Classic Opera Revels in “Fluff and Nonsense,” now on the Toronto stage
Much of the music of The Barber of Seville (Gioachino Rossini, 1816) is familiar to me from the iconic Bugs Bunny sketch “Rabbit of Seville” and constitutes one of my earliest exposures to opera. It is clear when watching Canadian Opera Company’s current production that the rascally rabbit took notes on comedic genius from Rossini and librettist Cesare Sterbini. Two hundred years later, this quintessential opera buffa is still effervescent hilarity. Continue reading Review: Barber of Seville (Canadian Opera Company)
While I have probably been exposed to more theatre and performance art than the average person, I was today years old when I discovered that modern dance clowning was a thing.
KNOWN by Jennifer Dallas merges sophisticated choreography, physical comedy, and Commedia dell’arte character studies into a unique, spirit-lifting performance art experience. Continue reading KNOWN (Kemi Comtemporary Dance Projects)
Spongebob Squarepants musical brings Bikini Bay to Toronto
I was excited about taking my seven-year-old son to The SpongeBob Musical, but not sure what I would think myself. I am of an age where I was too old to be interested in SpongeBob when it first became a thing and was surprised that the franchise was still popular when I eventually had a child who was old enough to start watching the show. I have heard bits and pieces of the goings-on in Bikini Bottom while I do housework, but have never sat down for an episode. Continue reading Review: The SpongeBob Musical (Meridian Hall)
“Riotously funny” Figaro adaptation is a “must see” in Toronto
Figaro’s Wedding, Against the Grain Theatre‘s remount of their critically acclaimed 2013 production, provides a much needed 21st century facelift to one of the most beloved operas of all time, Le nozze di Figaro. Da ponte’s libretto is full of fluff and nonsense, with a large pinch of subtle (and not so subtle) class critique. However, there are plot points that don’t time travel well, and jokes that are simply not funny to modern sensibilities.
AtG artistic director Joel Ivany’s adaption in modern English cleverly retains the main plot points of the original work and incorporates most of the opera’s iconic musical numbers. But Ivany’s version departs from the original at leisure to tell a very familiar modern-day tale of a millennial wedding beset by family drama, financial woes, and questionable friends. Continue reading Review: Figaro’s Wedding (Against the Grain Theatre)
Ballet ‘sampler’ perfect for old hats and newcomers alike
Citadel Dance Mix 2019 is like a sample platter of contemporary ballet, showcasing the choreography of three local dancers, Syreeta Hector, Christianne Ullmark, and Nova Bhattacharya. Their styles are highly contrasting and the themes explored are varied, creating a good opportunity for newcomers to modern ballet to experience the diversity of expression that is possible. Suffice it to say, it is a far cry from The Nutcracker or Swan Lake. Continue reading Review: Citadel Dance Mix 2019 (Citadel+Compagnie)