Review by Sylvie Di Leonardo
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony previewed its seventy-first season at the Centre in the Square. The evening’s program featured thirteen selections from the upcoming season, and introduced the symphony’s many newcomers to their outreach and education initiatives. Patrons new to the symphony will find a lot to love this season. The audience welcomed pieces from this year’s Yuletide Spectacular and the Skating’s Greatest Hits series, which will host three-time Olympian and Canadian skating icon Kurt Browning this weekend. Patrons can expect a lively program, featuring pieces from Phantom of the Opera, Swan Lake, Casablanca, and Carmen along with original footage of the award-winning routines. *
the Kitchener-Waterloo orchestra in a preview performance
Review by Danny Gaisin
The first visual change that newly appointed HPO conductor has made was in the orchestral layout. About eight years ago, debate within the concert community took place over the concept of having the violins situated to the left of the podium, or a return to the pre-20th century notion favored by Tchaikovsky; Mahler and even Beethoven; that the first and second sections should be at opposing sides; the OSM’s Nagano; London’s Haitink and Levine of the Boston Symphony prefer splitting: – Detroit’s Slatkin takes an opposing opinion. Maestra Gemma New also has repositioned the celli and violas plus moving the basses next to percussion.
Goodyear interpreting Brahms with the HPO
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.
Sara Davis Buechner; post-performance
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.
Conductor Brott & a certain ‘Star Wars’ character
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.
the soloists taking well-deserved kudos