“Yiddish for Pirates”; a literary H.P.O. evening Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra under its current Board, executive director and permanent conductor have proven to nothing if not eclectic. Classical assemblages are usually reputedly somewhat highbrow, but not the HPO. Younger audiences are enticed and welcomed, new and more contemporary works performed, plus other creative genres included. Case in point; last evening’s Literary Series offering,- a reading and musical quartet featuring Gary Barwin’s book – “Yiddish for Pirates”.
Given the intimacy of the First Ontario’s Studio Theatre and its cabaret milieu, the evening was a hundred fascinating minutes – although a familiarity with ‘
Yiddishkeit’ was a definite bonus. *

Gary Barwin entertaining with his saxophone

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“CHICAGO, the Musical”; much better than the movie! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
We watched the 2002 movie version of the Kander & Ebb musical for one reason only, it was shot in Toronto using the Distillery District, City Hall; Casa Loma ; Osgoode & Canada Life among others. As for the Gere/Zellweger/Zeta-Jones performances, we thought that they were not only two-dimentional, but it wasn’t just the singing that was dubbed – so was their portrayals. Last night we saw Theatre Ancaster’s version and had decided , even by intermission that this is a surefire O.A.R. ‘Top Ten for this year!
Everything about ‘Chicago’ is first rate…the direction; the stage method; the cutaways; costuming and especially the faultless chorus numbers that are an intrinsic part of the show.

Lapsley prepping Pike for her day in court, while chorus & Press folks look on

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“Broadway To Tin Pan Alley”, HPO recalls the era Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

It’s a century since the armistice ended the Great War. Even my young(er) wife can recall the Second World War and the music written and performed then, can still evoke memories of those years. It was the period of RagTime with its emphasis on synchopation and the 2 or 4/4 beat made popular by Scott Joplin. It was also the heyday of Tin Pan Alley (28th between 5th & 6th Avenues) where sheet music was promoted and published. The HPO’s amazing maestra Gemma New invited the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Band to add colour, drama and pomp commensurate with the occasion

Soloist & maestra with the H.P.O. & Bach Elgar

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“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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“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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