Ben McAteer Wins MyTheatre Award – Outstanding Opera Performance!

Photo by Bill Cooper, featuring Ben McAteer (James)

Who called it?!

Scottish Opera's Ben McAteer just beat out some fierce competition to win Outstanding Opera Performance at the MyTheatre Awards for last season's The Devil Inside! Composed by Stuart MacRae with libretto by Louise Welsh, The Devil Inside was Scottish Opera's North American debut featuring international artists including Matthew Richardson, Michael Rafferty, Nicholas Sharratt, Rachel Kelly, Ben McAteer, and Steven Page.

CONGRATULATIONS to Ben and all involved in bringing this outstanding production to Toronto. We are proud and thrilled.

The Nominees for Outstanding Opera Performance:
Jane Archibald in Ariodante (Canadian Opera Company)Rachel Kelly in The Devil Inside (Tapestry Opera)Ben McAteer in The Devil Inside (Tapestry Opera) - WINNER!Erin Wall in The Marriage of Figaro (Canadian Opera Company)Sondra Radvanovsky in Norma (Canadian Opera Company)Christine Goerke in Siegfried (Canadian Opera Company)

Black Mirror

This is the most intelligent and gripping TV I have watched in years and years. Sorry I missed it when it was first released; glad it's on Netflix now. Devastating and chilling, largely because we're almost there now. (2011, created by Charlie Brooker.)

Interview with Countertenor Scott Belluz

Scott Belluz and Subiksha Rangarajan (as The Woman)  Photo courtesy of Domoney Artists. Used with permission.
In March, countertenor Scott Belluz starred in The Man Who Married Himself, a production by Toronto Masque Theatre in their penultimate season, which the Crow’s Nest website described thus: “Unwilling to marry a woman, a man fashions a lover from his own left side. He's enraptured by her perfect beauty—a mirror of his own—until he discovers that this new woman longs for freedom and wildly desires another. South Asian and Baroque music and performance traditions meet in a stunning new masque based on a traditional Indian folk-tale. Powerful and timely, The Man Who Married Himself is an allegory of the female and male warring within as told by 2 dancers, 3 singers and 6 musicians.” The show was very engaging, with lots of gestural and sensual stimuli, as well as unexpected humour. As someone in the talkback said, unlike most folk-tales, which in general have a moral, the endi…

Around the World Weekend

Photo courtesy of Canstage

This weekend presented me with a lot of cultural worldviews; this post and the following are a sample of the arts I enjoyed.   Kiss caught me off guard; speaking to a friend after, it seemed that, unfortunately, half the audience thought this was a comedy and the political commentary was lost on them and somewhat ruined for us. Shout-outs to the cast. WRITTEN BY Guillermo Calderon
DIRECTED BY Ashlie Corcoran
Dalal Badr
Liza Balkan
Greg Gale
Carlos González-Vío
Naomi Wright
Bahareh Yaraghi
STAGE MANAGER Natasha Bean-Smith

A Man Called Ove(En man som heter Ove, 2015, dir. Hannes Holm)was, happily, not too comedic..…

At the Mod Club on Monday: Jain

I like Jain's video "Come" for its artistry, but this one for "Makeba" is artistically more mature.  
Also check out Robert López dates here. I like "Oye Candelaria."

Good God, we're getting close to 20 years... From a professional (? It doesn't suck.) tributor.
And, just coz I like the shot from Source Code (2011, dir. Duncan Jones) with Jake Gyllenhaal:

Better Than The Killing!

Whoa!! This Belgian show (2016), starring Joann Blanc, will knock your socks off.

Apparently, It's Make Incorrect Assumptions about Foreign Films Week

I thought this was going to be a colder version of The Impossible (2012) and sadly had procrastinated in watching it, but the avalanche (clearly there is no need to raise a spoiler alert) is merely a prop to the action—or lack thereof. The pace is glacial and the mood is tense, and it's not coz you're waiting for another avalanche. This film is about relationship, and I mean that discretely from relationships, because that would have been to easy. Director Ruben Ostlund (2014) is picking at scabs and discomfiting the viewer, yet we're paralyzed with fascination at our own image. He also does very interesting things with music (not just the Vivaldi), and equally with silence, both aural and visual. The Force Majeure here is definitely not made of snow.  Shout out to Ingrid Eng for the excellent subtitles.

Icelandic Gems

This looked like some funny-townsfolk comedy and imdb classifies it as a tragicomedy, but there is precious little to laugh about in Rams (2015, directed by Grímur Hákonarson).This movie is tough going but gorgeous both visually and spiritually. Slow pace and understated performances. No spoilers. The only funny thing is that not only is the dog but the principal sheep are credited by name at the end! Awww.

An excellent TV series is Trapped (2015), a very tight police and family drama, which I won't spoil either. There are twists and turns you won't see coming, but they're all done with that Northern kind of sensibility. Subtle performances that don't need to call attention to themselves to affect. Loved it. 

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I could have sworn I reviewed this but I can't find it here or on Beautiful Feet 1.0... Stumbled upon it and as soon as I saw and heard the E-S-A-R-I-N-T-U-L..., I remembered this wonderful film and watched it all again. Beautiful on so many levels. I appreciated it more this time, now that I knew more about director (2017) Julian Schnabel's work(s).  An absolutely heartbreaking and at the same time inspiring movie about the true mid-life trauma suffered by Jean Dominique Bauby, chief editor of Elle magazine in France in the 90s. Excellent performances by all, including Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Anne Consigny and (2013) Les Beaux Jours' Patrick Chenais (who I know I reviewed but can't locate that post either. Grr.).  After the movie, I read some background of the events from his children's points of view, which was interesting but should not be investigated til after viewing. One amateur reviewer described it as "cerebral," which I guess it is. I…

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