Bach Elgar Choir does Gilbert & Sullivan Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
The Bach Elgar Choir, plus soloists Julie Ludwig, soprano, mezzo Jennifer Enns-Modolo, Thomas Macleay, tenor and baritone Jesse Clark presented a wonderful, fun evening of Gilbert & Sullivan at the Cotton Factory on Sherman. The evening began with accompanist Krista Rhodes and conductor Alexander Cann playing the Overture from the Mikado as a piano duet. This established the bare bones approach, high lighting accomplished musicianship, which characterized the evening. Rhodes is often overlooked when it comes to accolades because she is frequently not noticed, so it was a real treat to hear her in the duet.

The Bach Elgar choir doing some “G & S” excerpts

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“Anything Goes”, (and keeps on going) Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
During the recent Olympics, there was a kerfuffle over judging. Seems a skater received less points than a competitor that actually fell on the ice. The refs explained that marking was done on the basis of undertaken difficulty; same thing happens with theatrical critiquing.
McMaster’s Musical Theatre decided to stage the Cole Porter durable creation
ANYTHING GOES deserves an unsharpened pencil; because putting on a demanding big cast; big crew, Broadway musical is daunting enough without having to face a tough reviewer.  The 1934 play is based on a Wodehouse & Bolton story with Porter writing both the music and the lyrics.

The passengers & crew of USS America, for whom “Anything Goes”

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Harry – Hope of the British Monarchy Reply

Review by Judith Robinson

Perhaps it is time that Prince Charles gets his shot at becoming king. And he almost gets his chance in Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III. But David Shurmann’s pompous and pedantic, mock Shakespearian speeches, in the Mirvish/Theatre 180 production in Toronto, are enough to drive the commoners to riot. Schurmann’s Charles makes the monarchy seem moldy and moth-eaten, and ripe for overthrowing.
Although many of the lines are funny and witty, most of Bartlett’s characters seem one dimensional. Even with the breadth of experience and fine acting ability of the twelve actors in the cast, it’s hard to bring something out of a script that isn’t there.
Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann                                                                 l-r Galligan; Schumann & Powell in CHARLES III
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“Haydn; an HPO week & a culminating concert, Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

It occasionally surprises me as to the way things connect. My original interest in Joseph Haydn wasn’t his compositional talent…it was his connection to the Esterhazy family and especially Ferdinand Esterhazy who was the actual traitor for whose crimes Alfred Dreyfus was sent to Devil’s Island. Zola’s “J’Accuse”was collegiate compulsory reading. That the man had written 14 masses; 5 operas; 22 arias; 125 symphonies; 30 concerti & 77 string quartets; 40 piano trios ; 66 wind & string pieces etc. obviously tweaked my curiosity. Quite an output for six decades! Socially, the man married the sister of his lover and lived unhappily ever after.

The bassoon soloist Eric Hall performing with the HPO

 

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Windermere String Quartet –part of the Hammer Series Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell

As part of the Hammer Baroque series of concerts the Windermere String Quartet played three string quartets by teenaged composers. The concert was called ‘Young Blood’ and featured Mozart, Arriaga and Schubert. The players of the Windermere String Quartet, Elizabeth Loewen Andrews & Michelle Odorico, violins, Anthony Rapoport, viola and cellist Laura Jones, were seated in the centre of the room with the near capacity audience circled around them. This gave the concert an air of being in a large living room, which is how these works would have been originally heard.
Mozart was 17 when he wrote a String Quartet in B flat (K172).

The members of Windermere Quartet, performing

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“The Cradle Will Rock”, a thespian challenge Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Marc Blitzstein’s 1937 dramatic musical THE CRADLE WILL ROCK is a Brechtian attempt to shine a spotlight on the socio/political manipulations of the Great Depression by the industrial barons of the time. Their stooges were the bribable courts; churches and Governments. Obviously nothing like today! We’re all familiar with the term ‘Cradle’; but in the title’s context it refers to ‘support’ or a ‘framework’, and that’s what the playwright sought to weaken. The original performance was directed by Orson Welles and starred both the writer and Will Geer; a famous socialist of his time, best remembered as TV’s Grandpa Walton.

the cast of Sheridan’s THE CRADLE WILL ROCK

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