necessary musicians. The Newmarket Citizens' Band is always looking for new members. The band welcomes anyone teenaged and older who can read music and play a band instrument. 1There are no auditions or waiting · lists. Although Newmarket is the band's home base, they have members from all over York Region and surrounding areas: For more information, please .call Carol at (905) 478-2530 or visit http:// members. Long & McQuade has another great lineup of free clinics this month. They kick off on Sat Feb 2 with perennial favourite, saxophonist Paul Brodie. Paul's subject is a bit different from his usual hints for saxophonists. It's entitled "SUR­ VIVAL IN THE TRENCHES: THE COMMANDO TACTICS FOR ST A YING ALIVE IN THE ARTS TODAY". Paul is a master of the art of self-promotion - anyone who wants to make a living performing classical music would do well to attend, regardless of what instrument they play. For that matter, the publicity people for community bands would be wise to take it in. The series continues on Feb. 9 with Jerry Johnson's clinic on low brass doubling. Jerry's extensive experience ·in the jazz, orchestra, show and recording are sure to be beneficial to all players of trombones, bass trombone, euphonium and tuba. I can personally vouch for his engaging teaching style, having had him as a conductor for a semester in the Humber College concert band. Be sure to take your Gary A Toronto's Center for Clarinets and Oboes SALES * REPAIR * RENTAL 20 instrument and an open mind. Saxophonist Kenji Omae offers his unique approach to saxophone playing on Feb 16; Kenji'S fluid and facile tenor sound is quite distinct - he really has his own thing going on. Kenji has spent the past two years in New York playing and studying with Ralph Bowen / and Kenny Werner. You're invited to bring ym,lf horn and participate. These Saturday ~orkshops are held in the band depar_tment at Long & McQuade's main store on Bloor St. Start time is 2 p.m. For further info, call 416-588-7886. Long & McQuade is also sponsoring a masterclass with trombone virtuoso Christian Lindberg at the University of Toronto. Lindberg is quite possibly the finest living player of the trombone. Thesession takes place on Friday, Feb. 15 from3-6 p.m. in Room 330 of the Edward Johnson Building. For more info, please call (416) 978- 3733. It's looking like February is shaping up to be a great month to woodshed for the spring concert season. Make sure you take full advantage of these workshops - private lessons from any of these master musicians would range from expensive to unobtainable. The University of Toronto Wind Symphony, the Toronto Wind Orchestra, the Mississauga Pops Concert Band and the Hannaford Street Silver Band all have concerts on this month. Please check the main listings section for details on these events. If you would like an upcoming band event to be featured in the Bandstand column, feel free to contact Merlin at (416) 489-0275; fJy e­ mail,; on the web, http:// 6-535-6000 Warranty Repair De po( Used instruments bought & sold (,[{/) ~ r]; ,-,(_ cic/(; -- - - - PARIS - - - I I OPERA BEHIND 11IE SCENF.S WITH Rodney Mannota Monax fJy Dawn Lyons, rttorn DEN OuL Rodney the Groundhog did not see his shadow, therefore spring is just around the corner. The noble groundhog (mannota monax) in the photo is, intematiorui! opera star Rodney. We can report without fear of contradiction that he did not see his shadow this Groundhog Day, nor will he ever. He is, after all, dead and stuffed. A true artist, thougp, he has not let his condition hinder hirri from making a successful intemaaonal career in opera. International stardom took Rodney by surprise. Whenheoriginallyperf-ormed the roleofMascotin COC's "wild west" production of Don Pasquale in Oct 1994 at the Elgin, he didn't even have a name. His big break came in 1996 when the Utah Festiyal Opera Company rented the same sets and costumes for their Don PasquOJe. As is usual in such cases, props and cast were to be furnished locally and the mascot role was given to a local stuffed skunk. Skunk ~imply was not working out and as opening night loomed the director called Toronto in a panic. Marmota Monax was unearthed from props stOrage and dispatched to Utah. Because he was or once had been an animal he had to have extensive documentation to cross the border and he needed a name. I quote from the correspondence to the customs broker who prepared his paperwork: "This fax is tb confirm that Rodney the Groundhog-, a Cailadian citizen, valued at CDN (who has seen better days) is going to be travelling to Utah to make . a guest appearance with the Utah Festival Opera Company. Rodney will be travellmg in his own private box perched on his piece of wood via Federal Express and will be returning home to the Canadian Opera Company no later than August 16, 1996. Being deceased, Rodney will not require any shots. Once you have stopped laughing, please call if you have any questions or require any further information." 1 The programme credit, requiied by Rodpey's contract (he has a great agent), read: "Rodney the Groundhog starring in Don Pasquale courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company." He had left props star.age as a nobody but returned to Toropto definitely a somebody. It just didn't seem right to put him back in a box in a warehouse, so an administrative position was found for him at the coc offices on Front Street. He is known as a hard worker- already at his post (actually, on his log). on scheduling manager Sandy Gavinchuk's credenza when she arrives in the morning, and still there when she leaves. No one I spoke to is really sure what he does, but it seems to involve chucking things. Like many of the COC staff, he still performs from time to time, most recently as understudy for the role of Head of John the Baptist in the COC's production of Richard Strauss' Sal.ome, under the direction o~ Atom Egoyan. with files from the Canadian Opera Company and Iii Long & McQuade - MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS• w w w . I o n g - m c q u • d e '. c o m I Upstairs at 925 Bloor St.W. (West of Ossington), 416-588-7886.1 February 1 -- March 7 2002

The Cats Came Back WEBBER MUSICAL REVISITS TORONTO By Sarah B. Hood Twenty years ago, 1982, saw a dramatic change to Toronto theatre -- the opening of an unusual production: a full-scale, Canadian, independent, commercial, musical production in a resurrected theatre on Yonge Street. The theatre was the Elgin, and the show was CATS. From 1982 to 1988 about five million people attended Ontario commercial theatre, with CA TS accounting for about one quarter of this figure. Of course, the show itself. was not Canadian: it had debuted in London in 1981. But the money behind it was. In retrospect, CATS proved that it was possible to make a commercial success of a locally produced, big-budget show . It was also the kindling for a blaze of restoration and rebuilding. Since then, both theatres in the Elgin/ Winter Garden complex have been lavishly restored, joined on Yonge Street by the equally sumptuous Pantages (now the Canon) and the more modest New Yorker, and on King Street by the completely new Princess of Wales -- a total of perhaps 5,000 new theatre seats. The only real drawback to the CA TS phenomenon was that for some years afterwards Toronto producers seemed afraid to run shows by anyone other than Andrew Lloyd Webber, so we were showered for the better part of a decade by Phantom, Aspects of Love, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and so on. Webbermania having subsided somewhat, I'm now actually pleased to report that a touring production of CA TS - the show that started it all - is coming back to Toronto for a brief run. For those who never saw the 1982 production, CATS is loosely based on the charming Old ' Possum's Book of Practical Cats, a lighthearted whimsy by Nobel Prize-winning poet T.S. Eliot. It's set in the midnight world of the . Jellicle Cats, where various feline characters meet to tell their stories and socialize in a moonlit junkyard. CATS runs from February 18 to March 3 at the lovely Canon Theatre. February 1 -- March 7 2002 •:• Music THEATRE SPOTLIGHT •:• THE BOY GILBERT One of the silliest ·and nicesr original musicals ever to play Toronto was 1991 's Dora-winning Suzie Goo: Private Secretary , which starred the late Ken . McDougall as Suzie Goo, a cross between Barbie and Mary Tyler Moore, whose progress at Corporeal Can Incorporated is threatened by the evil Carmelita Gulch (Edward Roy) and unscrupulous boss Vincent Bag (David Ramsden). Suzie Goo was created by then Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times Sky Gilbert, with music by suave pianist and crooner John Alcorn. Well, the two have teamed up again to create a new show, archly titled The Boy Jones (or, The Rape of History, 'In Which A Queen's Vinue Is Threaten 'd By A Boy 's Overpow 'ring Curiosity). The Boy Jones is based on a purportedly true incident in which a 17-year-old street urchin managed to sneak into the 23~yearold Queen Victoria's rooms. (If this seems unlikely, remember that similar incidents have befallen both · our own Queen Elizabeth and our current Prime Minister Chretien, not to mention late Beatie George Harrison.) Produced by The Cabaret Company in association with the University of Toronto's Graduate Ce.ntre for the Study of Drama, · it stars a combination of established professionals (like Mark Christmann, Paul Bettis and Richard Partington) .alongside emerging actors. This one won't please anyone easily offended by sexual innuendo (it does promise to rewrite history "from the bottom up"), but there are serious issues at the core of this pseudo­ Victorian n;imp . The Boy Jones runs from February 6 to 17 at the Studio Theatre on Glen Morris Street. A VERDI . A ROSSINI AND TWO PUCCINIS Yet anether fertile stretch for opera lovers: this month the Canadian Opera Company is presenting Rossini's Il Viaggio a Reims in repertoire with a remount of Salome by Richard Strauss until February 5. The Rossini is directed by James Robinson and stars Michael Schade and Hemiette Bonde-Hansen, while film director Atom Egoyan ciirects Salome, starring Helen Field, Robert Tear, Tom Fox, Karan Armstrong and others. There are also two Toscas in town.-First up is the one by Toronto Opera Repertoire, which WholeNote readers will recall as a training company that performs full opera productions at the Bickford Centre annually, under the direction of Giuseppe Macilla. TOR's Tosca runs in repertoire with Die Fledermaus (by the earlier Strauss, Johann), between Feb 13 and March 3. Then, from February 23 to March 2, Opera Mississauga steps up to the plate with another Tosca, starring Maria Dragoni and conducted by Dwight Bennett at Mississauga's Living Arts Centre. And that's not all: Oper~ in Concert presents a concert version of Verdi's Nabucco on' February '3 at the St. Lawrence·Centre, while Opera Ontario performs Mozart's Marriage of Figaro on February 2 at Hamilton Place (Hamilton) and February 8 at The Centre in the Square (Kitchener). And perhaps CONTINUED

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