Tapestry Opera’s showcase delights and thrills, on stage in Toronto
Tapestry Songbook VII is Tapestry Opera’s annual showcase of scenes from past productions, performed by emerging artists. It’s always an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to new opera for both connoisseurs of the traditional repertoire and complete opera novices. Continue reading Review: Songbook VII (Tapestry Opera)
“Magnificent” Wagnerian opera returns to the Toronto stage
Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Götterdämmerung, the final installment of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, is a remount of their 2006 production. When I saw it 10 years ago, the modern reimagining of this epic legend, in which suited captains of industry stand in for Norse gods and demigods, did not grab me. I am not sure if it’s me or the times that have changed, but I was absolutely entranced by the current production. Continue reading Review: Götterdämmerung (Canadian Opera Company)
The COC’s Magic Flute, on stage in Toronto, is “enchanting, spectacular, and fun”
At first I was confused by the action during the overture in the Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Die Zauberflöte does not typically involve a large household filled with servants and nobility. It is a fantastical romp wherein a young prince and a bird-man set about to rescue a young maiden from the clutches of the high priest of an Egyptian sun cult at the behest of the girl’s mother, the evil Queen of the Night. Continue reading Review: The Magic Flute (Canadian Opera Company)
Seussical is a bold, colourful, fun show for kids and adults alike, on stage in Toronto
Young People’s Theatre’s (YPT) current production of Seussical was a luminous, high-energy romp that delighted young children and grandparents alike. The story by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty amalgamates the story lines of Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches the Egg, beloved classics by Dr. Seuss. The show is filled with lively dances, accessible chorus numbers, and Seussian props and costumes. Continue reading Review: Seussical (Young People’s Theatre)
Tapestry Opera presents a timely tale of racial internment on stage in Toronto
Tapestry Opera’s production of Naomi’s Road at St. David’s Anglican Church is moving, and eerily timely. The opera is based on a book by Joy Kogawa and tells the story of a family torn apart by the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII from the perspective of the family’s youngest member, a little girl named Naomi. Written about ten years ago, the work was developed for children and has toured schools in British Columbia, to great critical acclaim. This is the first time the opera has been performed in Toronto. Continue reading Review: Naomi’s Road (Tapestry Opera)
The Enchanted Loom is a nuanced, layered show exploring the realities of refugees for Toronto audiences
The Enchanted Loom, currently being produced by Cahoots Theatre Company at Factory Theatre, captivatingly explores refugee life at the intersections of politics, health, gender, and family dynamics.
Thangan, the family’s patriarch, was a journalist in Sri Lanka during the civil war, imprisoned for his political writing. Torture while incarcerated has left him with extensive scarring on several areas of his brain, resulting in daily, debilitating epileptic seizures.
Continue reading Review: The Enchanted Loom (Cahoots Theatre Company)
Dido and Aeneas wows Toronto stage vocally, but leaves a bit to be desired story-wise
I was somewhat surprised by Opera Atelier’s decision to mount Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas as their fall 2016 production. From start to finish, this opera is about an hour long, and most opera goers are looking for more than an hour worth of bang for their buck.
Opera Atelier mounts historically informed productions of opera from the 17th and 18th centuries. Their productions are always exceptionally well-researched, and Dido and Aeneas was the very first opera the company ever mounted, in 1985. Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski and Choreographer Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg took advantage of their extensive knowledge of this work to craft a full evening’s entertainment. Continue reading Review: Dido and Aeneas (Opera Atelier)
Canadian Opera Company presents a dramatic, compelling take on Ariodonte in Toronto
In the Canadian Opera Company’s premiere production of Ariodonte, by G.F. Handel, a holy-roller revival comes to town. The revival comes in the form of the sadistic, misogynistic, creeper preacher Polinesso. During the elegant, highly evocative overture, Polinesso pontificates to a rapt audience of villagers on the perils of seductive women of loose virtue. It soon becomes apparent that the true peril is him. Continue reading Review: Ariodonte (Canadian Opera Company)
The latest production by Obsidian Theatre in Toronto fails to impress
Obsidian Theatre is currently producing “Master Harold”…and the Boys by Athol Fugard. “Master Harold” is a white, South African teenager. “The Boys” are two Black South African servants to his household, who have cared for him since birth. Master Harold comes to the café, owned by his family, where “The Boys” now work.
On the surface, the relationship between Master Harold (affectionately called Hally), and Sam and Willie (“The Boys”) is sincere and affectionate. Sam in particular sees himself as Hally’s mentor, a substitute for his drunken, chronically-ill, absentee father. The hatred and contempt that are the inevitable consequence of systemic racial oppression are ultimately exposed. Continue reading Review: “Master Harold”…and the Boys (Obsidian Theatre Company)