“PopOpera”; a panacea for us aficionados Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

An evening of operatic aria selections, especially differently chosen from the ‘same old, same old’ fare of the most familiar, is a palliative for those of us unable to zip down to the Glimmerglass festival (this year – Porgy & Bess plus Oklahoma) and that other Cooperstown icon. Boris Brott’s N.A.O. enlisted the talents of ten professional vocalists to interpret sixteen compositions ranging from eighteenth century to 1966. Some choices were well-known and proverbial but most were new to us scribblers … a nice personal anniversary (54th) gift.

All the soloists (& audience) singing “Libiamo”

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N.A.O. venerates (terrific) Tchaikovsky Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
The second concert in the Brott Music Festival was called Terrific Tchaikovsky and terrific it was. Two very different Tchaikovsky compositions were on the program plus a Youth Overture by Airat Ichmouratov, a Russian/Canadian contemporary composer.
The evening began with Tchaikovsky’s mighty Symphony No. 6 in B-minor, the Pathetique. a work in four movements of extreme inner struggle. It begins with a mournful Adagio that instead of becoming livelier as the pace quickens, seems nervous and anxious. Struggle is conveyed by extremes of ranges between soft and loud; the second movement waltz is in 3/5 time and so is hauntingly off kilter all the time.

Law; Lewis; Hiemstra & Green…members of the N.A.O.; post-concert

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“N.A.O. – 30 years young” 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

The opening concert of season 30 was devoted to Mozart and two of his most celebrated compositions; the brief (20 minute) Haffner Symphony and his last opus – Requiem in D minor. After an introductory piece by S.I. Glick entitled ‘Psalm’; the NAO under apprentice conductor Roï Azoulay presented a cohesive opening two movements of the ‘Haffner. The National Academy Orchestra’s three decades of recruiting; selecting; training and presenting the top Canadian musical graduates as a performing ensemble is an extraordinary accomplishment and has been a positive opportunity for over a thousand young men and women.

Laengert; Bogdanowicz; Brott; Ramirez & Lichti performing ‘Requiem’

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“Stravinsky; St. John & the H.P.O.” Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin
Objectivity is a basic precept of criticism or assessment. So, to be impartial when writing about a performer who is also a longtime friend; our evaluation of Lara St. John is a collaboration. Conclusion- she still entrances and mesmerizes her audience. Executing the demanding Korngold violin concerto in D; St. John demonstrated that in addition to a faultless technical talent, she has lost none of the mischievous mannerisms that so endeared her to us pre- NYC and the myriad orchestral solo opportunities she has enjoyed. Like Shauna Roulston, she permits moments of elated animation insert itself into her posture and interpretation.

St. John performing the Korngold violin concerto with the H.P.O.

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“VIMY” recalled by Bach Elgar & guests Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
            On Sunday, the Bach Elgar Choir offered a truly monumental concert for the Centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. They were joined by soprano Jennifer Taverner, mezzo Mia Lennox, tenor Owen McCausland, baritone Geoffrey Sirett, plus the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Regimental Band of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.
The RHLI is one of Canada’s oldest combat regiments, predating Confederation, and they fought in WW I at Ypres, the Somme, Passchendaele and Vimy. Their Regimental Band wears the authentic scarlet uniforms of 1866. They opened the concert with Arthur Bliss’ Fanfare for a Dignified Occasion, a very suitable beginning.

Some HPO musicians & the RHLI band under Rehill’s  baton

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“The course of love (& music) DOES run smooth” for the H.P.O. 1

Review by Danny Gaisin

The Hamilton Philharmonic’s construal of Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and Mendelssohn’s exquisitely memorable composition was a perfect blending of aural & visual experience. This effort was truly an O.A.R. “Top Ten” contender. Not only was the orchestra in faultless form, but the Hamilton Children’s Choir was impeccable and the students of Glendale Secondary were enchanting & delicious in their rendering of ‘Hermia & Lysander’; “Demetrius and Helena”; ‘Titania & Oberon’; plus, all the fairies and particularly the Pyramus/Thisbe interpreters. As usual it was the markedly delightful Robin Goodfellow (Puck) who steals the show. He (or she) is the character with whom I most identify!

Children’s Choir; H.P.O.; & Glendale’s fairies interpreting MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

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