The Canadian Opera Company presents Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (February 5, 7, 9, 13, 15, 17, 21, 23, 2019)

 

Audiences get a lesson in love when Mozart’s Così fan tutte (or The School for Lovers) returns to the Canadian Opera Company stage in 2019. The outlandish comedy follows two couples whose loyalty is put to the test by a meddling mentor looking to prove that all is fair in love and war. The stakes are set, a wager is made, and as sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella land squarely in temptation’s crosshairs, their fiancés soon learn the steep price of truth at any cost. Così fan tutte runs for eight performances on February 5, 7, 9, 13, 15, 17, 21, 23, 2019.
The performance greets the audience with a gorgeous screen depicting ‘The Two Frieda’s’ (Las dos Fridas) painting by Frieda Kahlo. This painting was completed shortly after her divorce with Diego Rivera. This portrait shows Frida’s two different personalities. One is the traditional Frida in Tehuana costume, with a broken heart, sitting next to an independent, modern dressed Frida. In Frida’s dairy, she wrote about this painting and said it is originated from her memory of an imaginary childhood friend. Later she admitted it expressed her desperation and loneliness with the separation from Diego.
In this painting, the two Fridas are holding hands. They both have visible hearts and the heart of the traditional Frida is cut and torn open. The main artery, which comes from the torn heart down to the right hand of the traditional Frida, is cut off by the surgical pincers held in the lap of the traditional Frida. The blood keeps dripping on her white dress and she is in danger of bleeding to death. The stormy sky filled with agitated clouds may reflect Frida’s inner turmoil.
Canadian stage and screen director Atom Egoyan takes his cue from the opera’s subtitle, framing the opera in a school where love is a subject meant to be examined, dissected, and manipulated. Similar to that of Kahlo’s painting we see the dissection of a love affair between the characters within a school setting ripe for over analyzing, curious students and drama.

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There are echoes of ‘go big or go home’ in this performance. Think larger-than-life set pieces that dominate the space, including a large curio cabinet, giant pinned butterflies along with the replica of Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait, Las dos Fridas that will linger in your mind throughout the performance. A true pop up experience that blooms colour into a dreary and chilly winter outside.
Be sure to enjoy the two fast-rising Canadian stars sing the roles of the two sisters. Soprano Kirsten MacKinnon sings Fiordiligi, a role to which she recently brought “the high notes and the low notes…and everything in between” (The Guardian) at the Glyndebourne Festival. International award-winning mezzo-soprano and recent Ensemble Studio graduate, Emily D’Angelo, brings her “vivacious and nimble” voice and “arresting vulnerability” (New York Times) to her role debut as Fiordiligi’s sister, Dorabella.
These women bring out the sauciness in Fiordiligi’s and Dorabella. The fun, flirtation and frivolity are provocative and allows you no opportunity to take your eyes off them. School uniforms, knowing glances and a provocative innocence draws cheeky winks to Egoyan’s “Exotica” film.
American tenor Ben Bliss and German baritone Johannes Kammler make their COC debuts as the sisters’ fiancés, Ferrando and Guglielmo; Bliss as Ferrando. These gentlemen created a space for humour, respites to wonder what their next move will be and provide a vulnerable depth to the innocence as seen in the sisters.

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Notable Canadian baritone Russell Braun makes his role debut as Don Alfonso, the instigator at the heart of the opera’s conflict. A true powerhouse with dalliances of darkness. Canadian soprano Tracy Dahl reprises the role of Despina. A true comedienne with the control of an opera veteran.
Lastly, internationally acclaimed conductor Bernard Labadie returns to lead the COC Orchestra through what is often described as Mozart’s most perfect score. Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst leads the COC Chorus through the work’s stunning ensemble numbers.
Be sure, to catch “Così fan tutte” before the performance closes. It will sure to enlighten your love affairs in the lead up to Valentine’s day and also pause to reflect on the loves that you have won and lost.
TICKET INFORMATION Single tickets for Così fan tutte range from $35 – $250 with Grand Ring seats available at $290 and $350. Tickets are on sale now, available online at coc.ca, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office (145 Queen St. W.). For more information on specially priced tickets available to young people under the age of 15, standing room, Opera Under 30, student groups and rush seating, visit coc.ca.

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The Canadian Opera Company presents “Elektra” at the Four Seasons Centre Performing Arts (January 26, 31, February 6, 10, 12, 16, 22, 2019)

Richard Strauss’ twisted psychodrama, Elektra, returns to the COC stage with commanding star soprano Christine Goerke in the title role. Rooted in classic Greek tragedy, the one-act opera is an expressionist take on the ultimate tale of family dysfunction: Elektra’s lust to avenge her father’s murder at the hands of her mother and her mother’s lover. Fury and obsession spiral into horrific consequence as Elektra careens down a path of total destruction, all set to an unrelenting modern score. Elektra runs for seven performances on January 26, 31, February 6, 10, 12, 16, 22, 2019.

If you are new to opera and want a taste of Strauss at his best and with some brevity (by Opera standards), Elektra is for you. The set design from Derek McLane’s and his stark aesthetic mirrors characters’ raw emotions and impulses. Costume designer Anita Stewart and lighting designer Mimi Jordan Sherin add to the nightmarish world onstage with lurid colours and design elements influenced by the art of Francis Bacon and Edvard Munch.

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Elektra is bloody, intense with a heart pulsing drama that spews dashes of excruciating howls for good measure. Thankfully the Canadian Opera Company landed the rock star of opera in the incomparable Christine Goerke who shook the Metropolitan Opera with “the thrilling power of her voice” (New York Times) as their Elektra last season. Goerke’s performance will destroy even the most seasoned opera fan.  She embodies a verve that is demonstrative of her years of experience and is guaranteed to make you want to see more of her in the future.  No matter what the price.  Think trail blazer.  Think icon.

Canadian soprano Erin Wall is Elektra’s sister, Chrysothemis; she returns to the COC after a “sublime” (Chicago Tribune) performance in Idomeneo. Wall is soul crushing in her approach and will make you yearn for more. The athleticism witnessed by the likes of Goerke and Wall is truly a feat. These women are at the top of their professional game.  Don’t be saddled with a FOMO.

British dramatic soprano Susan Bullock brings her “formidable focus and power” (Financial Times) to the role of Elektra’s conniving mother, Klytämnestra, while German bass Wilhelm Schwinghammer makes his COC debut as her brother, Orest. Canadian tenor Michael Schade rounds out the cast, bringing his “crystal-clean intonation” and “even, forward-placed legato” (OperaWire) to Klytämnestra’s lover – and conspirator – Aegisth.

Strauss’ frenetically charged score forms the backbone of the opera, pressing the action forward to its grisly end and COC Music Director Johannes Debus leads the COC Orchestra in rising to the challenge. All performances of Elektra feature the COC Chorus, led by Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst.

Take some time out this winter season to explore all that the Canadian Opera Company has to offer.  They will be sure to keep you warm and toasty.

Elektra is sung in German and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

https://www.coc.ca/

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents “Star Wars: A New Hope” (Wednesday January 23 – Saturday January 26, 2019) at Roy Thomson Hall

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Be sure to catch Star Wars ‘A New Hope’ at Roy Thomson Hall for the ultimate pop up symphonic experience this upcoming weekend. New experiences are so important and being able to watch George Lucas’ epic ‘A New Hope’ on a big screen with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra playing the musical score underneath the film is not only nostalgic but it is also heart warming on a chilly winter’s night.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra gleams “John Williams has become one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage, and he remains one of North America’s most distinguished and contributive musical voices. He has composed the music and served as music director for more than 100 films, including all eight Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, etc.” He’s a giant when it comes to musical scores and well worth the ticket price to listen to his gorgeously composed music as performed by the likes of the Toronto Symphony.

Conductor, Sarah Hicks, is “noted in The New York Times as part of “’a new wave of female conductors in their late 20’s through early 40’s,” Sarah Hicks’s versatile and vibrant musicianship has secured her place in “the next generation of up-and-coming American conductors’ according to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra”. She arrived onto the stage with a green light saber and was ready to demonstrate her conducting eloquence to an audience who was ready to roll out the welcome rug.  Hicks took charge of an emotional, energetic and beloved musical score without skipping a beat.

Be sure to catch one or all of the next Star Wars “A New Hope” performances this weekend. Don’t worry about snacks, popcorn and pints – The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will keep you toasty.  May the force be with you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 at 7:30pm

Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 7:30pm

Friday, January 25, 2019 at 7:30pm

Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 7:30pm

https://www.tso.ca/

Ticket Giveaway: Toronto Tea Festival 2019: February 1, 2 & 3 2019 at the Toronto Reference Library

Whether you are a newbie or an aficionado of tea culture, the Toronto Tea Festival will enable you to discover the world of tea from the traditional to the trendy. You will be able to sample hundreds of teas and learn from experts in the industry at one of the complimentary presentations. Taste a variety of teas uniquely and exquisitely prepared by exhibitors; noting how the flavours may differ depending upon place of origin, processing techniques, and preparation styles. Shop for all your favourite tea wares, teas, and related products – this is the perfect opportunity to shop for your Valentine. Participate in the silent auction and enter the raffle. Experience the event to the fullest by engaging with the exhibitors and learning about all things tea.

The festival will take place Friday Feb 1, 2019 from noon- 7pm. The VIP event will take place from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.  This is a separately ticketed event.

Be sure to catch the festival weekend dates on Saturday Feb 2 and Sunday Feb 3, 2019 between 10 am – 5 pm. Tell me what you think and send me photos if you do attend!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and Toronto Tea Festival 2019 Ticket Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thirtyfourflavours, Twitter https://twitter.com/34flavours, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email (thirtyfourflavours@gmail.com) telling me what you are excited to see at #teafestTO by Wednesday January 30, 2019.

Cheers!  🙂

http://teafestivaltoronto.com/

TSO Holiday Pops – Saturday December 15/2018 (Roy Thomson Hall) with Matt Dusk, Guest Conductor Lucas Waldin and The Etobicoke School of the Arts Holiday Chorus #tsoholiday

Matt Dusk, TSO Holiday Pops_2 (@Jag Gundu)

 

There’s nothing like a lovingly curated program at the TSO that will get you warmed up to celebrate the holidays. TSO Holiday Pops as Conducted by Lucas Waldin provided a youthful exuberance that brought the diversely aged crowd together with cheeky grins, a romp to their step at intermission and a festive cheer hard pressed to find at your local Holiday Party.
Guest Conductor, Waldin brings a classical flair to his work whilst also keenly mixing it up with artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Ben Folds, Chantal Kreviazuk, the Barenaked Ladies, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Keep an eye out for Waldin as he will surely continue to draw a youthful crowd to TSO audiences in years to come whilst also demystifying the symphony to the next generation of patrons.
Vocalist, Matt Dusk, joined Waldin on stage to provide a polished TSO Holiday Pops swoon to the evening. Besides receiving four JUNO nominations in Canada, additional worldwide accolades and a deep friendship with Tony Bennett – Dusk is still a Toronto boy with a big heart, a velveteen voice and an introspection that will leave you making a mental note to buy his entire musical catalogue from iTunes on the drive home.
The Etobicoke School of the Arts Holiday Chorus added the icing on the Waldin and Dusk cake during the TSO Holiday Pops performance. Comprised of Grades 9 and 12 music theatre classes, this group of students is the definition of “triple threat”.
The melding of traditional nods, humour, knee knocking sing-along’s and seasonal ambience was all the rage on the night. Renditions of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” provided a meditative vibe at Roy Thomson Hall. A reminder that the holidays are about reflection, making new traditions, spending time with those we love and enjoying holiday music from times long past.
Be sure to catch the last of TSO’s Holiday Programming by December 23, 2018!
Happy Holidays! 
http://www.tso.ca

Toronto’s Most Crashable Holiday Party – Media Profile Party (December 13, 2018) #MPParty

 

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Media Profile celebrated their annual holiday party last Thursday night and as usual – it was epic! Media Profile prides itself on being an independent, entrepreneurial and tenacious public relations firm. Their communication campaigns are based on a healthy blend of research and imagination. They use all the tools in the toolbox, whether media relations, social media, content creation and marketing etc.  So clearly it was no surprise that their holiday parties resemble who they are and how they work. Think fun, fantastic and guaranteed to go late.
As we made our way through the historic Burroughes Building space which is hipster meets chic. It’s aged brick, high ceilings, swooping arched doorways, NYC elevator shaft and roof top patio – makes you feel welcomed and ready for a good time.
This year we indulged upon custom cocktails and Sixty Six Brix’s maple sugar station as they drizzled the most gorgeous of maple syrup onto a bed of ice hearkening memories at Pioneer Village as a child sitting at a picnic table slurping its sweet syrupy delights. The only difference at the Media Profile Party 40 years later, we now have gourmet cheese wrapped into ice hardened maple syrup like an ensconced sweater.

 

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The DJ was sure to cloud the air with cool mixes as we danced the night away while also saying hello to new friends as they breezed into the space.
The holiday decorations were minimal but celebrated Canadiana and snowy scenes. The holiday lights beamed overhead as we relished our gorgeous cocktails and shared chats with fellow guests.
We took advantage of the photographer/selfie station that came equipped with wooden moustaches and lips that could be used for cheeky shots and then printed up on the tiniest printer you have ever seen as a takeaway bonbonierre.
The Media Profile signature drinks never disappoint. Ho ho ho indeed!
Media Profile will always be known as the most crashable holiday party in Toronto. It’s epic in stature, the attention to detail is always on point and most importantly the vibe is consistently friendly, accommodating and authentically warm. Perfectly symbolic of the Media Profile brand and people.
Until December 2019!
Happy Holidays!
http://www.mediaprofile.com/ #MPParty

ROM: Friday, November 23, 2018 #FNLROM: Lit – Recap

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On Friday, November 23, #FNLROM: Lit brought us The Darcys and complimentary access to the special exhibition Spiders: Fear & Fascination, bringing this season of #FNLROM to a spectacular finale.

Here’s what you missed!

Entertainment

The Darcys’ anthemic music is lush with vibrant synths, 808s, and funky bass that makes their sound feel as at home in today’s modern pop landscape as it would in a crate of classic vinyl.

Underground hip-hop and R&B artist Nana Zen creates unique live mixes featuring modern elements, while staying true to the alternative hip-hop subculture and deeply rooted in her Caribbean background.

Explosively energetic indie rockers Goodnight, Sunrise deliver pop hooks, EDM drops, and powerful classic rock.

With influences including hip-hop, soca, R&B, pop, and country, Dre Ngozi’s music is fueled by a mash-up of sounds.

The GURU bros. (Santosh Naidu and Tej Hunjan) are Toronto’s foremost percussion duo, bringing their unique blend of global groove electronica to soundtracks, festivals, and dance floors all over the world.

Tarana Dance brings their style, talent, and skill to showcase the beauty of Kathak, Bollywood, and contemporary dance to audiences all over the world.

U of T Jazz Stars of the Future rock the ROM with house jazz.

Gallery Experiences

Rangoli Art by Jasmin Pannu: Jasmin is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist with works in mural art, and henna/jagua body art. She has painted over 50 murals in the Toronto area, and has toured her art series Wildlife Collection and Cheat Codes in several Toronto galleries.

Saving Daylight: As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, take a look at how humans developed complex calendars and kept track of time for thousands of years from cultures around the world.

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Food Fare

King Catering, Gushi, Mnandi Pies, Tita Flips, My Crème Caramel, Hot Bunzz, Born2Eat, Chau, and Ice Volcano Ice Cream.

See you in Spring 2019!!

https://www.rom.on.ca/en