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Showing posts from 2017

The Return/Il Ritorno

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They've lost the clown noses but The Return by Circa was an exquisite blend of insanely talented circus art with drama and live Italian baroque chamber music and opera accompaniment. As usual, CanStage brought in innovative programming (and, as usual, some dope brought in their ringing cell phone). At one point, I just sat there being so grateful for the gift of art in my life. Lovely.
CREATED BYYaron Lifschitz with Quincy Grant and the Circa EnsembleMUSIC BY Monteverdi, Grant, Mahler, Pisador and traditionalDIRECTOR Yaron LifschitzCOMPOSITION/MUSICAL DIRECTION/ARRANGEMENTS Quincy GrantCIRCA ENSEMBLE Nathan Boyle
Marty Evans
Nicole Faubert
Bridie Hooper
Nathan Knowles
Todd Kilby
Cecilia MartinOPERA SINGERS Kate Howden
Benedict Nelson MUSICIANSPal Banda (Cello)
Joe Bronstein (Violin & Viola)
Natalie Murray-Beale (Musical Director, Piano, Harpsichord)
Cecilia de Santa Maria (Harp)TECHNICAL DIRECTION/LIGHTING DESIGN Jason OrganSTAGE DESIGN Yaron Lifschitz
Jason OrganCOSTUME DESIGN Libby McDonnellPHOT…

TOSCA: Childhood Memories of CCOC

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COC PRODUCTION Giacomo Puccini Set in Rome amid the turbulence of the Napoleonic Wars, Tosca is a tense psychological drama of passion and betrayal. Floria Tosca, a famous singer, murders Scarpia, the vicious chief of police, to save her beloved Cavaradossi. But Scarpia’s schemes outlive him with cruel and fatal consequences. CAST AND CREATIVE TEAMSToscaAdrianne Pieczonka/Keri Alkema*Cavaradossi Marcelo Puente/Kamen Chanev*Scarpia Markus Marquardt/Craig Colclough*AngelottiMusa NgqungwanaA Sacristan Donato di StefanoSpolettaJoel SorensenSciarrone Giles TomkinsA JailerBruno RoyConductor:  Keri-Lynn WilsonDirector:Paul CurranSet Designer and Costume Designer:Kevin KnightLighting Designer:David Martin JacquesChorus Master:Sandra Horst *May 7, 11, 14, 18, 20, 2017 Adrianne Pieczonka as Tosca in Tosca (COC, 2012). Photo: Michael Cooper

Meeting and Endings at CanStage (Berkeley St.)

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SPOTLIGHT AUSTRALIA meetingDIRECTED, CHOREOGRAPHED & PERFORMED BY Antony Hamilton

Hootlet More Don't know how 2 describe what I just saw except 64 computerized tapping pencils & 2 Aussie dancers. Insanely cool


CONCEPT, TEXT & PERFORMANCETamara Saulwick
SONG-WRITER & PERFORMERPaddy Mann

Louis Riel at COC

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LOUIS RIELBy Harry SomersLibretto by Mavor Moore with the collaboration of Jacques Languirand Russell Braun was excellent.

More Bosch!

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Canadian StageOne of the best pieces I have seenCHOREOGRAPHYMarie Chouinard
ORIGINAL MUSICLouis Dufort
SET, COSTUME, LIGHTING, VIDEO DESIGN, PROPSMarie Chouinard

Duo Art Exhibition - Yaniv Hason & Shlomi Amiga

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A show by Fay Ringel & Alex Correia, Founders
ZEBRA PUBLIC ART MGMT.
www.ZebraPublicArt.com 2 St. Clair Avenue West, 18th Floor Toronto, ON M4V 1L5 Phone:416.505.6459| Email: Info@ZebraPublicArt.com
So ticked that I had to work and miss this! Next time.

Ben McAteer Wins MyTheatre Award – Outstanding Opera Performance!

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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

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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

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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

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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
CAST
Dalal Badr
Liza Balkan
Greg Gale
Carlos González-Vío
Naomi Wright
Bahareh Yaraghi
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR/SOUND DESIGNER Christopher Stanton
SET DESIGNER Jung-Hye Kim
COSTUME DESIGNER Jackie Chau
LIGHTING DESIGNER Rebecca Picherack
PROJECTION DESIGNER Alex Williams
ARABIC TRANSLATION/LANGUAGE COACHS alma Al Atassi
STAGE MANAGER Natasha Bean-Smith
APPRENTICE STAGE MANAGER Lucy McPhee
PRODUCER (THEATRE SMASH) Stacey Norton
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Cody McCallum
PRODUCTION MANAGER Peter Eaton

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

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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!

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

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

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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

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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

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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…

Netflix Recos

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Juana Inés
Fauda

Ainsi Soient-Ils

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Pas de quatrième saison!   :(

Cirque Éloize at CanStage

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Fresh, humorous, creative, artistic and way more engaging than Cirque du Soleil, which seems a little OTT now. Artistry and strength and guts. Really excellent entertainment!

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CO-DIRECTORJeannot Painchaud
CO-DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHERDave St-Pierre
SET DESIGNER, ILLUSTRATOR, VIDEO PROJECTIONS DESIGNERRobert Massicotte
COMPOSERStéfan Boucher
ACROBATIC DESIGNER OF BANQUINE & TEETERBOARD ACTS & HEAD COACHKrzysztof Soroczynski
LIGHTING DESIGNERNicolas Descoteaux
COSTUME DESIGNERLiz Vandal
VIDEO PROJECTIONS CO-DESIGNERAlexis Laurence
PHOTOPatrick Lazic

Five Faces for Evelyn Frost

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Photo: canadianstage.com
It's obvious why this generation is experiencing so much anxiety and depression. This is an excellent commentary on identity and social media at Canadian Stage in English or French (see website for details). A CO-PRODUCTION WITH THÉÂTRE FRANÇAIS DE TORONTO. FEB 14 - MAR 5 (ENGLISH) MAR 21-25 (FRENCH).
CASTLaurence Dauphinais
Steffi DiDomenicantonio
Tara Nicodemo
Nico Racicot
Alex Weiner 
PLAYWRIGHTGuillaume Corbeil
TRANSLATORSteven McCarthy
DIRECTORClaude Poissant
LIGHTING DESIGNMartin Labrecque
MUSICNicolas Basque
SET DESIGNMax-Otto Fauteux
PHOTOGRAPHERJanicke Morissette
WARDROBEPhilippe Massé
STAGE MANAGERNatalie Gisèle
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGERJocelyn McDowell
PRODUCTION PICTURESJean–François Brière
CREATION & SURTITLES OPERATIONMelanie Hall

More Time Warp Than ESP: Déja Vu

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With the same director (Tony Scott, 2006) and score composer (Harry Gregson-Williams) as The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009), this is like Inception and other time-space-continuum-manipulation films, but in N'awlins. Interesting backstory re:post-Katrina production on imdb. Some theological points touched on (see Patheos' brief take on it) and of course a Hollywood ending, but def my cup o' tea. 

5 1/2 Hours of Wagner

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Götterdämmerung by Wagner
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAMSSiegfriedAndreas SchagerBrünnhildeChristine GoerkeHagenAin AngerAlberichRobert PomakovFirst NornLindsay AmmannWaltraute/Second Norn Karen CargillGutrune/Third NornIleana MontalbettiGuntherMartin GantnerWoglindeDanika LorènWellgundeLauren EberweinFlosshildeLindsay AmmannConductor:  Johannes DebusDirector:Tim AlberyProduction Designer:  Michael LevineLighting Designer:David FinnChoreographer:Patti PowellChorus Master: Sandra HorstWith the COC Orchestra and Chorus A Canadian Opera Company production Banner image: (l-r) Robert Pomakov and Ain Anger in Götterdämmerung (COC, 2017), photo by Michael Cooper.
We are shameless Robert Pomakov fans, both at the Four Seasons Centre or at his bar, Opera Bob's. Ain Anger was also excellent. Loved the whole production: no falling asleep in this one!