by Judith Caldwell
The Bach Elgar Choir gave a performance of Handel’s Messiah to a sold out and appreciative audience at Melrose United Church on Saturday evening. Handel had written many operas to varied responses and was considering retirement when he was asked to write a sacred oratorio to be performed in Dublin. He collaborated with his friend Charles Jennens, an aristocratic man of letters who drew on both the Old and the New Testaments for the text. The debut in Dublin in 1742 was a resounding success and its staying power has been established by continued performances over the last 274 years .
The choir performing “MESSIAH”
Review by Danny Gaisin
On October 31st, 1961, a novice concert writer had his first byline article published in Montreal’s ‘Georgian” newspaper. The subject was the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; the conductor was Zubin Mehta; the opening work was a Verdi overture and the rookie scribe was one Daniel Jesse Gaisin. The kid dared to chastise maestro Mehta for reproving the audience for inopportune applause. Fifty-five years and millions of published words later, I am now the one upset by such ill-conceived behavior. Last night, I once again had the opportunity to hear & critique the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.Fellner performing LVB’s 4th with the OSM & conductor Nagano
Review by Judith Caldwell
A Christmas concert to open the season was held at the ‘Rock on Locke” as part of the Hammer Baroque series, entitled Stella di Natale. It featured Ensemble Alloro and Rezonance Baroque Ensemble. Ensemble Alloro is a duo of voices; Emily Klassen, soprano and mezzo Meagan Zantingh, dedicated ‘to the performance of Baroque Chamber music in intimate settings and to bringing lesser-known works to a larger audience.’ Rezonance Baroque Ensemble is a group which varies per the repertoire and required instrumentation – in this case two violins played by Rezan Onen-Lapointe and Jimin Shin, and David Podgorski’s harpsichord.
Onen-Lapointe; Shin; Podgorski; Klassen & Zantingh – post concert
Review by Terry Gaisin
Six years ago, an off-Broadway musical about the Viet Nam War went mainstream. SHERIDAN’s theatre arts faculty brings all the pathos, transformations, and forced maturity that the war effected. The play is emphasized by song and dance; thus, the dialogue is transitory but exacting and severe. The phrase ‘DOGFIGHT’ usually refers to an aerial battle between fighter planes, but is occasionally used as the male counterpart to a struggle between women. It also represents a cruel U.S. Marine game in which ‘jarheads’ on leave pool funds to award whomever brought the ugliest date to a party.
The marines heading for their ‘Frisco leave; & the girls they want to meet
Review by Danny Gaisin
One of the challenges facing any professional critic is having to review the same presentation without repeating adjectives or worse – repeating an article. I was introduced to SHREK by a Mississauga community theatre ten months ago and adored the ludicrous story line about the recluse whose swamp is invaded by expelled fairytale characters and so must embark on a quest to obtain permanent property rights. Theatre Sheridan’s take is about as entertaining and professional as anything ‘Downtown’ could stage. The singing/acting is non-pareil; the costuming delightful; and the directing -immaculate. Even the off-color bits aren’t disturbing given our era of overly sensitive political correctness.
SHREK & his stage-mates revolving around his ‘swamp’
Review by Judith Robinson
Come From Away, currently playing at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, is a musical pulsing with resilience and hope. First produced at Oakville’s Sheridan College in 2013, the musical went on to sell-out crowds in Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C. In February, it will move to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway. (Ed. note: -First critiqued here as a workshop, then studio performance, see our O.A.R. archive-‘2/15/13)
This Canadian success story chronicles the hosting of nearly 7,000 stranded airline passengers in Gander, Newfoundland during the 9/11 crisis.
The ‘Come From Away’ original workshop cast