7 years ago

Volume 21 Issue 9 - Summer 2016

  • Text
  • Festival
  • Toronto
  • Jazz
  • Quartet
  • August
  • Orchestra
  • September
  • Musical
  • Theatre
  • Concerts
It's combined June/July/August summer issue time with, we hope, enough between the covers to keep you dipping into it all through the coming lazy, hazy days. From Jazz Vans racing round "The Island" delivering pop-up brass breakouts at the roadside, to Bach flute ambushes strolling "The Grove, " to dozens of reasons to stay in the city. May yours be a summer where you find undiscovered musical treasures, and, better still, when, unexpectedly, the music finds you.

evival of The Magic

evival of The Magic Flute at the COC, the show she already assisted under the direction of Diane Paulus, and directed herself for the Ensemble Studio performance, and later revived at Opera Philadephia. What guides her programming at the Playhouse? “It’s a year-long occupation, I’m always reading plays, seeing musicals, thinking about it constantly, and any time I see something that I’m interested in, I put it on a list or add it to the pile. And once I start programming, I see how all the pieces would fit together. It all needs to be high quality, intelligent, entertaining work, but I’m also looking for work that’s different and that sort of bounces up against each other, rubs against each other in interesting ways.” The audience is more of a regional theatre audience than summer audience, very diverse with very diverse expectations, and Corcoran aims to meet those but also to propose new and unexpected experiences. She says she can certainly imagine doing a chamber opera in the smaller Fire Hall in the future. “Last year we did an operetta, The Pirates of Penzance. I adapted it with Andrew Kushnir and we set it in 1927 in the prohibition times in the Thousand Islands. We re-wrote the libretto—Gilbert & Sullivan are in the public domain - so the pirates were rum runners, the police were the American coast guard, the sisters were a federation of teetotallers. We kept a lot of the original music, but we also included some other music from the 1920s. It was successful and great Sunday, November 6, 2016 WALTZ RIVALS A Tribute to Kálmán and Lehár December 27, 30, 31, 2016 and January 6, 7, 8, 2017 ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD by Jacques Offenbach April 26, 28, 29, 30, 2017 THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER by Oscar Straus 2016|2017 Sunday, June 4, 2017 THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE A Tribute to Gilbert & Sullivan Sandra Corazza fun, and I hope to do it again in the future.” Over at the COC, the costume department staff are already working on the two September productions. Sandra Corazza, COC’s costume supervisor tells me how her summer will unfold while giving me a tour of the third floor workrooms and storage spaces. The costumes for Ariodante and Norma are already there, shipped from their most recent dwelling places, the opera houses of Amsterdam and Barcelona respectively. The Handel was designed by Ultz with a mid-20th century Scottish village aesthetic, and there are a lot of old coats, wool sweaters and plain dresses on the rows of hangers before us. Corazza already saw the production in Amsterdam. “It’s good to be able to go backstage and ask the makers – dressers, makeup artists – what problems they had. Some of that stuff can’t be written precisely enough, even though we get the bible.” (The thick binder containing all the fabric samples, purchase information, sketches and photos is known as “the bible” among costume professionals.) The forthcoming COC run will have an entirely new set of principals, some of whom are as physically different from their peers cast in the same roles in Aix-en-Provence and Amsterdam as imaginable. The petite green ensemble now on a mannequin will have to be adjusted for the taller Ginevra by Jane Archibald. Dalinda too – the “bitchy maid” to be revived by Ambur Braid – will probably have her clothes resized. “This wedding dress,” Sandra pulls out a long sturdy white gown with modest ornaments. “It never gets worn properly, she sort of slaps it on over her slip, then sees the puppet show and takes it off, and Dalinda puts it on at one point…It’s handled more than actually worn.” The trouser role baddie will be sung by Verduhi Abrahamyan, a mezzo taller than Sonia Prina, whose name is still attached to her biker style costumes. Alice Coote’s Ariodante will be the same height as his love interest, and it remains to be decided whether she’ll be slightly raised with the right pair of shoes. For costume resizing, the seam allowance and long hem come to the rescue. Ultz is expected to arrive in Toronto by the end of June, but meanwhile the fittings for the smaller roles are already starting. “We still don’t have the casting of the chorus, six male and six female, and 24 and 24 in Norma. Once we know that, we will know now many costumes we have to build. In Aix and Amsterdam, they had these sweaters custom knit. If these are too small, we may have to find a knitter to knit us a sweater, or go with a different costume. If Ultz decides to redesign the chorus and the extras, we’ll have to make these costumes happen.” The gold sequin-encrusted dress by the costume designer Jessica Jahn is already fitted and waiting for Sondra Radvanovsky’s Norma. “When we get the Barcelona bible, we can find out where all these fabrics came from and start contacting these companies. We may add more red to Russell Thomas’s costume. Details often get changed when productions move from stage to stage.” The fitting of the principals and chorus starts in earnest on the third week of August. There are also the understudies to clothe, and in Norma, the children. Corazza will take a vacation too, but July is the only possibility. The 2016/17 season is already underway on the third floor of the COC’s Front Street East building. For a subscription brochure and ticket information please call our office at 416-922-2912 or email Guillermo Silva-Marin General Director Lydia Perovic’s novella All That Sang is out now wherever you buy books. As for her June, she’s off to Amsterdam for some Herheimdirected opera, Jacobs-conducted Haydn and Joël Pommerat’s theatrical take on the French Revolution. After a few additional days in Antwerp and Brussels, she’s back in Toronto for the summer. 14 | June 1, 2016 - September 7, 2016

Beat by Beat | Jazz Stories Balancing the Books, and Real Jazz Hooks From TD Toronto Jazz to PEC ORI DAGAN Pat Taylor, co-founder, with the late Jim Galloway, of Toronto Downtown Jazz, producers of the the TD Toronto Jazz Festival has stepped down this year, after 30 years on the job. Stepping in as CEO is Howard Kerbel, who has for nine years been a member of the eight-person TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) leadership team, with a special focus on branding and marketing strategy. Taylor remains as a member of the programming team and an advisor to Kerbel. “This transition will allow me more time to focus on strategic initiatives and allow Howard to develop one of the country’s favourite brands,” states Taylor in the official release announcing Kerbel’s appointment. “After 30 years at the helm, I have confidence that Howard has the passion to build upon this foundation and take it to the next level.” What that “next level” will be is anyone’s guess. (After all, when TD Toronto Jazz started out 30 years ago, who would have thought it would end up with such places as the Second Cup at King and John, or the posh department store Holt Renfrew for that matter being listed as “official festival venues”? And how does a pop star headliner Sarah McLachlan at the Sony Centre or film star Kiefer Sutherland playing country at the Horseshoe fit into a jazz festival lineup? Taylor is refreshingly blunt. “Balancing the books,” he says. “Thirty years ago we were the only game in town. Now there are 21 jazz festivals in the GTA. Every concert hall has a jazz series. That’s what we wanted to see happen. In our mind, jazz is doing well in town. I’m not making a living as a musician but I’m sure it’s better than 30 years ago…” As a musician trying to make a living now, particularly since the Internet took over the world, I’m not so sure about the “better” bit. As in many industries, the value of music has so drastically changed that as of the time of this writing, each play on Spotify equates to small fractions of a penny, and even the penny has been discontinued as physical currency due to its worthlessness. Speaking of balance, the free outdoor shows of any music festival are crucial to the creation of new musical connections, for audiences and musicians alike. As unexpected as venues like Holt Renfrew and Second Cup are, it sure would be nice to see live music in these places all of the time, if only for the element of surprise that is so essential to jazz music. It’s fun to watch passerby reaction, especially when it’s with a smile and a head bop. And if you’d like to get to know a budding musician, on Saturday June 25 between 2 and 4pm the Regent Park School of Music will help animate Nathan Phillips Square with musical demonstrations and interactive opportunities. Following the performances, the audience is invited to try out the instruments, or as it has become known, an “instrument petting zoo.” Perhaps best of all, Dave Clark and his Woodshed Orchestra will lead you on “a raucous, romping march” through Nathan Phillips Square. Not to be missed! Nathan Phillips Square is once again the hub of TD Toronto Jazz, balancing paid and free performances throughout the festival. The lunchtime concerts at 12:30pm will introduce ears to a diverse offering, including the Toronto Mass Choir, Brian Barlow Big Band’s salute to Ellington at Newport with special guests Guido Basso, Dione Taylor and the Backsliderz and Jim Galloway’s Wee Big Band, directed by Martin Loomer. And an additional outdoor stage at Nathan Phillips Raoul and The Big Time Square will include jazz and blues performances during the afternoon and early evening, from the sizzling soul of Tanika Charles (Sunday June 26 at 2:30pm) to the disco-flavoured spun vocal sugar that is The Spandettes (Monday June 27 at 6:30pm) to charismatic blues brother Raoul and The Big Time (Saturday July 2 at 6:30pm), and…to a visiting artist worth highlighting: Welsh singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Gwyneth Herbert (Thursday June 30 at 6:30pm) who will be making her Toronto debut. I met Herbert unexpectedly, sharing a cab in Bremen, Germany, en route to the Canadian Blast concert at jazzahead, just weeks before writing this article and was blown away, both by her story and how she told it. (You’ll get some sense of this unique individual in the sidebar to this piece!) STEFAN MYLES June 1, 2016 - September 7, 2016 | 15

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