Opera review: A clever blend of Baroque and modern in A Synonym for Love at the Gladstone Hotel

Emily Atkinson as Teresa in Volcano Theatre and Classical Music Consort production of A Synonym for Love at the Gladstone Hotel (John Lauener photo).

Take something like an opera, give it something like a staging across four floors of a Victorian hotel, and you either have a treat or a disaster on your hands.

Fortunately for the clever troupe of singers, actors and orchestra musicians having the dramatic time of their lives at the Gladstone Hotel until Aug. 31, their modern English adaptation of George Frideric Handel’s 1707 cantata Clori, Trisi e Fileno, renamed A Synonym for Love, is an unqualified success. Continue reading

DVD Review: Leos Janácek’s music at its most visceral in Salzburg Makropulos Case

A scene from the 2011 Salzburg Festival production of Leos Janácek’s Makropulos Case.

I can’t help thinking that Claudio Monteverdi would smile at the operatic accomplishments of Leos Janácek. Continue reading

Concert review: Shakespeare is immortal but musical settings imperfect in Talisker programme

The Talisker Players at a previous Trinity-St. Paul's Centre concert.

We’re coming up on the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare in 2016. Despite the fact that we would not recognize each other’s worlds, the words he used to navigate his have proved to be not only timeless, but continue to inspire new ways of presenting them to new audiences.

Working together with actor Graham Abbey and his Groundling Theatre Company, as well as mezzo-soprano Norine Burgess, Talisker Players close their musical season at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre with a programme that puts fresh spins on the Bard’s plays and poetry — with mixed results. Continue reading

Tonight: Actor Graham Abbey sees spring of Henry V in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Graham Abbey in the decidedly un-Shakesearean Casino Jack.

One of the spring’s more fascinating small-scale concerts could be the mix of Shakespeare and Antonio Vivaldi being presented by Talisker Players, actor Graham Abbey and his Groundling Theatre Company. Continue reading