7 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 6 - March 2003

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. · Taptoo librettist

. · Taptoo librettist James Reaney because of its proximity to the new United States, Simcoe went to Toronto; the only protected bay on the British shore of Lake Ontario. In 1793 he established the new capital there and changed the "outlandish" native name' of the settlement to York in honour of the prother of George III. COVERING A PERIOD of about 1780- 1810, Simcoe's story serves only as the history background to a fictional tale about the rivalry of two boys (both sung by sopranos). Seth Harple, from a Loyalist Quaker family, becomes Simcoe'sdrummer boy. His rival is Ebenezer Hatchway, from a family of colonialism. He praises the work's Revolutionaries, who becomes "charmillg intimacy" and its chamber the drununer boy of the American orchestration featuring Celtic harp; Major "Mad" Anthony Wayne. fifes and an accordion. Its focus, The action follows Seth through he says, is "the anxiety of ordinary the continuing battles in the people during war". · Midwest between the British and As he points out, this is not the Americans, through his marriage typical opera concerned with the lives to a Native woman Atahentsic, of only three or four principal their settling in York and the characters. Rather it is more an birth of their son. · historical pageant with numerous A prequel to Harry Somers: small roles distributed among the Serinette, Taptoo' s libretto is company. The nature of the libretto very much in the style of dictates- a non-naturalistic Reaney's famous Donnellys presentation. The "cinematic" scene trilogy. Besides the wide time changes will be accomplished by period covered, locations from means of a few symbolic props and New Jersey, Philadelphia, Ohio, the extensive use of.projections. Niagara Falls, to York can shift COMPLEMENTING REANEv's historical sometimes within the space of only six bars. The minimum number of research, Beckwith investigated popular music of the period and singers needed to perform the opera weaves excerpts of more than 20 is _fifteen, but given the Opera Division's Wealth.of students 30 will pieces of the time into the score to sing the more than 50 roles. createitshistoricalflavour. Hisstlidy of drumming manuals of the time Frequently members of the chorus. informs his use in the opera of drum emerge as individuals to act in a scene or in Brechtian fashion to announce signals that punctuate the action. The title, the original form of "tattoo", changes of time and place. refers to · the drum call used to ALLoFnffisEcoNSIDERATIONspresent announce the return .to camp after challenges for stage director Michael last call in the taverns when, in Patrick Albano. He calls "Taptoo!" · Dutch, the tap ("tap") was shut a "looking glass into history" with ("toe"). The assembly for return satirical barbs aimed at British grew more elaborate, eventually becoming today's military "tattoos". FoR THOSE WHO WISH TO LEARN more about the background of "Taptoo! ", Professors Linda Hutcheon and Caryl CI_ark of the U ofT are offering a day-long symposium on the opera on March 8 at the Munk Centre for Jnternational Studies at Trinity College on campus. You can register by e-mail at · events.munk or phone 416-946- 8194. The event is free. Speakers are drawn from the departments of English, Music, History and Sociology, besides Ken Purvis, Senior Progr~ Officer, Fort York, whom Beckwith consulted about drumming practices as well as James Reaney

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