A ‘twofer’ operatic opportunity from the C.O.C. Reply

Review by Michael Piscitelli
This past week, I have been fortunate enough to go to two operas’ in a row. Both were comedic operas that took very different approaches to comedy, of black comedy and slapstick. For Richard Strauss’ 1933 comedic “Arabella”, director Tim Albery tried his hand at making it into a black comedy. Unfortunately, it fell flat, and made it more of a mellow drama (I’m fully aware of my choice of words) than a black comedy. A show about absurd ideas about love, mistaken identity and poor uses of money it’s sure to have many jokes sung throughout the piece.

                             Erin Wall as “ARABELLA”



“Ensemble, Made in Canada”, 1

Review by Judith Caldwell
HCA Concert series offered a dream chamber music concert on the afternoon of October 15th, “Ensemble Made in Canada” – Angela Park, piano; cellist Rachel Mercer; Elissa Lee, violin and Sharon Wei, viola, -plus Scott St. John played two mighty piano quintets. The first half of the program showcased the first quintet for this combination ever written, Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in Eb major. Written for his wife Clara it was first tried out privately with Mendelssohn substituting for a heavily pregnant Clara, who loved it and later performed it many times. 
“Made in Canada”, post-concert More…

Caminos Festival:-plays on identity;culture, language Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Caminos Festival, now in its second year, took place at the Daniels Spectrum in Toronto, October 5-8th. Sponsored by Aluna Theatre, and this year in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, the Festival presents plays that are not only written and performed by Pan-American artists, but also deal with issues of identity, social justice, language, history, and other cultural/personal situations. (Last year, I reviewed Antigonas: Women’s Tribunal, the story of women whose relatives were “disappeared” in the ongoing civil war in Colombia, and also a Maori version of Othello.)

A dramatic on-stage moment


“The Toronto Consort”; guests of Hammer Baroque Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The term ‘baroque’ is defined as irregular or imperfect, but also refers to the 17th to mid 18th century artistic period…especially in music. If not enunciated properly, the meaning refers to impecunious or empty-pocketed…something most of us scribes have suffered! Hamilton’s “Hammer Baroque” organization brought the 45 year-old octet to perform the music and songs associated either directly or contemporary of William Shakespeare’s theatre and England. The group are renowned not only for their vocal & instrumental authenticity, but their making every performance a learning experience – even for the musically enlightened. We, as first-timers were impressed.

The Toronto Consort post-performance in Hamilton.


Voice of the flute – the 5@1st’s opening concert of ’17 Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
The first concert in the 8th season of 5 @ the First series was “The Voice of the Flute” featuring HPO principal flautist Leslie Newman, accompanied by Roman Borys, cello and pianist Jeanie Chung. The afternoon opened with a student of Newman’s – Lisa Han playing Astor Piazzolla’s Tango-Etude #3 for solo flute. This difficult and interesting piece was very well played by Han, but the flute was a slim sounding instrument to convey the passion of tango, although it did marvellously well in the haunting, longing passages. Han is only in Grade 12 and is obviously a musician to watch. 

The ‘Voice of the Flute’ musicians – post-concert


Well worth “WAITING FOR GODOT,” even after many years.” Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
I attended this performance with a friend who acted in the play in university; he says that, even after many years, he still discovers new meanings.Soulpepper’s current production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, directed by Daniel Brooks, is well worth seeing, both for people, like me, who love the play, have seen it several times, and enjoy noting the variations in production, and for new audiences. It is a play that needs to be experienced, rather than understood intellectually. Each production shows me a new facet of the play, as well as recalling familiar lines and actions.

a dramatic moment while “Waiting for Godot”