Category Archives: Popular music & culture

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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Sarah Polley – Run Towards the Danger

I have just finished reading Sarah Polley’s Run Towards the Danger, a book like none I’ve ever read before. It might be the most authentic autobiography I’ve ever encountered. Except that it’s not an autobiography. I notice too that while … Continue reading

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Moving memoir from Molly

I’m re-reading Hello Molly, the memoir of Molly Shannon. It’s likely a bestseller mainly because of the fame of its author, a star on Saturday Night Live from 1995-2001. But I didn’t expect to be so moved, reading the book … Continue reading

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Philip Glass: The Complete Piano Etudes

Do you compartmentalize? I ask because it’s common, a given in a modern life. Whether we’re speaking of the things we do for work-life balance, as part of an artistic discipline or simply to get through a busy day, it’s … Continue reading

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Who’s Afraid of Titus? Sky Gilbert isn’t.

The title Who’s Afraid of Titus? has at least three meanings I can see. 1: Performers who fear that audiences won’t come see an unfamiliar play. 2: Professors (Shakespeare theorists) confused by a play that doesn’t fit the usual template. … Continue reading

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TSO + Rajaton = ABBA

This week the Toronto Symphony under their pops conductor Steven Reineke presented three concerts of the music of ABBA featuring Rajaton, the Finnish vocal ensemble. While they describe themselves as an a cappella ensemble –singing their vocals accompanied—it was electrifying … Continue reading

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The Mel Brooks Songbook

Happy Birthday Mel Brooks. He turned 96 today. And no joke, there really is a Mel Brooks Songbook. When I picked it up from the shelf in the Indigo bookstore I was a bit disbelieving myself. Mel Brooks, songwriter? The … Continue reading

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Art Canada Institute presents Kent Monkman

The title of the lecture was “Art Canada Institute presents: The Making of a Masterpiece– Kent Monkman.” Monkman is an enormous star, famous far beyond the immediate milieu of art dealers and galleries. But I have no real idea who … Continue reading

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CCOC Alice in Wonderland

Today I watched an outdoor performance of Alice in Wonderland presented by the Canadian Children’s Opera Company. Over the past few weeks it’s been a joy to see productions that signal a return by many companies forced to the brink … Continue reading

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Kyle McDonald talks about Conan and Mightier Productions

Kyle McDonald and Mightier Productions premiere a new opera on May 5th, titled Conan and the Stone of Kelior. I asked Kyle a few questions. BB: When I look at your website, I see a commercial venture: (hopefully you recognize … Continue reading

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