Archive for the ‘Concert’ Category


No punches pulled in Size Zero Opera’s Women Box in London

tete-a-tete opera logoOpera’s tough. You can’t just stand there and sing. The minimum requirement for an opera singer is the ability to both sing and act—and that’s plenty, for most. The number of opera singers who would also be prepared to undergo an intensive training program with an ex-pro boxer, solely in order to be able to box on stage—while singing, obviously—is surely low.

Step forward, Laura J. Bowler. Training is the Opposite, a new short opera by Jennifer Walshe, asks considerably more of its solo mezzo-soprano than most other pieces would dare. Bowler has been in training—proper boxing training—with Cathy “The Bitch” Brown, a former world number three boxer, in preparation: the work essentially consists of her doing a boxing training routine, and singing, accompanied by a string quartet. To be fair to Walshe, she hasn’t asked Bowler to do anything beyond what she’d do herself: she took boxing lessons, too.

Laura J. Bowler - Photo by Claire Shovelton

Laura J. Bowler – Photo by Claire Shovelton

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Kettle Corn New Music Satisfies Audience’s Sweet Tooth

kettle-corn-new-music-logoOn Saturday, June 14, 2014, I made the journey over to The DiMenna Center for Classical Music to hear Kettle Corn New Music’s concert featuring the piano trio Typical Music. Typical Music—consisting of Todd Reynolds (violin), Ashley Bathgate (cello), and Vicky Chow (piano)—played a wonderful and diverse program featuring the music of co-founder of Kettle Corn New Music Alex Weiser as well as music by Andy Akiho, Emily Cooley, David Lang, Donnacha Dennehy, and Todd Reynolds. Under the influence of Brooklyn Brewery beer and multiple bags of Kettle Corn NYC kettle corn (both offered at no expense to audience members), I relaxed in my chair and prepared myself for a chill and exciting concert experience.

Typical Music

Typical Music

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“I’m not saying it was aliens… but it was aliens”: Jesse Stewart visits Ottawa Chamberfest

St-Brigid-Centre-for-the-ArtsWhat would be the gold standard of record remixes? I may have heard it.

“This is a present from a small, distant world.” Jesse Stewart’s voice, quoting Jimmy Carter, reverberated through the sacred space of St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities, a relatively recently reclaimed and refurbished space that was once a church in formal use. Carter’s statement rang true to the audience, but not as he originally intended. Multidisciplinary artist Jesse Stewart helmed the altar-of-sorts. Dressed in black, he stood poised to make an indelible mark on the 20th anniversary of Chamberfest, an Ottawa fixture. Stewart was about to present a possible answer to the Great Silence. A great remix was the order of the evening of August 1, hypothetically created by an alien who had discovered and decoded the Voyager spacecraft’s Golden records, sending them back to earth – with choice edits.

Jesse Stewart - Photo Hanhong Dan

Jesse Stewart – Photo Hanhong Dan

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New Choral Works Take Flight in Ottawa

music-and-beyond-logoOttawa’s Music & Beyond – one of two chamber music festivals Canada’s capital is fortunate to have – completed its celebration of contemporary Canadian music on the evening of Monday, July 14, presenting not only a fairly cogent idea of what new choral music by Ottawa composers is, but also some insight on the state of Canadian opera and a side of works for piano. The venue, Dominion-Chalmers United Church, is a favourite for these events, located right in the centre of downtown and featuring Romanesque Revival architecture with a rich yet sombre colour palette.

Capital Chamber Choir - Photo by Michael Gauthier

Capital Chamber Choir – Photo by Michael Gauthier

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Five Ottawa Composers Premiere Variations You Can Warm To

music-and-beyond-logoOttawa, Canada has had the privilege of playing host to two of the largest chamber music festivals in the world for five years now, and to one for fifteen before that. On Friday, July 11, the first of these, Music & Beyond, played host to its first concert during the 2014 festival dedicated primarily or exclusively to contemporary composers – and in this case, all of the pieces were from Ottawa, and all were world premieres, tied together by a compelling theme centered on one of the great ecological issues of our time.

Julian Armour - Photo Credit Couvrette/Ottawa

Julian Armour – Photo Credit Couvrette/Ottawa

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