Hammer Baroque showcases a quintet to interpret Vivaldi Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
Dominic Teresi is principal bassoon of Tafelmusik and teaches at The Juilliard School.  Stefano Demicheli is a composer,. In keeping with Hammer Baroque traditions, five extraordinary musicians offered a concert titled Soprattutto Vivaldi on Saturday afternoon.   Oboeist Marco Cera, trained in Italy and was lured over to Toronto by Tafelmusik.  He is also a member of the Artic fusion band, Ensemble Polaris.  Alison Melville performs on historic flutes and recorders. She is also a member of Ensemble Polaris, who has performed a lot of music for film & TV soundtracks.  Violinist Cristina Zacharias, is a core member of Tafelmusik and appears annually at the Carmel Bach Festival.

The performers of Hammer Baroque’s VIVALDI

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Walker play explores middle class madness Reply

Review by Judith Robinson    May 12, ‘19

Since the 1970’s, Canadian playwright George F. Walkers plays have had audience members squirming in their seats as pimps, prostitutes, criminals and drug addicts took center stage. In recent years, the master craftsman turned his spotlight on to the Middle Class. His 2010 drama, And So It Goes, currently playing at the Pia Bouman Scotia Bank Theatre in Toronto, not only gives a voice to the voiceless, it exposes what it’s like for those who had a voice to lose it. Latin teacher, Gwen, powerfully enacted by Deborah Drakeford, and her husband investment adviser, Ned, played by Dan Willmott, had a pretty cushy life,

Drakeford * McCulloch on stage

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Mahler’s 5th, big composition needs a big orchestra Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin,  May. 12th, ‘19

Gustav Mahler’s 5th symphony is big, glorious; affecting; and serious. Thus, it needs a class ‘A’ orchestra and conductor to properly perform it. The Hamilton Philharmonic and maestra Gemma New certainly accomplished the work’s requirements.
This season’s final concert opened with Claude Vivier’s ORION. First time hearing this piece and quite probably, my last. The seven motifs supposedly represent the stars that make up the constellation – the hunter and his two doggies. Like the myth; Vivier; a flamboyant gay, was murdered in Paris by a young male prostitute just as Orion was condemned for insulting the gods.

Gemma New & Diana Weir, informing the HPO audience about tonight’s special event

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“Ravel & Stravinsky; + Bartok, Prokofiev, & ballet” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, Apr. 28, ‘19

Under the vision of maestra Gemma New , executive director Diana Weir and the HPO Board, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has evolved into something far more eclectic and audience attractive than we saw under previous administrations. This is obvious from the increase of ‘sold out’ concert situations and also from the noticeable atmosphere emanating from the musicians themselves. Last evening’s event under guest conductor Nathan Brock featured the HPO’s concertmaster Stephen Sitarski performing the violin concerto No. 2 by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece is far less known than the composer’s ‘Peter & the Wolf’ or his opera ‘Alexander Nevsky.

Sitarski under guest HPO conductor Nathan Brocki

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“Skin Flick” another take on Norm Foster’s hit Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin   Apr. 27th ‘19

There is a character in the puppet musical “Avenue ‘Q’ “(Trekkie Monster) who suffixes every zinger piece of dialogue with “And Porn!”. The rhetorical device never gets boring. Same with Norm Foster’s situation comedy SKIN FLICK which we’ve seen more than a few times. The plot deals with a newly unemployed couple and their just-fired photo journalist deciding to make a ‘blue movie’ (porno) to make some quick cash. A singing (& stripping) greeting card girl, and the cameraman’s meek & ingenuous bookie round out the cast.
The ironic misconceptions and double entendres abound and are sure laughs even if they’re obvious and telegraphed.

SKIN FLICK’s Ashley & Greg, Megan, Swenor, & Fortman at rear

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“Sorting IT Out”, a short morality play about ASD Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin   Apr. 26th, ‘19

Autism Spectrum Disorder, ranges from savant to non-verbal and affects about 1% of the population; mostly males. During our years driving school buses; we were consistently given routes that shuttled ‘special needs’ students. We became familiar with both ends of the ambit. Given our familiarity with the syndromes, it always bothered us that such TV shows as ‘Bones’ or ‘Big Bang Theory’ displayed some symptoms for humor rather than understanding. Awareness might lead to understanding but both shows missed an opportunity.
Back in 2007, our friend Lynn Johnston’s cartoon series, ‘For better or For Worse’ described ‘Shannon’ who was autistic.

l-r …Cook, Scott, Esposito & Buzzelli

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