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LuminaTO

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Fiddle was lots of fun - a cross between ballet as we know it, The Lion King and Up With People. Still,the interpretation of Kipling's If made no sense whatsoever.

The first piece, The second detail, was good too - but the midsection of the evening was all tuille and tutu's and a bit of a snore. Fiddle perked us up again.

All in all, a great week about town, and good houses for most of the things I went to - except A Midsummer Night's Dream. Luminato CEO Janice Price told me she's already commissioned several new things to premiere here in future years. Then they can tour.
 

rdaner

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Bachman, Gaiman to shine at Luminato

Bachman, Gaiman to shine at Luminato
Article Comments (1) JAMES BRADSHAW

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

March 10, 2009 at 11:08 PM EDT

Amid walls covered in guitars played by rock ‘n' roll legends, the Luminato Festival announced this year's musical lineup in Toronto Tuesday, unveiling a focus on the art of the guitar that includes a tribute to a seminal Neil Young performance and free shows by strumming stars like Randy Bachman.

The Globe also learned that bestselling English author Neil Gaiman, dubbed the newest rock star of the literary world, will give the first Canadian reading of his new work The Graveyard Book at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Gaiman's appearance is tied to a gothic theme woven into all aspects of the Festival lineup in celebration of Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday.

The musical program, thought of as the crown jewel of this year's festival, features what is expected to be Canada's largest guitar festival, a one-time seven-act series spread throughout the Luminato. To attract top-flight talent, Luminato tapped into the mind and rolodex of David Spelman, artistic director of the New York Guitar Festival, who is co-curator of the Toronto incarnation.

This year's incarnation of the Canadian Songbook presents an evening of inventive covers of classic Canadian fare at Massey Hall, as performers offer their own arrangements of all 18 songs from Neil Young's famous 1971 concert on that same stage. Confirmed performers include Steven Page (formerly of the Barenaked Ladies), Sarah Slean, Roxanne Potvin, Jason Collett of Broken Social Scene; and one of last year's crowd favourites, Danny Michel. Luminato artistic director Chris Lorway said an invitation has also been sent to Young. Bachman, the Winnipeg native and decorated veteran of several outfits including the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, was on hand for Tuesday's announcement and will headline Luminato's opening night festivities at Yonge-Dundas Square. Bachman will be joined by friend and blues staple Duke Robillard for a free show June 5.

In past years, Bachman had asked his agent why he wasn't involved in Luminato, to which the reply was usually, “You don't fit.†This year, his agent returned with a booking and news that the festival would feature a guitar theme. “And I said, ‘I can do that. I feel competent to do that,'“ Bachman said wryly.

The festival will serve as a reunion for Bachman and many of his old friends who are also performing, but he seemed relieved to be the opening act, as prior dates at similar guitar festivals have made for some tough acts to follow.

“I played the Buffalo Guitar Fest a couple of summers ago, and it's wonderful and it's terrifying,†he said.

Just down the road at Massey Hall that same night, country star Emmylou Harris will be joined by Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller for an event called Three Girls and Their Buddy. The following evening, bluesman Taj Mahal will lead a worldwide exploration of the genre in the Travelling Blues, the Derek Trucks Band will lead a full slate of slide guitarists.

Adding an international flavour are a full-day “marathon†of Brazilian guitar performances in the neighbourhood of Yorkville and a show by Goran Bregovic, a Yugoslav musician whose act includes a Serbian gypsy brass band. Organizers will even try to set a Guinness World Record for the largest ever guitar ensemble (which is currently attributed to 1,802 guitarists playing Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water in Germany). Audiences are being asked to vote online for “the great Canadian tune†– the Top 10 songs will then be played by as many guitarists as can be convinced to show up at Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square.

At the forefront of the general music program is a Luminato and Soundstreams co-commission The Children 's Crusade by newly minted Governor-General's Award laureate R. Murray Schafer. Directed by Tim Albery, who has led such success as War and Peace and Gotterdammerung at the Canadian Opera Company, the full-length opera will be staged by 100-plus performers in a warehouse at the base of Dufferin Street, through which the audience will wander from scene to scene along with the performers.

The Poe thread is taken up on the musical side by the world premiere of a Poe cabaret entitled Dream Within a Dream, directed and designed by Lorenzo Savoini. Performances include a newly commissioned work by Mike Ross and Patricia O'Callaghan and renditions of The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart.

The hybrid punk-rock opera and multimedia event Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century and Tales of the Uncanny, a live musical score played over a Richard Oswald silent film, are both Canadian premieres. And one of the surprise hits of last year, the Light On Your Feet series of dance lessons and concerts, returns with free salsa, country, Bollywood, disco and swing offerings.

“I'm gonna try and stay here all week,†Bachman said after browsing through the lineup.
 

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I see that Black Watch, which played here before it opened in London, recently won several Oliviers - best new play, best director, sound, and choreography.
 

rdaner

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Getting the Luminato ball rolling
Article Comments JAMES BRADSHAW

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

March 18, 2009 at 7:33 PM EDT

Okay, so it doesn't bounce. But audiences at this year's Luminato Festival, which will run from June 5 to 14, should still watch for a red ball – an inflatable, 4.5-metre-wide ball, in fact – which will be wedged into a different Toronto location each day of the festival.

Like a number of other visual-art exhibits and literary events announced yesterday, the Canadian premiere of RedBall Project Toronto, an installation by artist Kurt Perschke, plays with our sense of place – and offers an unusual lens on the city.

Visual and sonic artist Reena Katz, for example, will present an exploration of Kensington Market through live performances of original compositions. And projection artist Tony Ourslor will combine sculptures, sound and moving images projected through the trees of Grange Park, in an interactive display backing onto the Art Gallery of Ontario.

On the literary front, meanwhile, six Canadian writers will read newly commissioned ghost stories that prominently feature Toronto neighbourhoods.


Enlarge Image
Kurt Perschke’s RedBall Project Toronto (seen in Barcelona, above) will see a 4.5-metre-wide ball installed in a new location each day. (Courtesy of Luminato)

The darkly fantastical tales by Ann-Marie MacDonald, Michelle Wan, Andrew Pyper, Cherie Dimaline, Nalo Hopkinson and Tasleem Thalwar have been assembled in a special chapbook with a foreword by Margaret Atwood. Their reading is part of a gothic theme at this year's festival, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe.

Pyper, the award-winning author of The Killing Circle, said Toronto provides an ideal backdrop for gothic writing. Although it is increasingly composed of glass and steel towers, he believes the city is also finding its history, “and with history come ghosts.

“Gothic writing is not things that go ‘Boo!' It's that sometimes-unsettling bridge between the present and a presumably settled past. And once you make that bridge, the settled becomes unsettled,†he says. “It's precisely this kind of mythology-making that I think should play a bigger part in making or defining or understanding this post-Toronto-the-Good Toronto.â€

Also on the gothic front, as previously reported by The Globe and Mail, British fiction writer Neil Gaiman will give his first Canadian reading of his new work, The Graveyard Book.

And contemporary gothic writers Patrick McGrath, Sarah Langan and Monique Proulx will read from their latest works at an evening moderated by Globe and Mail columnist Russell Smith.

Less foreboding is the festival's World Voices in Fiction event. It features Man Booker Prize-winner Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger, making his first Toronto appearance, as well as Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chinese writer Yiyun Li, and Taiwan-born, Malaysia-raised author Tash Aw in their Canadian debuts.

Younger readers can take in free events as part of the Children's Books and Illustrations series.

Another of the festival's major themes, the guitar, has also managed to permeate the visual-arts lineup. Andy Summers, guitarist for the Police and an increasingly well-known photographer, joins forces with Danny Clinch – best known for his portraits of musicians in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair – and award-winning international photographer Ralph Gibson for Shadow Notes. A large-scale photographic exhibition inspired by the guitar, it will be shown in Yonge-Dundas Square.

For another photography fix, audiences can check out a separate exhibition by Raphael Mazzucco, dubbed “one of the top 50 photographers in the world today†by American Photo Magazine.

Continuing Luminato's determination to create “accidental encounters with art,†and tapping into the festival's third theme – communications in a wired world – is Communication/Environment, a 10-day series of artworks designed to transform the arteries of downtown Toronto.

Featured installations include a creative representation of the sine wave (the basic element of modern wireless communication); an installation that visually responds to invisible, electromagnetic signals; and a work that uses recent technology to prompt nearby Bluetooth wireless devices to create a cacophony of sounds.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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From CBC News:

Toronto scores North American debut of Wainwright opera
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 10:13 AM ET
CBC News:

Rather than New York, it will be Toronto that hosts the North American premiere of Rufus Wainwright's opera debut.

Multidisciplinary arts and culture festival Luminato announced Monday evening that the Canadian singer-songwriter's French-language opera Prima Donna will be staged in Toronto as part of its 2010 edition.

"The further I venture through the world of opera, the more I realize how daring and risky one has to be in order to succeed in this fickle medium. From the composer to the producer and the hundreds of glorious people in between, there must be a steel rod of dedication linking all the elements," Wainwright said in a statement.

"Thank you Toronto for having the guts to make it happen."

The opera, which is set in 1970s-era Paris and follows a fading soprano trying to return to former glory, was initially part of a Metropolitan Opera initiative that commissioned new opera works from pop music and theatre composers.

However, in August 2008, the company and Wainwright announced they had parted ways over the production.

Montreal-raised Wainwright had initially been open to writing his libretto in English and French, but as he progressed, French emerged as a more natural fit with the story and the score, which he also composed.

The two sides also could not agree on an opening date: while Wainwright wanted to see his work performed as soon as possible, New York's Met said it could not fit Prima Donna into its lineup until 2014 at the earliest.

The Manchester International Festival and the Melbourne International Arts Festival also co-commissioned the two-act, two-hour opera.

Prima Donna will have its world premiere as part of the Manchester festival in July.

In the meantime, Wainwright is also working on a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's sonnets that will premiere in Berlin in April.

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/theatre/story/2009/03/31/wainwright-rufus-opera-debut.html

AoD
 

Benc7

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Rufus Wainwright opera -Luminato scoops Met

Oh, REALLY! I've never been a fan of Wainright;I can take only five minutes( MAX) of his voice. No matter, he won't be singing in his opera. What I find interesting is that he deigns to return to a city he despises, as he stated in 2008.

" Toronto. I can't stand it - the place drives me mad. I'm allowed to say this because I'm Canadian. I have friends there, I work there, but I find it really hard to like. I will have to go back there, but I wish I didn't have to. It's trying to be the New York of the Midwest. I much prefer Montreal."
-- Source: The Observer - Sunday June 8th 2008

I wish Wainright great success with his opera (really I do) only because its success will help Luminato achieve success. But, I won't be there.
FU, Mr.Wainright.:p
http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/610823
http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/jun/08/popandrock
 

ganjavih

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He never really explained why he doesn't like it either, other than it's trying to be the New York of the Midwest... whatever that means.
 

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Based on my immersion in Luminato last June, Prima Donna strikes me as exactly the sort of thing that could work well - quirky, not mainstream, and ripe with possibilities - depending on who is cast in it, and who designs and stages it. It could match Queen of Puddings or Opera Atelier ... or it could fall horribly flat.
 

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What's the most recent opera to attain large scale, enduring popularity? Something by Benjamin Britten perhaps? It always seems that any operas composed since about 1950 are doomed to obscurity.
 

Benc7

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What's the most recent opera to attain large scale, enduring popularity? Something by Benjamin Britten perhaps? It always seems that any operas composed since about 1950 are doomed to obscurity.

The opera-going crowd is in a minority position to begin with. To that I must add that most operas written after 1950 are rather like "The Hand Maid's Tale" that I saw a few years ago at the then Hummingbird Centre: marvellous to see in its entirety, live on-stage, but not something I would want in my CD collection. Also, there's an absence of "stand alone" arias and trios in modern operas that can give the work a continued life on radio and I-pods. And god damn, if there's a single tune that one can hum leaving the theatre! So, the minority opera audience is reduced even further; if you can't go to SEE these new operas performed live, only a small percentage will pick up recordings of them. Operas are expensive to mount so when I do see a new work, I understand that it may very well be for the first AND last time.


In Wainright's case, I won't be seeing it at all. Excuse me while I remind every one why I won't:
" Toronto. I can't stand it - the place drives me mad. I'm allowed to say this because I'm Canadian. I have friends there, I work there, but I find it really hard to like. I will have to go back there, but I wish I didn't have to. It's trying to be the New York of the Midwest. I much prefer Montreal."
-- Source: The Observer - Sunday June 8th 2008


Apologies for repeating myself, but he just pisses me off.:mad:
 

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