“HPO’s Halloween ‘Spooktacular’ afternoon concert Reply

Review by Danny GaisinThe musicians and concertmaster were in costume; the dancers of Freedom Studio – costumed; the audience – totally dressed up. And yours truly was fully attired for ‘Trick of Treating’. The somewhat abbreviated afternoon performance was aimed at a definitely younger audience, hence the selections and duration. Our seatmates were a 4-year old Alice and her slightly older brother. Observing their attentiveness and physical participation spoke well for the endeavour as well as the future of classical interest. Their mimicking of the conductor and fascination with the on-stage dancers defined total engrossment. The concert focal point was conclusively the conductor.

The HPO musicians awaiting Bartholomew-Poyser (aka Grim Reaper)

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The ELIXIR ENSEMBLE, part of the Hammer Baroque season Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

On Saturday evening, Hammer Baroque presented The ELIXIR ENSEMBLE playing string quartets on instruments using gut strings as opposed to the more usual modern metal strings.  The second piece on the program explored the different sounds gut strings can make.   Many patrons of Hammer Baroque have complained of the short notice given for the concerts, the email announcement of this concert only went out on Thursday, but Bud Roach explained in the program notes that these concerts offer no-fee guarantees for the performers, and flexibility with dates is the trade-off to secure high-quality (and very busy) performers. 

       The Elixir Ensemble in concert

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“Journey’s End”; still meaningful 90 years later 1

Review by Danny Gaisin
Beside the famous Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, there is a War museum the has a replica trench and dugout. Even those with no claustrophobic tendencies feel somewhat anxious or uncomfortable experiencing that part of the exhibit. Binbrook Little Theatre’s presentation of R.C. Sherriff’s 1928 blockbuster about 3½ days in a trench dugout is so well staged and performed that one may identify with the closeness imposed on the cast members. Under the realism directed by Aubrey Boothman who also has a cameo role, all the portrayed characters display the virtues; strengths, weaknesses and psyches of men under the duress of war. This is a pure gem of theatre.

A dramatic on-stage interrogation moment in JOURNEY’S END

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“GARAGE SALE” hits home Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Good theatre should always evoke some kind of reaction from an audience. David King’s 1980 play GARAGE SALE has a premise that became personal a decade later. With the advent of NAFTA I was unceremoniously unemployed and considered moving aboard our sailing vessel and becoming seafaring Nomads. When Terry (the muse) heard the words “We’ll sell everything we don’t need…” she had a fit. End Of Plan. In Garage Sale, ‘Phil Grady’ has the same idea except for heading to the desert for his family’s nomaderie – same response. The Canadian Rep Theatre staged ‘Sale’ in a concert format.

The cast of GARAGE SALE performing on stage

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“TIME”, an afternoon recital in a century-old loft Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
Rebecca Morton, cello, and pianist Emily Rho, presented a recital around the theme of Time at the Cotton Factory on Sunday afternoon, for a small, but enthusiastic audience.  The thought, preparation and musicianship on display deserved a much bigger following.  Morton introduced each piece with amusing explanatory notes which greatly helped the appreciation level.  The afternoon began with a delightful March for Solo Cello by Sergei Prokofiev in 2/4 time that was something between a stroll and a sashay – much more fun than a simple march.  A Sonata for Solo Cello in three parts by George Crumb followed. 

Mrs. Morton Sr.; Rebecca Morton & Emily Rho

 

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“H.P.O., L.V.B. + W.A.M”; a memorable concert Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Gemma New’s Hamilton Philharmonic is of such a critical plateau that even if she’s away from the podium; the musicians are still an “A-Team”. Last night, her conducting mentor, the renowned Quebec native Jacques Lacombe, directed an exhilarating reading of Gluck’s ‘Dance of the Furies’ from Act II of “Orphée et Eurydice” (pronounced Yur rid a sea). In the opera; the dance backgrounds Orpheus & his lyre being hindered in going down to Hades to reclaim his dead wife! The music also appears in the composer’s “Don Juan” opera. This rendering was highly evocative and intense and set the bar at an apogee level for the evening.

Laplante performing Beethoven’s concerto No. 4 with HPO under Jacques Lacombe

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