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Volume 28 Issue 1 | September 20 - November 8, 2022

Our 28th season in print! “And Now, Back to Live Action”; a symphonic-sized listings section, compared to last season; clubs “On the move” ; FuturesStops Festival and Nuit Blanche; “Pianistic high-wire acts”; Season announcements include full-sized choral works like Mendelssohn’s Elijah; “Icons, innovators and renegades” pulling out all the stops.

Our 28th season in print! “And Now, Back to Live Action”; a symphonic-sized listings section, compared to last season; clubs “On the move” ; FuturesStops Festival and Nuit Blanche; “Pianistic high-wire acts”; Season announcements include full-sized choral works like Mendelssohn’s Elijah; “Icons, innovators and renegades” pulling out all the stops.

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The anonymous libretto to Venus

and Adonis is thought to be the

work of English poet Anne Finch,

Countess of Winchilsea (née Kingsmill)

1661 – 1720), widely considered

to be one of the integral female

poets of the Restoration Era.

mattered to him very much that

each woman be honoured in her

own unique way in word and song.

What attracted Marti Maraden

to this piece? She’s worked with

Norman before, and has known

him for many years, she tells me.

And she found this piece “extraordinarily

evocative and emotionally

engaging” on first read-through.

“My own Swedish grandmother was

an early 20th-century immigrant

who came to America all by herself

at the age of 17. Her own story was

deeply poignant. Whenever I

think of immigrants in our own

time, who come from profound

poverty or frighteningly

dangerous environments, I am

reminded that displacement and

exile are a continuing part of the

human journey.” What would she say this ghostly, melancholy play is

ultimately about? “For me it is the uncertainly of life, the hopes and

aspirations – particularly in this case of women in a time when having

a profession is rare. It’s a play about our unknown and often unknowable

fate. It is about strangers becoming family and about love and

loyalty. But it’s also kind of ghost story – and I love ghost stories!”

The music and writing are beautiful, she adds, and the artists

involved are extraordinary. “Although the actors will carry their

scripts, there will be some very discreet staging and, with the

ingenuity of designer Stephen Degenstein, there will be some

wonderful visual elements: projections, draped fabric, simple means

of delineating place: a window, a milliner’s workshop, etc.”

Elsewhere this season in opera:

On November 4, Glenn Gould School of Opera is staging the rarely

seen in Toronto Venus and Adonis, composed in 1683 by John Blow

and written, it appears, by a woman, Anne Kingsmill. (Blow worked

on a different play with Aphra Benn, which is an unusually high incidence

of co-creating things with playwrights of the female sex for

any opera composer before or since.) Venus and Adonis seems a

delightfully comic and playful opera, and we’ll see what the director

Derek Boyes makes of it. Peter Tiefenbach returns as music director.

November 4 and at 7:30pm, Mazzoleni Concert Hall.

On October 21, 22 and 23, Toronto Operetta Theatre is presenting

its take on Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld at the Jane Mallett

Theatre. Is it going to be entirely in English, will the dialogues be

updated? No info yet, so lots remains to be seen, but the young cast

is promising: the always-worth-listening-to soprano Vania Chan, the

young tenor Tonatiuh Abrego, and baritone Gregory Finney who has

rock solid comedic chops. Guillermo Silva-Marin directing, Larry

Beckwith conducting.

Lydia Perović is an arts and culture writer in Toronto.

Sign up to receive her newsletter at longplay.substack.com.

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24 | September 20 - November 8, 2022 thewholenote.com

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