The season opens on Oct. 6 with slapstick comedy as company artistic director Guillermo Silva-Marin casts himself as the embattled theatre director in an adaptation of Mozart’s 1786 Singspiel, Der Schauspieldirektor.
Continuum Contemporary Music at the Music Gallery, 8 p.m.
Taking advantage of its strong links with new music presenters in Holland, Continuum opens its season with the world premiere of a fascinating-sounding work of music theatre by Dutch composer Martijn Voorvelt centred around Sir Morell MacKenzie and his laryngeal ministrations to a dying German Emperor Frederick III. Also on the programme is a witty piece by Vancouver composer Christopher Butterfield and the premiere of a newly commissioned work from Linda Catlin Smith. Brian Current conducts. Mezzo Marion Newman and tenor Christopher Mayell are the vocal guests. Find all the details here.
I spent most of the ride to Kingston trying to control my blinking. I don’t want to scare people. They already expect weird things from journalists, but I always maintain high standards of appearance and behaviour to correct the stereotype of us as boozing half-starved apes. Unfortunately I had been up until dawn drinking and digging for beetles to eat. And now it was raining. Or I was crying, I’m not sure. Functionally non-human, I hurtled towards Kingston in a grey damp tunnel. It was hopeless—there was nothing to look forward to, the concert was Ravel and Schumann with Dvorak after for those who endured the first half. If I had been able to stand up, I should have thrown myself from the train.
Trumpeters Ted Clark and Michael Fedyshyn, trombonist Megan Hodge, French horn Olivia Brayley and tuba player Jennifer Stephen are busy, top-level freelancers (Hodge, for example, regularly works with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) that don’t get out nearly enough as the Toronto Brass Quintet.
A glance at their programs over the years indicates the stimulating range of themes they have chosen throughout the seasons, from the poignancy of loss captured under the theme of Time & Tide, to the mystery of sleep and dreams in an evening entitled Starry Night.
“I wonder if it’s any more straightforward preparing this piece for the first time in your early 50s?” asks Halls, rhetorically. “It’s a monumental work and it demands a lot of absorption, a lot of thought and a lot of study and lots of time.”
Between visiting Finnish conductor John Storgaards, violin soloist Sarah Chang, the orchestra’s own fine playing and an intense program of works by Jean Sibelius, Dmitri Shostakovich and Ludwig van Beethoven, this turned into an ideal night at the symphony.