, a journey through the landscape of love, in the words and music of some of the most ardentlovers across the centuries. This passionate production stars the brilliant young baritone
, who has won acclaim for his splendid voice and vivid stage personality. He shares the stage with the actor and director
The programme features two of the great Romantic song cycles, expressing the full range of the lover’s experience – passion and despair, honesty and irony, joy and pain. These beloved works are paired with two eloquently lyrical pieces by Canadian composers.
The concert title is an English translation of Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe, which the Talisker Players present in a new arrangement by Vancouver’s Harold Birston, for voice and string quartet. Based on 16 poems by Heinrich Heine, it traces the intensity of a poet’s love through the language of flowers, dreams and fairy-tales. Also featured is Gabriel Fauré’s La Bonne chanson, in the composer’s own version for voice, string quintet and piano. A setting of nine passionate poems by Paul Verlaine, it was written for the great singer Emma Bardac, with whom Fauré was madly in love at the time (though both were married to others).
These two large-scale works will be balanced with shorter pieces by Toronto composers John Beckwith and Alexander Rapoport. Beckwith’s Love Lines, for voice and string trio, is an arrangement of favourite songs by Ben Jonson, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and George and Ira Gershwin. Rapoport’sFragments of Verlaine, for voice and string quintet perfectly captures the yearning for an unattainable beloved.
As always, this Talisker Players production blends instrumental music, song and the spoken word. A Poet’s Love spotlights the award-winning actor and director Stewart Arnott, to perform passages from the letters and diaries of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lord Byron, Vita Sackville West, W.H. Auden and other great literary lovers.
A dedicated concert and recital artist, British-Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson has been praised for his musicality and dramatic awareness in a range of repertoire on both opera and concert stages. Opera highlights include his riveting title role portrayal of Wozzeck and Don Giovanni both conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and his Royal Opera Covent Garden debut in The Midnight Court. He is frequently heard in recital on CBC Radio. He has performed Schubert's Die Winterreise with Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the keyboard, in Victoria, Toronto, Montreal, Paris and England. In Toronto, he has appeared with the Aldeburgh Connection, and has also collaborated with the Gryphon Trio, Coleman Lemieux Dance Company and choreographer James Kudelka. ‘Alexander Dobson, one of the most impressive Canadian baritones of this generation, is a wonderful actor and has a beautiful, rich and commanding voice that is also as smooth as silk.’ – Opera Canada
Stewart Arnott has been a theatre artist in Canada for over 30 years, and has acted and directed across the country. He is also a respected teacher and coach.
Each performance of A Poet’s Love 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 two seasons ago.
John Beckwith: Love Lines, for baritone and string trio
Gabriel Fauré: La Bonne chanson, for baritone, piano and string quintet
Alexander Rapoport: Fragments of Verlaine, for baritone and string quintet
Robert Schumann, arr. H. Birston: Dichterliebe, for baritone and string quartet
Individual tickets: $35 / $25 (seniors) / $15 (students/un(der)employed)
A Poet’s Love
Songs of the Romantic Imagination
Tuesday, May27 & Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 8 pm
Pre-concert chats at 7:15 pm
Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West
Alexander Dobson, baritone; Stewart Arnott, actor/reader
The Talisker Players
Talisker Players Chamber Music offers 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.