It’s been a hard week so far.
I’m heart-broken with the news in my inbox, that Elisa Citterio is leaving Tafelmusik. I can’t help but wonder about the subtexts for this change. Perhaps it’s just the pandemic and its deadly weight.
Citterio seemed to be boldly taking Tafelmusik in a new direction, of which I heartily approved.
In September 2019 we heard a program including Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky.
In October I reviewed the new Vivaldi con Amore CD, a recording that was my constant companion in the first year of the pandemic, including the half-year I was still working at the U of T: playing Vivaldi to cheer me up. It is still one of my 3 favorite CDs that I own.
In 2018 we heard a programme featuring Citterio’s astonishing brilliant reading of Beethoven’s violin concerto and the Pastorale symphony. I went to hear them twice. Amazing.
Let me repeat, that I have no idea what’s behind Citterio’s departure. It could be something personal, such as a health—related choice. Or the cumulative darkness of the pandemic.
I hope she’s okay. I adored her work, but perhaps more importantly I adored the way the orchestra played for her, with her.
I wish her well for the future.
And there’s the small matter of my health. First it was Erika then it was my turn to test positive for COVID. We had tickets to see the Cyrano production at Shaw Festival, on the day of our anniversary. It’s not all bad of course. Shaw staff were delightful on the phone, giving us our money back.
I guess we weren’t the first people to call up reporting that we were too sick to come. Instead we’ll cocoon at home.
And the Canadian Opera Company has announced its new season. We’re going back to seven operas, after a few years of six. Although wait, we only programed three, and actually managed just two this year, with none the year before. So, there is no “normal” anymore.
Pomegranate, a co-production with Vancouver Opera, by composer Kye Marshall and librettist Amanda Hale, is a new work coming in June 2023, described as follows on the COC website:
A fateful trip to Pompeii’s ruins ignites the fantasies of smitten teenagers Suzie and Cass. The pair is transported from 1977 to 79 AD, where sexual freedom can be found in the looming shadow of Mount Vesuvius—but not for long. The timeline shifts to 1981 and the Fly by Night, a Toronto lesbian bar, in the aftermath of the infamous Bathhouse Raids.
As the couple struggles to repair their love in the face of homophobia and an impossible ultimatum, fragments of memory endure, revealing a transcendent love for the ages.
There is also a new production of Verdi’s Macbeth directed by David McVicar featuring Quinn Kelsey in his role debut, opposite Sondra Radvanovsky, conducted by Speranza Scapucci.
The other five productions have been seen before. Next year it’s Egoyan’s Salome, Guth’s Marriage of Figaro, Christopher Alden’s Flying Dutchman, Bizet’s Carmen directed by Joel Ivany, and Puccini’s Tosca directed by Paul Curran. While the three I named by their director rather than the composer are not my favorites, they’re all great works, worth watching.
I recall seeing some negative words last year when they announced the three operas for this season, and I opined that perhaps we should try to imagine programming during the COVID pandemic. Butterfly never got out of her cocoon, squelched by Omicron. Traviata and Flute are taking the stage this month. Whatever my misgivings over Egoyan, Guth and Alden, I welcome live performance.
But speaking of negative: first I need to see an antigen test come up “negative” to allow me to resume theatre & concert going.