Review by Judith Caldwell The National Academy Orchestra’s (NAO) latest concert entitled ‘From Tchaikovsky to Ravel’ featured some energetic, well-performed pieces interspersed with new work. The concert opened with a composition by Ana Sokolovic commissioned for the NAC Orchestra, entitled Ringelspiel, which means merry-go-round. It is meant to conjure up both the ride-on variety and the toy table-top variety to transport the audience back to childhood simplicity. The piece was unmelodic and the rhythms so fractured that it was difficult to find an access point. The use of an extreme range of strings to create scratchy, screechy sounds made it less than endearing.
Review by Judith Caldwell
Thursday, the National Academy Orchestra of Canada (NAO) offered an evening of fantastic music which began with four much-loved John Williams’ compositions: “The Theme from Superman”; Highlights from Jurassic Park; the “Theme from Schindler’s List” and the flying theme from E.T. Each had their own instantly recognizable leitmotif which then expanded into a grand symphonic film score. Superman was masterful and heroic; Jurassic Park curious and probing and Schindler’s List heartbreakingly haunting (the audience barely breathed during the violin solo played by Concertmaster Mark Skazinetsky). E.T. was light, airy and so hopeful… the music intricate and difficult – written by a true master.
Review by Danny Gaisin
Episode 2 in the Figaro Saga. When we left off; Figaro- the factotum cum barber had finessed Rosina away from her patron Dr. Bartolo and arranged for her to be with her Count Almaviva (aka) Lindoro.
Mozart takes up the story a half-decade later. Almaviva has turned into a horny married old man; hired a maid for his countess (Rosina) and employed Figaro as his butler. Figaro wants to marry maid Susanna; Almaviva wants to deflower her before the wedding.
Cue the overture!
l-r Bartolo; Basilio; Marcellina; Almaviva; Figaro; Susanna & Rosina
Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin
The concept of an accepted program of familiar arias from classical opera presented in a concert format has faded into a same old, same old listing of ‘Nessun dorma; Habanera; “Au fond du temple Sainte” and the flower duet from Lakmé, usually with the invariable divas & divos. The National Academy Orchestra’s Brott summer Festival has pushed the envelope. Less familiar arias; new voices and program notes defining the actual pieces made this year’s edition a novel experience, especially for aficionados of the genre.
Review by Judith Caldwell
Hammer Baroque presented a short delightful concert to wrap up their current season called The Paradise of Travelers. The 17th century title obviously refers to a time period well before the modern cramped economy class seats which take the paradise out of travelling.
The program consisted of madrigals, motets and canzonettas and included readings of the recollections of English travelers through Italy. Apparently the English were the most obnoxious travelers of their time – thoroughly convinced of the superiority of all things English and the quaintness of all other cultures.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Second City’s resident improv ensemble reunited at Roy Thompson Hall for the second performance of ‘The Second City Guide to the Symphony’, hosted by Second City alumnus/ improviser Colin Mochrie. This show features original music by the Second City’s own Matthew Reid, who joins the TSO on-stage for a “glorious ninety minutes when life doesn’t suck,” among similarly themed full-chorus and solo numbers. These ninety minutes provide high-quality accessible music and comedy, enjoyable by/for both TSO and SC devotees, as well as any “Symphony Virgins” who may be “Fiddling Around,” as the scenes suggest.
Brownen Sharp’s photo of ‘Chief Inspector’ Mochrie with the 2nd City & T.S.O.