7 years ago

Volume 8 Issue 5 - February 2003

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  • Toronto
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SPOTLIGHT . MUSIC THEATRE WORKING IN SCARBOROUGH by Sarah B. Hood Deqth qtid the Devil top the Februqty bill SONGS OF THE NAKED CITY Born as Usher (later Arthur) Fellig in what is now the Ukraine, the photographer who became famous under the sobriquet "Weegee" was responsible for creating a whole way of seeing and understanding the streets of New York in the 1930s and '40s. His luminous, high-amtrast images of the Lower East Side, Coney Island, the seedy Sammy's nightclub and of course Times Square bring the viewer face to face with the city and its denizens - especially the poor, whom his work documented with extraordinary humanity. But it is for his crime photography that he is best remembered. (He was so. respected in this field that he was even granted special permission to install a police radio in his car.) A creative team made up of playwright Morwyn Brebner (the Dora-nominated Music for Contortionist), Shaw Festival ml!sical director Paul Sportelli and performer/ composer Jay Turvey has imagined the night when W eegee is called to photograph a dead woman as the police browbeat her daughter, Little Mercy Callaghan. Drawn to .each other, Little Mercy and the photographer flee into Weegee's shadowy New York landscape, a world of torch songs and Latin rhythms. Little Mercy's First Murder, starring Melody Johnson, Peter Millard, Neil Barclay, Jane Johanson, Tony · Nappo and Jeff Lillico, runs to Feb 23 at the Tarragon Theatre. HIP-HOP THEOLOGY Hip-hop, like jazz and blues, ~ rap, dub poetry and even calypso, is part of an interrelated family of extemporized performance forms . with roots in Africa. While many of these focus on musical spontaneity, others prize the fecund flow .of wordplay, in which multiple meanings abound. Last June, Montrealers Eli Batalion and Jerome Saibil created a fast-Oriving hip-hopstyle musical based on the unlikely subject · wherein God and Satan test Job's faith by piling one calamity after another upon his suffering head. Although the tale of Job is one of the world's most enduring examinations of the question as to how a merciful God could allow just · ma~r of the Book of Job, From Feb 13 to 15, Spotlight Musical Productions is offering a production of the 1978 musical Working, which is rarely seen in people to suffer, it's not exactly Toronto. It's derived from author/ standard repertoire on the hip-hop broadcaster Studs Terkel's bestscene. Nonetheless, as Job: The Hip- selling 1974 book of the same name HopMusical, theproductionrqcked (subtitled "People Talking About the Fringe circuit and is now moving What They Do All Day And How through a "legit" tourofEdmonton, They Feel About What They Do"), Montreal and Toronto. Audiences which he based on interviews with loved the lightning-speed punning working Americans. The script is Studs Terkel at 90 poetry of MC Cain and MC Abel as by Stephen Schwartz (of Godspell Cabaret features a live band and they narrate how Record President fame) and Nina Faso, with songs choreography by Tracey Flye J . Hoover (Jehovah) and V.P. by Schwartz, Mary Rodgers (Robin Hood, Soulpepp

OPERA DVD WATCH THE UN BALW FACE-OFF Until now the debate over video verby P!Ul Ehrensqft sions of Verdi's Un balJo in maschera CowNEL SAUNDERS AND JANACEK run was between two Metropolitan Opera neck to neck for the world late starter performances, 1980 and 1991 respecprize. Janacek was a 50 year-old tively, both featuring Pavarotti in ~e schoolteacher in the provincial Mora- lead role. Deutsche Grammophon's vian capital of Brno when his fifth fine remastering of the 1991 version, opera, Jenufa, premiered in 1904. with James Levine conducting, was a Hugely successful in Moravia, Jen- pick of the month in November. (Uniufa was blocked from appearing in versal 4400730299) Now the ante mis Prague until 1916, and even then the been upped by Kultur's Un hallo. It nationalq:ieraCOOJimIY'sdiroctor, Karel features Claudio Abaddo conducting Kovarovic, imposed changes that forced the Orchestra of the Royal Opera Janacek'smusicintothecompartments House. (KuJtur D2071) of late romantic opera. In the short" I do question the appropnateness of run, ironically, this contributed to Jen- the ROH re-setting - Sweden rather ufa's international Success and the 65 thancolonialBoston. Refereocetoregyear-oldJanacek then composed 5 more icicle was streng verboten by the Ausstellilr operas. Restored in the 1980s, triansoccupyingthesmallitalian-speakthe feaI Jenufa propelled Janacek to rec- ing states that ultimately became Italy. ognition as one of the great composers Verdi was the prime musical voice of and librettists in opera history, and one Italian nationalism. Transpose the proof the few distinctly modernist com- ceedings to Sweden and you lose the posers embraced by the majority of op- context and joy of Verdi and his audiera lovers. · ence pulling the wool over the eyes of · Fortunately the one available DVD foreignccupiers. · of Jenufa is a jewel. (Kultur 1XXJ35) On the other hand, this is a knock­ Andrew Davis leads the forces of the your-socks-Off performance. Opera London Philhannonic and Glynde- lovers will want both the Kultur and bourne Festival in this superb 1989 Universal DVD's, Both are among performance of the original Brno ver- the best of all available opera DVD's. sion. P. Mascagni Cavalleria Rusticana ap.d W.A. Mozart The Impresario G. Puccini La Boheme Feb. 14, 19, Feb. 22, 28 · 8 pm Feb. 16, Mar. 2 2 pm FromLakme, Madama Butterfly, L Elisir d Amore, Tosca, II Trovatore, · and mote. COURSES: call 416-486-8408 e-mail: + STRAUSS's Sopranos and Mezzos 24 I 25 February to 24 I 25 March 2003 Choose: Monday afternoon - OAKVILLE; Tuesday morning - BURLINGTON Tuesday afternoon - ARTS & LETTERS CLUB; Tuesday evening - U ~f T TOURS: call Conference World Tours 416-221-6411 + Fourth Annual "VERDI'S ITALY" 1 7 May to 1 June 2003 +OPERA CRUISE - from Venice to Athens with lain Scott 25 June to 9 July 2003 +The Splendours of SICILY 18 October - 1 November 2003 23

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