The Gulencos & an evening of classical music at Mac 5

Review by Judith Caldwell

Larisa and Alexei Gulenco presented a demanding program for two pianos, in this case two Steinway’s, in the new L. R. Wilson Concert Hall at McMaster University.  The 350 seat Hall is a welcome addition to the Hamilton entertainment scene.  The acoustics are excellent delivering a wonderful clarity of sound; plus the size is perfect for concerts and recitals.
The Gulenkos are a husband and wife team who each have impressive credentials.  Alexei received his original musical training in Russia where he won the Rachmaninoff competition, then the Jose Iturbi competition in Spain and the Liszt in Italy.

the Gulenco’s – post concert


“HARLEM DUET” explores racism, past & present Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe

Djanet Sears’ powerful “rhapsodic blues tragedy, “ Harlem Duet, is onstage at the Tarragon again, 21 years after its world premiere there. The play received Dora, Chalmers and Governor-General’s Awards, and was the first script by a black Canadian produced at Stratford Festival (2006); it has also been produced in New York.
I did not see earlier productions, but seeing it now, I find the play relevant for today and (like Shakespeare and Greek tragedy) for all times. The playwright asks the question, “Who would Shakespeare’s character Othello be if he were alive today…in my world?” As in the blues, the play has a musical, linear and non-linear quality.   Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Stephens-Thompson & Borden in HARLEM DUET


“Gemma New’s HPO aces Brahms” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Saturday’s Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s opening 2018-’19 season epitomizes the old “A-Team” slogan about a plan coming together. The works performed; the guest soloist and the published list for the rest of the season were, & are – terrific.
The opening work was Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3; (of four). It initiates the opera Fidelio in which the main character uses the title as her pseudonym in order to become a prison guard and thus help her beloved escape. Maestra New’s interpretation had a slow and understated introduction so dramatic as to have me close my eyes to thus enhance the aural drama being experienced.

Crozman & New’s HPO interpreting Elgar’s cello concerto


Hammer Baroque offers THE REZONANCE ENSEMBLE Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The REZONANCE (sic) ENSEMBLE are a five-piece chamber quintet whose interest and emphasis is the post-Renaissance period of the 17th century. Among the stars of the era were Telemann, Corelli, Scarlatti, Pergolasi and a certain J.S. Bach.. For their Hammer Baroque concert at Melrose United, they and soloist Vania Chan selected work by Frederick Handel whose compositional lifetime spanned the first half of the eighteenth century.
Soprano Chan opened the afternoon with Morgana’s aria ‘Tornami a vagheggiar’ from Handel’s “Alcina”. Morgana is the sister of the eponymous character and is a desert temptress out to capture Ruggiaro’s heart.

Chan & the ensemble l-r Richards,Onen-Lapointe,Podgorski,Morton & Antal


“The Magician’s Nephew” or having to learn stuff Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, assisted by Henry & Jaron – also Wikipedia®
Nobody told me that reading the Narnia Chronicles, especially The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe is a necessity if one is to follow and understand C.S. Lewis’ THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW. Fortunately, I was able to enlist two American visitors; Henry, aged 12 & Jaron who is 17 to decode and explain what SHAW Festival’s head honcho Tim Carrroll seems able to decipher. Seems that the seven Narnia Chronicles are NOT about an AMAZONtm warehouse shipping operation, even though boxes and the cuttings thereof are the major on-stage operations. Michael O’Brien’s adaptation of ‘Nephew’ is being premiered by the Festival.  Photo by Emily Cooper

Matt Nethersole transporting Sears & Seetoo. Wonder if he also cleans out eavesdrops!


“Hound of the Baskervilles”; drollery, my dear Watson! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
Conan Doyle’s eponymous turn-of-the 20th century CSI-type detective Sherlock Holmes leaps off the book pages as a cheerless didactic with highly pedantic mannerisms. In other words, an arrogant and irritating Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon. Perhaps we, and the dictionary should have a new adjective – “Sheldonistic”.
In this year’s SHAW interpretation under the direction of
Craig Hall, liberties are taken but given that Doyle died before Hall (or even I) was born; impropriety surely can’t be litigated. Thus, Hall and his dynamite cast have envisioned an opportunity to substantially lighten an almost science-fiction drama into a comedic possibility. It’s a hoot…also a howl!

Reid & Atkins aka Watson & Holmes —“the game’s afoot”