Saturday marked the reunion of the Hamilton Philharmonic with Basia Bulat, for the first of this season’s Pops Series. There is something about mixing together more than one type of music which can be very exciting, in the same way that combining various flavours of foods can be. We’ve become used to certain combinations, and know what to expect. A jazz vocalist with an orchestra, for example, is a “flavour” we all enjoy. We operate within a certain comfort level within that tradition, exploring the unique qualities that each vocalist or stylist brings. Sometimes, as in the food analogy, a whole different flavour is created. Put apples & cheese together, and you have an idea of what Bulat and the HPO achieved. It was a fresh, interesting sound that very much appealed to this reviewer, earning a standing ovation from the audience.
Review by Amy McBride
The song cycle “PENELOPE” was mesmerizing from beginning to end! Even after watching, and hearing it performed I am still unsure if I was really there when it happened. The voice of Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) was captivating; somehow subtly voracious, and at the same time incredibly poetic and wondrous. Sarah Kirkland Snider, the composer of this magical story, came up with this idea of loosely basing Penelope on the story of Homer’s Odyssey; modernized into a story of a soldier returning to his wife after 20 years at war. The soldier has suffered brain damage and it seems that the sea that took him to war has finally brought him home to his wife. More…
Review by Danny Gaisin
Toronto: – its’ Taste of the Danforth; the Beaches – renowned jazz Festival; Oakville – ‘Midnight Madness, and HAMILTON — The James St. North ‘CRAWL’! Like those counterparts; ‘The Hammer’ shuts down the street to vehicle traffic and turns it over to 50,000 pedestrians [and oftimes – accompanying pets!] to see, to eat, and be entertained. In spite of our erroneous reputation as a lunch box town, we’ve culture up the kazoo and we display it every September. Today was no exception.
Reviewed by Tony Kilgannon
The folks of the 2012 Brott Festival must have gone home very, very pleased on Thursday night, after their season closer at the McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, and they certainly deserved to. Entitled Finale- The Magnificent Masterpiece, it featured the Verdi Requiem in its entirety, with a full orchestra, massed choir of almost eighty singers, and four exquisite soloists.
Review by Tony Kilgannon
“Rousing Russians” was the theme of the Brott Music Festival event at Mohawk College’s McIntyre Theatre, and the program (obviously) emphasized works by Russian composers. The series’ namesake was not present, but he left the helm of his National Academy Orchestra in the good hands of Guest Conductor Martin MacDonald, with help from apprentice Brendan Hagan.
What a night, and what an orchestra it was! The sound was rich, clear, precise and confident. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing these musicians in two very different venues, and in both situations been impressed with their power and range. More…
Review by Sharon Letovsky
with Mary Lou Hulan
I always take a friend with me when I go to review a production. I like to get someone else’s perspective in addition to my own so I usually take someone who I believe can either relate well to the subject matter or who has some professional performance experience.