Blood Brothers; impacting & visceral Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, assisted by J.J. Gerber*

My original emphasis as a newspaper writer reflected an interest in classical music. Within that particular genus, the conductor is where the buck stops. Naturally, when analyzing theatre presentations I instinctively look at the corollary – the director. Terry Tweed’s staging of BLOOD BROTHERS shoots for impact and she succeeds. Like “Oklahoma” upstairs, this effort has – by word-of-mouth alone, become a no-seats-availablehit. The only blemish; the Mrs. Lyons character somehow fails to demonstrate any real maternal interest or feeling. Surprising, because the basis of the Russell story is her supposed desire for progeny, hence her insistent pressuring to split up her maid’s upcoming twins. More…

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M.S.O.; Third audition concert Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The third candidate aspiring to the podium of the Mississauga Symphony is Misha Roháč; a Torontonian conductor whose background is Czechoslovakian. Understandably, the program featured two works by Smetana; three dances from his ‘Bartered Bride’, and the Sarka from Ma Vlast. This latter work translates as My Fatherland and is an excerpt from his Moldau suite. Another excerpt from Moldau is the melody for ‘Hatikvah’; Israel’s National Anthem which means ‘The Hope’. Both works carry a strong emotional yet musical theme.

Roháč’s style is somewhat posturizing; his address to the audience repetitious and non-educational, but his control of the orchestra is obvious. There were some discernible technical blunders in the first two works, but not noticeable for the remainder of the concert. The maestro is focused and almost pedantic in exhorting his version and arrangement from his musicians. More…

H.P.O., a Valentine preamble Reply

Review by Kim Wessel

The Hamilton Philharmonic’s Masterworks Series continued tonight with Jamie Sommerville at the helm.  We were given quite an evening of music, inspiration & were excited to hear “Berlioz: Queen Mab Scherzo from Roméo et Juliette”.  One wonders if anyone hasn’t heard this before: – the dream sequence… a light whimsical start to tonight’s performance, musically carrying the audience to another time and place where magic and fairies abounded.  The horns showed the darker side of the Queen; her mischief if you will, while the strings helped to keep us on the edge of our seats.  This was truly an amazing start to the evening. We were also given the opportunity to hear Debussy’s (orch. Caplet): Clair de Lune.  Of course it is classic Debussy no matter who you are.  Originally a piano piece, it has been re-scored for orchestra, and tonight was played to perfection.  It quite simply took my breath away. More…

Our Country’s Good; title needs some ‘splaining, Luci Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin

Nope, the ‘good’ is not a Stephen Harper descriptive article- for clarity the title would be more meaningful if written “…for our Country’s good (or benefit!)”.  Wertenbaker’s play based on the Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List) novel retells an incident in the early days of the down under British development as a penal colony to be peopled by England’s undesirables. As a premature psychological experiment, the gaolers permit the inmates to learn; then perform, a contemporary comedic play. Thus, a play within a play and Theatre Erindale has scored a triumph with both.

Director Patrick Young presents the story as connected scene vignettes that look at the experience from three different aspects…George IV’s Royal marines; the harshly treated draconically sentenced criminals; and the aboriginal community. Most of the cast perform in two or more of these diverse categories; and perform they do – superlatively. Photo courtesy of Jim Smagata; Erindale More…

Oakville Ensemble – Heart to Heart Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

reviewer_JudithThe Oakville Ensemble under the direction of artistic director Stephane Potvin presented a concert of  songs about love entitled “Heart to Heart” at St. John’s Church in Oakville. An unfortunately sparse audience heard this group of professional singers expertly render these songs à Capella. The eight males & six females of the group have voices which blend beautifully and they enunciate texts clearly.

Maestro Potvin, in his introduction, said the songs presented were like a box of chocolates for the audience—many as expected with a few surprises in store.  Most of the works came from the 16th and 17th centuries with two later works. The evening began with “Venite populi terrae” a beautiful blending of complicated harmony in which the sopranos had exceptional clarity. More…

K-W.S. & guests – tribute those Beatles Reply

Review by Amy McBride

Tonight was my first night back reviewing the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony since last season, and the concert was electric. The Classical Magical Mystery Tour: Music of the Beatles had the audience fully participating and calling for an encore- which turned out to be 4 more songs. The evening started off with an orchestral mash-up of some memorable Beatles tunes, including ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’;For the Benefit of Mr. Kite”, and ‘Let It Be’, …as usual the orchestra performed amazingly. The opening number was probably the only time that the orchestra performed as a unit; the four-man “Beatles” band took over for the rest of the evening.

John Lennon (Jim Owen), Paul McCartney (Tony Kishman), George Harrison (John Brosnan), and Ringo Star (Chris Camilleri) not only look like the Beatles but also sounded much like them vocally. They obviously have fun with their show and the audience was wrapped up in the excitement of the night. More…