Mahler’s 5th, big composition needs a big orchestra Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin,  May. 12th, ‘19

Gustav Mahler’s 5th symphony is big, glorious; affecting; and serious. Thus, it needs a class ‘A’ orchestra and conductor to properly perform it. The Hamilton Philharmonic and maestra Gemma New certainly accomplished the work’s requirements.
This season’s final concert opened with Claude Vivier’s ORION. First time hearing this piece and quite probably, my last. The seven motifs supposedly represent the stars that make up the constellation – the hunter and his two doggies. Like the myth; Vivier; a flamboyant gay, was murdered in Paris by a young male prostitute just as Orion was condemned for insulting the gods.

Gemma New & Diana Weir, informing the HPO audience about tonight’s special event

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“Ravel & Stravinsky; + Bartok, Prokofiev, & ballet” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin, Apr. 28, ‘19

Under the vision of maestra Gemma New , executive director Diana Weir and the HPO Board, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has evolved into something far more eclectic and audience attractive than we saw under previous administrations. This is obvious from the increase of ‘sold out’ concert situations and also from the noticeable atmosphere emanating from the musicians themselves. Last evening’s event under guest conductor Nathan Brock featured the HPO’s concertmaster Stephen Sitarski performing the violin concerto No. 2 by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece is far less known than the composer’s ‘Peter & the Wolf’ or his opera ‘Alexander Nevsky.

Sitarski under guest HPO conductor Nathan Brocki

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“Skin Flick” another take on Norm Foster’s hit Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin   Apr. 27th ‘19

There is a character in the puppet musical “Avenue ‘Q’ “(Trekkie Monster) who suffixes every zinger piece of dialogue with “And Porn!”. The rhetorical device never gets boring. Same with Norm Foster’s situation comedy SKIN FLICK which we’ve seen more than a few times. The plot deals with a newly unemployed couple and their just-fired photo journalist deciding to make a ‘blue movie’ (porno) to make some quick cash. A singing (& stripping) greeting card girl, and the cameraman’s meek & ingenuous bookie round out the cast.
The ironic misconceptions and double entendres abound and are sure laughs even if they’re obvious and telegraphed.

SKIN FLICK’s Ashley & Greg, Megan, Swenor, & Fortman at rear

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“Sorting IT Out”, a short morality play about ASD Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin   Apr. 26th, ‘19

Autism Spectrum Disorder, ranges from savant to non-verbal and affects about 1% of the population; mostly males. During our years driving school buses; we were consistently given routes that shuttled ‘special needs’ students. We became familiar with both ends of the ambit. Given our familiarity with the syndromes, it always bothered us that such TV shows as ‘Bones’ or ‘Big Bang Theory’ displayed some symptoms for humor rather than understanding. Awareness might lead to understanding but both shows missed an opportunity.
Back in 2007, our friend Lynn Johnston’s cartoon series, ‘For better or For Worse’ described ‘Shannon’ who was autistic.

l-r …Cook, Scott, Esposito & Buzzelli

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5 @ 1st, honouring Canadian women composers Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell    Apr. 14, ’19

Hamilton should be very grateful to Rachel Mercer for frequently offering wonderful new music she has found or commissioned to local audiences. The most recent concert featured compositions by Canadian female composers from the 20th and 21st centuries and included three works especially commissioned by Mercer for the occasion.   The afternoon began with a young artist, 8 year old Azlyn Spleit, playing Felix Borowski’s Adoration on the violin.  She played entirely from memory and with great aplomb, obviously not a bit nervous, and completed the fairly long and difficult piece without a glitch and to appreciative applause.  More…

“Til BETH Do Us Part” comedic fun from the Pen Players Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin      Apr. 6th. ’19

A contemporary American couple; middle-aged and both career-oriented, have run into a snag. She’s over-worked and on-call 24/7 by her London boss; he’s a TV weatherman who procrastinates or just ignores doing his share of the household or stuff in the “Honey Do” jar. Sound familiar?
This old fart found the plot line way too close-to-home for comfort. I have excuses for NOT loading the dishwasher; claim poor eyesight for not seeing a need to dust or vacuum; and rely on dear Terry to make sure there’s always a full roll of T.P. in our bathrooms. I’m not lazy — just tired!

l-r Wouthuis; Miszturak; Nyman; Quirk; Toews & White of  “Til Beth Us Do Part”.

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