“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



“A funny Thing happened on the way to the Forum” by EMP 6

Review by Danny Gaisin
Disclaimer:- I’m not a fan of Sondheim (boring & repetitious) but his 1962 fun musical ‘A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM’ is the exception. Roughly based on a 2nd C. BC play ; it tells the convoluted story of a Roman slave who hopes to win his freedom by helping his master’s son get the girl . The original play starred Zero Mostel as the conniving ‘Pseudolus’, who (sort of) reprised the character-type 5 years later abut updated 2200 years, his The Producer-ing ‘Bialystock’ is also a major scammer.
The introductory number is titled ‘Comedy Tonight’ and its certainly descriptive of the
Etobicoke Musical Prod’ effort.

the denizens of Rome, circa 250BC, aka – cast of FUNNY THING HAPPENED!


“The FOURSOME” by W.E.S.T. Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
The late comedian W.C. Fields avowed that actors should never perform with kids or pets. Rationale – being upstaged. WEST’s quartet of males involved with Norm Foster’s “THE FOURSOME” had an opening night audience totally distracted by a spider weaving a large web -stage-right. This non-ACTRA performer, a large anthropoid arachnid happened to be weaving its web against a black backdrop and under a non-white Kleiglight – perfect illumination!
The play, once interest returned, is about a golf game as part of a fifteen year college reunion, and like an onion, the strips are peeled away revealing the duffer; the con artist; reticent member and the sensitive one.

l-r: Reid; Morrison; Rahmani & Wilson at the sixth Tee


“O.C.O’s competition winners in concert” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The Oakville Chamber Orchestra is starting it’s 35th year; concertmaster Aleksandar Gajic begins his 2nd decade with the ensemble, and maestro Charles Demuynck has held the podium almost forever. Like every forward-thinking musical organization, looking ahead means nurturing the musicians that will follow and the O.C.O. has always made such actions its mandate.
The Queen Elizabeth Park Cultural Centre does suffer from poor acoustics and the Yamaha may be a little tinny but the talents of four young (
as in 2 x age14 & 2 x19 year olds) made such problems minuscule.
The afternoon started with
J J Bui performing the Mozart Piano concerto no. 12’s allegro (opening) movement.

Sun; Orlenko; Bui & Yuan :- OCO competition winners post-performance


The Gulencos & an evening of classical music at Mac 5

Review by Judith Caldwell

Larisa and Alexei Gulenco presented a demanding program for two pianos, in this case two Steinway’s, in the new L. R. Wilson Concert Hall at McMaster University.  The 350 seat Hall is a welcome addition to the Hamilton entertainment scene.  The acoustics are excellent delivering a wonderful clarity of sound; plus the size is perfect for concerts and recitals.
The Gulenkos are a husband and wife team who each have impressive credentials.  Alexei received his original musical training in Russia where he won the Rachmaninoff competition, then the Jose Iturbi competition in Spain and the Liszt in Italy.

the Gulenco’s – post concert


“HARLEM DUET” explores racism, past & present Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Djanet Sears’ powerful “rhapsodic blues tragedy, “ Harlem Duet, is onstage at the Tarragon again, 21 years after its world premiere there. The play received Dora, Chalmers and Governor-General’s Awards, and was the first script by a black Canadian produced at Stratford Festival (2006); it has also been produced in New York.
I did not see earlier productions, but seeing it now, I find the play relevant for today and (like Shakespeare and Greek tragedy) for all times. The playwright asks the question, “Who would Shakespeare’s character Othello be if he were alive today…in my world?” As in the blues, the play has a musical, linear and non-linear quality.   Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Stephens-Thompson & Borden in HARLEM DUET