3 years ago

Volume 25 Issue 6 - March 2020

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FEATURED: Music & Health writer Vivien Fellegi explores music, blindness & the plasticity of perception; David Jaeger digs into Gustavo Gimeno's plans for new music in his upcoming first season as music director at TSO; pianist James Rhodes, here for an early March recital, speaks his mind in a Q&A with Paul Ennis; and Lydia Perovic talks music and more with rising Turkish-Canadian mezzo Beste Kalender. Also, among our columns, Peggy Baker Dance Projects headlines Wende Bartley's In with the New; Steve Wallace's Jazz Notes rushes in definitionally where many fear to tread; ... and more.

(and suggesting answers)

(and suggesting answers) about the relationships we cannot afford to take for granted in regard to the continually evolving relationship between artists and audiences. Part of the reason it was so interesting is the pivotal moment in the history of film that is at one and the same time the reason for the film’s existence and it’s own major storyline – the advent of the talking picture. Stars of the silent screen died off, metaphorically, in droves; new stars were born; actors who could actually act, singers who could actually sing, and dancers who could actually dance were suddenly able to bring prodigious live performance skills to a mass audience. Studios acquired orchestras where previously movie houses had theatre organs or player pianos. Sound stages on an immense scale came into existence. Memorably, February 8 in the RTH balcony, I found the inner story of the film being played out all over again, in a crazed, Escher-like version of itself: as though the fun-house mirrored twists and turns of Roy Thomson Hall’s intentionally disorienting lobbies and levels had been transported into the auditorium itself. There was one moment, for example, where I found myself watching the TSO live on the RTH stage (with a pull-down movie screen most of them could not see above their heads), making beautifully synchronized music for an orchestra on the screen, reduced once again to silent-movie puppetry by technology’s latest twist and turn; while, to top it all off, on that screen an auditorium of people sat watching their orchestra accompanying the same stars that our orchestra was. Layers within layers. There was a more fundamental moment for me, though, well into the movie’s second half. (Yes, there was an intermission to top up on popcorn and beer.) It came during one of the film’s memorable songs – not one of the obvious ones, like the title song, that had dozens of audience members happily singing along, but “Would You” a lovely gentle waltz, masterfully positioned at the film’s moment of denouement, ricochetting from bathos to pathos, in a lovely arc: He holds her in his arms, would you, would you? He tells her of her charms, would you, would you? I suddenly became aware that the person seated next to me was singing, completely comfortably and absorbed entirely in the moment. Not “singing along,” just singing. Not an audience member “joining in.” Nor aware, even for an instant, that she herself had an audience. Just feeling permitted. And here’s the point: she would not have had that permission either in a movie theatre or in a concert hall. It was a gifted moment, arising from a uniquely oddball set of circumstances: the live audience watching the live orchestra brought the people on the silver screen to life in a way that film alone cannot. The privacy of the typical filmwatching experience kept other audience members at bay, in a way that the typical concert environment does not. It’s an alchemy we all, artists and presenters alike, need to seek. After all, if, as the bard says, “all the world’s a stage,” then what’s an audience? Three days later: Tuesday February 11, at the COC “Oh, it’s a starry night!” my opera companion, delighted, turns to me and says, very quietly, as the Hansel and Gretel overture starts and the mysterious-looking panelled stage curtain we have been eyeing for the past ten minutes or so, speculating as to how its panels will part and divide, reveals what is behind it. Like lightning the person in the row right in front of us spins around. Her “SSSSHHHHH!!!” can be heard at least 15 rows back. Our slightly sheepish discomfort lasts all of the three minutes it takes for the same individual to take things to the next level by whacking the elbow of the person next to them with a rolled up program, for encroaching over the midline of the seat arm. Thirteen years ago, approximately In the selfsame balcony at Roy Thomson Hall. It is a performance of Bach’s St. John Passion. One of it’s great chorales “O grosse Lieb” has just commenced and someone, I would guess in his 80s, deep in the moment and alone with the music starts, quietly, to do what Bach instructs – to sing along. Someone turns to chastise ... David Perlman can be reached at WHO’S WHO FIND OUT IN THE WHOLENOTE ONLINE all the time THE WHOLENOTE.COM/WHO All inquiries to SUMMER MUSIC EDUCATION Special Focus PRINTED THIS MONTH THE CANARY PAGES Directory of Southern Ontario’s Choirs PRINTED IN MAY Deadline to join: Tuesday April 7 THE GREEN PAGES Guide to Summer Music in Ontario and Beyond PRINTED IN OUR SUMMER EDITION (JUNE/JULY/AUGUST) Deadline to join: Tuesday May 5 8 | March 2020

KOERNER HALL 2019.20 Concert Season MAURICE RAVEL’S L’HEURE ESPAGNOLE GIACOMO PUCCINI’S SUOR ANGELICA THE GLENN GOULD SCHOOL SPRING OPERA 2020 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18 & FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 7:30PM KOERNER HALL The extraordinary artists of The Glenn Gould School vocal program and Royal Conservatory Orchestra perform a double-bill opera in Koerner Hall: Ravel’s L’heure espagnole and Puccini’s Suor Angelica, conducted by Nicolas Ellis and directed by Michael Cavanagh. Part of the Price Opera Program TICKETS START AT ONLY $25! 416.408.0208 RCMUSIC.COM/PERFORMANCE 273 BLOOR STREET WEST 237 (BLOOR ST. STREET & AVENUE WEST RD.) (BLOOR TORONTO ST. & AVENUE RD.) TORONTO March 2020 | 9

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Volumes 1-5 (1994-2000)