6 years ago

Volume 12 - Issue 7 - April 2007

  • Text
  • Theatre
  • April
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Arts
  • Musical
  • Yonge
  • Symphony
  • Choir
  • Orchestra

two hours were filled

two hours were filled with opera's authenticrise and fall , its twists and turns, of wordsmelded to music, emotion welded to inevitability.To be honest, though, on this particularnight, the evening's offering was a bonus. Iwasn't there so much for that week's show asto scout out the venue (and the Tapestryconnection) for two other performancescoming up in the Ernest Balmer Studio: nextweek's "Carmen Unzipped", a cabaretperformance by mezzo-soprano Jean Stilwelland accompanist Patti Loach (March 30 andApril 1) and then, on May 26 and 27, "3 -Divas" which features Stilwell, PatriciaO'Callaghan and Theresa Tova."Jean, Trish and Tova are all Tapestrycollaborators" says Wayne Strongman,Tapestry's managing artistic director "butthey'd actually not met until they foundthemselves sharing a table at our 25'hanniversary gala a couple of years back.Something clicked. As for ' Carmen Unzipped'next Friday, it's Jean and Patti'sshow, but it's so fitting that they've chosenthis space for it. Jean and Tapestry go back along way."All the way back to 1984, the "yours todiscover" Ontario Bicentennial year. "TheOAC came up with funding for ensemblesthat year ... think Nexus, Canadian Brass ...and Tapestry Singers was one of those andJean was there from the beginning". TheSingers were, he says, a bit of a rebellionagainst "stand-and-sing choirs", takingdiverse vocal and operatic repertoire on theroad all over Ontario -- "a thirty week seasonif you can imagine. " Among those workswere mini-operas ("We did a CarmenQuintet" Wayne remembers).After a brief stint at Stratford, honing hermusic theatre skills (how about alternatingwith Maureen Forrester as the Fairy Queenin Iolanthe as an apprenticeship?) it was theJean Stilwell with Patti Loachrole of Carmen that, early on, would becomeStilwell's signature (for better and for worse,I suspect she would say), starting with LucianPintilie's Vancouver Opera production thatgalvanized Expo 86. But Stilwell is not a onetrickpony: Suzuki in "Butterfly"; Orlofsky in"Fledermaus"; Sextus in "Giulio Cesare";the list goes on, into the twentieth century andbeyond. And not just in "the opera" -- musictheatre, oratorio, cabaret, symphonic workand recital -- all are grist for her intensity,intelligence, imagination, and effortless,burnished voice, always inquiring after thetruth.It's that thirst for truth, for moments ofrevelation not always to be had in themainstream, that is the reason her path andTapestry's will continue to cross and recross(as when she played the title role in LindaCaitlin Smith and Don Hannah's "FacingSouth" in 2003).If "Carmen Unzipped" is Stilwell's way(with Patti Loach) of keeping opera alive forher, beyond the form and trappings of "theopera" itself, it's worth the journey acrosstown to witness it. (And I'll probably walkmy bike a good part of the way home.)Opera... and all thatby Sophia PerlmanDespite the wealth of live music in thiscity, it is easy to fall into a rut. While allof us are proud supporters of specificartists, ensembles and venues,sometimes it's easier to stick to the thingswe know rather than to branch out and trysomething new. And while a publicationlike WholeNote strives to make that leapas easy as possible, by providing you withthe most comprehensive list of musicaloptions possible, it's also possible to takeone look at the hundreds of events anddozens of venues contained in these pagesand to think "Why go to all that troubleinstead of hearing wonderful music at aplace that I know." This is especially trueif jazz is something that you don'tnormally go out to see.This month marks the first in a newseries in our jazz coverage. The premiseis simple. Rather than going to a jazzevent instead of the music you know andlove, why not go as well. Each month,we, the dedicated staff at WholeNote,are going to tackle the city on ageographical basis to help you discoverall the great jazz that can be foundwithin ten minutes of some focalconcert venue.This month, in honour of (or deferenceto) the issue's operatic theme, we'vechosen the Four Seasons Centre for thePerforming Arts as our focal venue. Asyou will see, you won't have to stray veryfar at all to get your feet wet. Once youdo, though, here are some of the otherplaces you may want to venture or stray.Story continues on page 59;:. - -')CMC PROFESSIONAL READING SERIES .Toronto: May 7, 8 pm, Walter Carsen CentreFull cl l' 1h ~t1. www.rn11s1cccn1.n'. rnC, T;\°T't I14 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COMA PRIL 1 - M AY 7 2007

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