O.A.R.’s “THE TOP TEN” 2017 Reply

Editorial & Administrative opinions

With the exceptionality of the 2016 surfeit of Top Ten-ers (19), we usually end up with a dozen or so contenders for inclusion. Twenty-seventeen was no exception. Due to reader response, we intend to continue our 2016 protocol of also including ‘Honorable Mentions’.

THEATRE UNLIMITED, This Mississauga community organization started our year with an amazingly well-staged and presented ‘LITTLE MERMAID”. It was a surprisingly adult interpretation of what is obviously a children’ story. Then, they closed out the year with one of the best interpretations of the Rogers & Hammerstein blockbuster “SOUTH PACIFIC” that had us singing the lyrics all the way home. So, a double-play (pun intended)

The troops with their “Sunlight on the sand & moonlight on the sea”



HPO’s “Home for the holidays” extravaganza evening Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The mark of a top-drawer orchestra is its ability to successfully interpret a range of genres and under diverse conductors. The Hamilton Phil’ exhibited both these talents in presenting a cornucopia of familiar melodies of the season, and under the guest baton of Lucas Waldin of the Edmonton Symphony.
Regardless of one’s religious background or affiliation, the ubiquitous Christmas music is familiar to anyone with a radio or a visit to the mall or grocery store. To make an on-stage reprise thoroughly enjoyable surely is the mark of genius. Last night’s concert certainly achieved this level accolade on three different aspects – aural; visual and imaginative.

                    Heather Bambrick; Lucas Waldin and the H.P.O.


“Charly’s Piano”, music, humanity & patients Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe



Toronto, 1972.  Charly Chiarelli, born in Sicily and raised in Hamilton’s North End, comes to Toronto after university and finds a job as a “psychiatric assistant” at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry – the “Inn on the Clarke,” as he describes it, a mental hospital for the elite, with progressive policies.  With his Hamilton/Sicilian directness and his interest in people and their stories, he soon feels at home on the Eleventh Floor Ward. He is  liked by patients and by staff, including hospital director Dr. Vivian Rakoff.  While playing his harmonica for the patients, he learns that many of them also love music. 

Charly Chiarelli in “CHARLY’S PIANO


TBSO Launches Into the Wonder of Mozart & Martinis Reply

Review by Sylvie Di Leonardo
The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra hosted their annual cocktail fundraiser Mozart and Martinis at Bight Restaurant last week. The symphony musicians appeared in chamber groups to perform the works of Mozart and his contemporaries in an intimate, elegantly decorated setting at the waterfront. Carefully-crafted cocktails including the Salzburg Spritz and Salieri’s Revenge were accompanied by artisanal appetizers, curated specially for the event by Bight’s Bianca Garofalo.
This evening’s program began with the overture course and
Salzburg Symphonies No. 1 followed by the Flute Quartet in D, K. 285. The uplifting melodies of the third movement Rondeau  were accompanied by aperol and orange flavors,

The Thunder Bay orchestra patrons enjoying the wines, nibbles & food


“MARINE LIFE” plumbs climate change & human relationships Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Marine Life, written and directed by Rosa Laborde in collaboration with Aluna Theatre and now playing at Tarragon Extraspace, is a fable for our times. Through witty and perceptive dialogue, excellent acting, and an amazing set featuring both factual projections and touches of magic realism, this one-act piece shows us the interplay between the planet’s damaged oceans and the characters’ damaged lives. Despite these themes, the play is (as the playwright notes) a comedy in the true sense of the word – it provides some hope for redemption (at least partial). Not traditional theatre, but exciting, provocative, and well worth seeing.   Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Matthew; Justin & Nicola in MARINE LIFE


Legacy of Healey Willan, a special Bach Elgar concert Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

The Bach Elgar Choir presented a program entitled ‘The Legacy of Healey Willan’. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of his death so Healey Willan concerts will abound, but Bach Elgar got in first. Although he was born and grew up in England, Willan has been claimed as a great Canadian composer because he moved to Toronto in 1913 to take up a position as Head of Theory at the Conservatory of Music. He then became organist at St. Paul’s on Bloor Street where he composed, taught and performed leaving a very large legacy of musical achievement.

 stamps honoring Emma Albani & Healey Willan