She’s GEMMA NEW, and “This is her music” Reply

Opinion by Danny (& Terry) Gaisin

Saturdays on CBC radio has an interesting program called “This is my Music” in which Arts celebrities are introduced (bios that are mind-boggling) and then present two hours of their favorite musical works.
The Hamilton Philharmonic’s Gemma New was featured yesterday and her presentation was superb. Reflecting on her personality, her taste is not only eclectic, it’s also surprising. She selected the Louis Armstrong/Ella Fitzgerald duet -‘Cheek to Cheek’. Then, Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’; a 180-degree change. Abrupt pace change, “The famous ‘Star Wars’ by John Williams (who along with Leroy Anderson) are a couple of the last century’s greatest composers. More…

5 @ 1st presents Schubert’s “The Trout” Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
As a Leap Day concert, 5 at the First presented Schubert’s piano quintet  ‘The Trout’ with the AYR trio plus Mayumi Seiler, violin, and Joel Quarrington double bass.  The afternoon began with Rachel Mercer, the R of the AYR Trio, and Quarrington playing a duet for cello and double bass in D major by Gioacchino Rossini.   This duet was composed for Europe’s larger than life double bass virtuoso, Domenico Dragonetti, a contemporary of Beethoven, who demonstrated that the double bass was an instrument worthy of its own music rather than simply copying the cello part.  He expanded the range and usage of the double bass

Berick, Park, Seiler, Quarrington & Mercer performing; not fishing for “THE TROUT”

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“THIS IS HOW WE GOT HERE”; a powerful story of grief & love Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
It has been a long time since I have seen a play as moving as This Is How We Got Here,” by Keith Barker, which recently played at the Aki Theatre in Toronto, produced by Native Earth Theatre, of which Barker is also Artistic Director.  Barker directed this production of his play — which has been produced previously by other Canadian theatres. Well-written, well-acted, well-directed, with a simple and effective set, the play tells its story without tricks or glitter, but through the characters’ interaction. Clearly this is a play about an Indigenous family in a northern Canadian community, and its theme speaks to the frequent suicides of young people in these communities.  Photo by Christie Wong

Michaele Washburn & Kristopher Bowman, explaining “HOW we Got Here”

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SCHEHERAZADE, HPO’s masterful interpretation Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Considering this scribe’s sixth decade of writing about classical concerts, it seems like I’ve heard every work in the genre. Not so, Last night we finally had the opportunity to hear something novel. The Hamilton Philharmonic’s opening work was Rossini’s Semiramide overture. Composed two centuries ago, the tragic libretto deals with the Queen having to choose an heir to her throne. Final act screw-ups result in her and those around her all dying. The longish overture (14 minutes) incorporates actual themes and arias from the opera and is a toe tapping work that like ‘Bolero’ offers multiple opportunities for individual instruments to shine.

David Pell; Gemma New & the HPO interpreting Henri Tomasi’s concerto

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“JITTERS”; Hitting the mark! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

 “Jitters; n. an irregular random movement”. Colloquially – to be nervous or act nervously. David French’s 1979 comedy is about a theatre group prepping for the premiere of a new play and how the cast’s psyches complicated by crew or set perversity screws up even the best of intentions. SIMCOE LITTLE THEATRE and director Melissa Collver have perhaps chosen this piece in order to educate their audiences about what really happens before a curtain finally goes up. As a definitive edict for thespians, the effort, like directorial instructions, requires a player to ‘Hit The Mark’. They and the play certainly do so.       Photo by RoseLe Studio

Lee; Haskett; Dickson; & McDonnell in the dressing room

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“THE HOBBIT”, terrific staging, lots of fun 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

 Disclaimer! As mentioned in our last published critique, this scribe has never, in my octogenarian life, been exposed to J.R.R. Tolkien’s HOBBIT tales. Factually, the only ‘Lord’ books I’ve read have been about “Flies”; not “RINGS”! So, last night’s Theatre Erindale staging of the play was a rare theatrical original experience for yours truly.  We and the audience were seated about twenty feet overlooking the stage Thus the actors appear to be numerous vertically challenged dwarves (dwarfs?); goblins; trolls & a dragon. The plot opens with young Bilbo Baggins being recruited to be a burglar by an eight-foot tall wizard named Gondolf.

Diana Smendra explaining stuff  in HOBBIT-land


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