Expanded concert series: four different programs, eight performances.
City of the Mind
Words and music about the beauty and the madness of cities
Tuesday, October 29 & Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 8PM
At the newly renovated Trinity St. Paul’s Centre!
For Immediate Release – Toronto, September 19, 2013: Expanding its concert series to four full productions (each performed twice), Toronto’s ingenious ensemble Talisker Players kicks off the 2013/14 season with City of the Mind, a concert about cities, ancient and modern featuring soprano Erin Bardua, mezzo soprano Vicki St. Pierre and baritone Joel Allison – three young and brilliant Canadian singers. Talisker Players bring this eclectic variety of music exploring the beauty and the madness of urban life across the ages to Trinity St. Paul’s Centre on October 29 and 30.
City of the Mind begins in the 15th century, with Les Cris de Paris, a consort piece based on the cries of street vendors in the French capital. Moving ahead a couple of centuries, Tommasso Giordani’s Addio di Londra, for soprano with violin, viola and continuo, is an ode to a famous but unnamed personage upon his departure from London, entreating him to remember the sights of the city in his travels abroad.
The programme features a rare North American performance of a selection of Wiener lieder, in arrangements by Talisker Players’ cellist Laura Jones, for mezzo soprano, clarinet and strings. These traditional Viennese songs, centered on the theme of life in Vienna and sung in the local dialect, are a unique socio-cultural phenomenon – “a psychograph of the Viennese way of life, and a mix between idealism, ‘joie de vivre’ and desperation”. Their heyday was the late 19th century, though they have been written over hundreds of years, and are still being written today.
The Venetian Boat Song, another gem from the 19thcentury, is a charming salon piece by Jacques Blumenthal, for mezzo soprano, violin and piano. Very popular in its day, it is a reminder of the era of the “grand tour” of Europe.
Moving into the 20thcentury, the Talisker Players celebrate New York City with excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s iconic On the Town, also arranged by Laura Jones for baritone, soprano and string quartet. And Toronto is featured in two pieces: Andrew Ager’s entertaining Ellis Portal, for baritone, mezzo soprano, clarinet and string quartet, about the city at night; and Erik Ross’s cool and quirky Concrete Toronto for soprano and saxophone.
The Talisker Players are renowned for their original projects that unite instrumental music, song and the spoken word. Joining them for this performance is the acclaimed Stratford actor Graham Abbey, reading selections from novels, memoirs and letters about life in the city, by writers from Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins to Nora Ephron and David Sedaris.
Each performance of City of the Mind will be preceded by an informal talk by the Talisker Players Composer in Residence, Alexander Rapoport. Free with a ticket to the concert, these entertaining and informative chats became an instant hit when they were instituted three seasons ago.
Vicki St. Pierre’s lush voice is both dark and brilliant, an unusual combination. With her beauty of tone, intelligent musicianship and compelling stage presence, Vicki has won praise on stages across the country. She is an acclaimed interpreter of early music, at ease on the opera and on the concert stage. Also celebrated as an interpreter of contemporary music, Vicki has given Canadian premiere performances of several works.
Soprano Erin Bardua has been praised for her “brilliant-toned voice, agile and strong, yet warm and relaxed.” Still at the beginning of her career, she has already distinguished herself in a wide variety of styles and genres. Recognized for her vivid and intelligent performances in contemporary opera, she also appears in recital and in concerts. Further broadening her horizons, she joined a group of adventurous opera singers undertaking clown training, and participated in the creation of a clown opera, The Figaro Project, which premiered in 2007 at Zero Gravity Circus Theatre.
Appearing for the first time with Talisker Players, the young Ottawa baritone Joel Allison has already attracted attention as a rising star on the Canadian vocal scene. Joel began singing at the age of ten in the Christ Church Cathedral Men and Boys' Choir in Ottawa. He made his solo debut at the National Arts Center as a treble in Howard Shore'sLord of the Rings Symphony at the age of twelve. He has appeared with a number of prestigious organizations – both in concert and on the opera stage - winning acclaim for his lyrical voice, his innate musicality, and his compelling stage presence.
City of the Mind: The beauty and the madness of cities, ancient and modern
Erin Bardua, soprano, Vicki St. Pierre, mezzo soprano, Joel Allison, baritone,
and Graham Abbey, actor/reader
Tuesday & Wednesday, October 29 & 30, 2013 at 8 PM
Trinity St. Paul’s Centre: 427 Bloor Street West
Subscriptions: $105 / $75 (seniors) / $45 (students, un(der)employed)
Individual tickets: $35 / $25 (seniors) / $15 (students, un(der)employed)
Talisker Players offer one of the most imaginative and exciting concert series in Toronto. In collaboration with some of Canada’s finest young singers, Talisker Players present the rarely-heard repertoire for voice and chamber ensemble. Their unique programming includes readings that illuminate the music and delight audiences with a stimulating, theatrical concert experience.
The music, engaging and varied, includes both celebrated works and unknown gems from all styles and periods, with a strong presence of Canadian compositions.
Talisker Players Upcoming Events at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre (427 Bloor St. West)
Anything Goes: Sunday, January 12 at 3:30 pm & Tuesday, January 14 at 8 pm
The Cole Porter songbook, featuring Jennifer Enns Modolo, mezzo soprano and Bud Roach, tenor
Creature to Creature: Sunday, March 16 at 3:30 pm & Tuesday, March 18 at 8 pm
A 21st century bestiary, featuring Norine Burgess, mezzo soprano,Geoffrey Sirett, baritone,
Ross Manson, actor/reader
A Poet’s Love: Tuesday, May 27 & Wednesday, May 28 at 8 pm
The joys and sorrows of love deeply felt, featuring Alexander Dobson, baritone,
Stewart Arnott, actor/reader
Labels: Talisker Players Chamber Music