Author Archives: barczablog

Simon Banks’ Opera: The Autobiography of the Western World

For me Christmas came early, when I got my hands on Simon Banks’ new book Opera: The Autobiography of the Western World. I mention that because this is the ideal gift for anyone you know who loves opera or who … Continue reading

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Red Velvet history lesson

I feel the need to frame my testimony, reviewing Lolita Chakrabarti’s play Red Velvet at Crow’s Theatre, in the admission that Ira Aldridge, the first black man to portray Othello onstage in London, is almost completely unknown largely because of … Continue reading

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Profoundly Creative Requiem for a Gumshoe

The body count is higher than any superhero movie. But there’s no CGI, no fancy effects. Your imagination is engaged as never before. It may scare you, seeing so much death and contemplating the end of the world in Eldritch … Continue reading

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Popular Tchaikovsky at the TSO

Handel speaks from beyond the grave to remind musicians how he helps pay the rent in a meme. Ballet companies owe Tchaikovsky a similar debt, when families flock to the theatre for The Nutcracker. Popularity can be problematic when it … Continue reading

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Pre-Democracy with Lucio Silla

I had an epiphany watching today’s presentation of Lucio Silla from Opera in Concert in the St Lawrence Centre. In my review of the opening night of Hannah Moscovitch’s Post-Democracy (that opened at the Tarragon Theatre last Thursday) I included … Continue reading

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Post-Democracy at Tarragon Theatre

Theatre sometimes takes us into worlds we don’t like, showing us people we’d avoid, situations we might never encounter otherwise. In some respects theatre is like a conceptual hazmat suit, a way to taste poison without dying. We may cower … Continue reading

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Gay for Pay with Blake and Clay

It’s a funny week, even if nobody seems to remember what “funny” means anymore. I didn’t laugh at Dave Chappelle’s SNL monologue. I walked out of the room during the big announcement the other night (one too many lies) even … Continue reading

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ARC Ensemble plays The Music of Robert Müller-Hartmann

Today I had the exquisite pleasure of a live encounter with the music of Robert Müller-Hartmann, through the ARC Ensemble at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Mazzoleni Concert Hall, playing a program to be broadcast by CBC Radio 2. I’ve … Continue reading

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Peter Oundjian warmly welcomed back to TSO

How could it be otherwise? Peter Oundjian, the Toronto Symphony’s Conductor Emeritus, was greeted with a huge ovation when he came out at Roy Thomson Hall to begin tonight’s concert. We brought his wit to the microphone, cleverly mangling Shakespeare … Continue reading

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Tahara, Royer and SPO play Schubert and Saint-Saëns

Tonight’s Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra was my first live experience of the ensemble, a return to live in person appearances featuring pianist Lisa Tahara conducted by music director Ronald Royer. It’s a pleasant change of pace to have a concert relatively … Continue reading

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