Review by Ursula Erasmus
The Brott Summer Festival is selectively eclectic – classical; popular; operatic and jazz. A splendid way to spend a summer evening, on a soulful tour across cultures and emotions with Dominic Mancuso and his group. The repertoire wound its way through the world of experience we all share, with a combination of laid back ease and deeply connected energy. Dominic is a story teller and an empath, with the themes and characters of the stories emerging through the variety of instruments and Dominic’s rich voice. The fish salesman’s attempts to coax the interest of a lovely woman conveyed the pent-up expectation of the moment. the stories made the evening personal and relatable.
Singer/composer Dominic Mancuso (center) and his group
Review by Judith Caldwell
The second concert in the Brott Music Festival was called Terrific Tchaikovsky and terrific it was. Two very different Tchaikovsky compositions were on the program plus a Youth Overture by Airat Ichmouratov, a Russian/Canadian contemporary composer.
The evening began with Tchaikovsky’s mighty Symphony No. 6 in B-minor, the Pathetique. a work in four movements of extreme inner struggle. It begins with a mournful Adagio that instead of becoming livelier as the pace quickens, seems nervous and anxious. Struggle is conveyed by extremes of ranges between soft and loud; the second movement waltz is in 3/5 time and so is hauntingly off kilter all the time.
Law; Lewis; Hiemstra & Green…members of the N.A.O.; post-concert
Review by Judith Robinson
Michael Hollingworth’s, play, Confederation & Riel, paints a portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald never before seen on a Canadian stage. While the founding father’s foibles are infamously familiar, actor Richard Clarkin leaves the stereotyped caricature far behind, and guides the Prime Minister into the territory of a brilliant, scheming statesman.
In this VideoCabaret/Soulpepper production, Macdonald’s every gesture, comment, and excess mannerism, becomes infinitely believable. It is not difficult to accept that in Macdonald’s winks and jokes, a confederacy was initiated. Equally skillful is Linda Prystawska’s portrayal of nine characters, male and female, young and old, from Macdonald’s wife, to a revolutionary Fenian, to Sir Alexander Galt.
Review by Danny Gaisin
The opening concert of season 30 was devoted to Mozart and two of his most celebrated compositions; the brief (20 minute) Haffner Symphony and his last opus – Requiem in D minor. After an introductory piece by S.I. Glick entitled ‘Psalm’; the NAO under apprentice conductor Roï Azoulay presented a cohesive opening two movements of the ‘Haffner. The National Academy Orchestra’s three decades of recruiting; selecting; training and presenting the top Canadian musical graduates as a performing ensemble is an extraordinary accomplishment and has been a positive opportunity for over a thousand young men and women.
Laengert; Bogdanowicz; Brott; Ramirez & Lichti performing ‘Requiem’
Opinion by Terry & Danny Gaisin
Having enjoyed & recommended the Toronto Fringe offering by David Hein & Irene Sankoff about ‘My Jewish Lesbian Wiggan mother’s Wedding’, we couldn’t miss the duo’s Sheridan College Workshop about the post- 9/11 Gander NFLD’ers response to detoured flights to their local airport. The musical interpretation in April of 2012 was a little shaky but the overall message and visual interpretation had an impact…especially given our own identification with the events of that morning and subsequent involvement. Ten months later, the team had tweaked and polished the original including the omission of a scene that specifically seemed touching.
Original workshop cast of “COME FROM AWAY”
Review by Danny Gaisin
Every experienced critical columnist will admit that writing about kids is anathematic. Even being objective is rife with danger. An unbiased review in keeping with the writer’s credibility reports on flaws; the editor can expect poisoned-pen letters saying “The kid was amazing… even the obvious flaws were cute…and besides, his or her parents were divorcing or separating or the child wasn’t feeling well! So, like all my counterparts, when a request for a child-oriented column is offered, the closet; bathroom; under the desk or a storage area is immediately sought out. Unless it includes one’s own grandkids or great-grandkids.
One of the younger classes interpreting ” “He’s So Fine”