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Urban Shocker's Neighbourhood Watch

Urban Shocker

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Call me old fashioned, but I believe the opera should be a vocal if not a visual spectacle as well. This whole modernist spin to it makes me shut my eyes and enjoy the music while imagining a more traditional scenery for the set.

You'll love Rigoletto then, Filip. Apparently the gowns are multi-coloured and mid-19th century in inspiration, though the men all wear black and white evening wear. I'm going on Wednesday, and will get into the spirit by sporting a tight-fitting, flashy, blue and black made in U.S.A. "rockabilly" 1960s era dinner jacket bought recently at Value Village, vintage ( 1950! ) dress trousers ( made by a Toronto tailor ), black shiny patents ... and a bow tie. The reviews for Rigoletto's staging have been dreadful so far.

I also found the staging of Iphigenia a bit iphy, compared to Carsen's wonderful Orpheus ed Euridice of last season. Perhaps, because he's a Toronto lad, there's a minimalist "Toronto Style" thing at play? Not sure what sort of "traditional scenery" you mean - something with classical architecture, and the cast dressed in chitons and himations?

Last Friday, to Koerner Hall for the Culture Days concert given by the students of the Glenn Gould School. The Wagner, Flying Dutchman, dragged on a bit, and I was reminded that, well, they are still students after all, but I enjoyed the Chopin as played by the slim blond boy; didn't go back after the intermission for Pictures at an Exhibition though. I've bought a ticket to see Harry Bicket conduct The English Concert on the 21st at the Koerner - Vivaldi, Purcell, Handel and Telemann.

Gave Nuit Blanche a miss this year - too cold, and it's not as if I'm a shut in.

Don't be such a tease, Tony - HOW WAS LONDON?
 

TonyV

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Don't be such a tease, Tony - HOW WAS LONDON?

Urban Shocker, London was so good that a few quick words won't do it justice at all. Afraid I am experiencing quite the jet lag at this time, and I'll have to revisit later on. For now I have to leave off saying that it was my favourite overseas trip of all time.
 

TonyV

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Don't be such a tease, Tony - HOW WAS LONDON?

Now that I've recovered from jet lag I can say a few words. For the sake of relevance I ought to post in the Rest Of The Universe section because there is a lot to write. I'll try to keep this short.

It was wonderful to be in an ancient, great capital of the world. We did so much: foot tours of course. Guided tour of Tower Hill complete with detailed descriptions, by the Beefeater tour guide, of the gory past, torture methods etc., a look at the crown jewels. Tours of St. Paul's and of course of the Abbey -- lasting impressions of the tombs, with inscriptions, of the greats of England's past. High Tea at the British Museum, just for a lark. Many nights out at local pubs in the Russell Square area. The big news for locals was the weather - unprecedented heat for end of September, a steady 25 to 27 C throughout the week!

Best: being around Trafalgar Square and Picadilly, central to all the famous monuments, shopping, theatre, restaurants, what-have-you, surrounded in wonderful old architecture.

Got to hear the Royal Phil play Elgar at the Royal Albert Hall on September 24th. Heard the LSO in the terrible Barbican on the 25th, saw / heard Puccini's Il Trittico at Royal Opera Covent Garden on 27th, went to a fabulous jazz club on Thursday 29th, and went out for dinner in Soho on 28th.

Several times over dinner, locals chatted us up, asked all about us, and Toronto (which is admired from afar very much thank-you). The "British reserve" reputation is dashed upon rocks.

London is under heavy renovations right now in prep for the big party next year, the Summer Olympics. This made for poor photo ops. Still, I took 500 pictures, and I may finally give in and post them to Flickr or whatever, so I can show off in Rest Of The Universe section.

We will return to London some day, because there are many things on our list not yet crossed off. This has been my favourite trip, ever.

Edit: London has balls. The new low-rise buildings in central London, in vicinity of St. Paul's, are state-of-the-art in architecture today. I think much less of the City Hall ball thingy designed by Foster & Assoc.
 
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TonyV

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Upon return from London (see review above) we used our TSO tickets for the All Brahms affair at the Weston on Sunday Oct 2nd. This was one of the best TSO concerts we have ever heard. Very tight, powerful Brahms (1st piano concerto, with Emanuel Ax, and then the 1st Symphony) interpreted in a gifted way by P.O. This symphony performance was in all ways equal to the LSO under Gergiev a week prior, perhaps even better. I will remember this TSO performance always.
 
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TonyV

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The best part of last evening's night out (Verdi's Rigoletto, at COC) was our going out for drinks / desert after, with Shocker. Real fun, and Shocker was as usual his charming self.

As for the production, well, there is not much I can say. Singers acquitted themselves well, production was not spectacular but didn't detract. While I love Verdi (for the most part), Rigoletto is my least favourite of his works, to date. It ranks down there with La Traviata, that is to say that I find it to be trite in the plot lines. Verdi did much better work than Rigoletto.

Looking forward to the Gluck piece next week.
 
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Urban Shocker

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Thanks for your review of London, Tony ... and of Rigoletto, which nicely summed the production up for me, too. I thought the staging ( with the exception of the cartoonish lynching ... ) was perfectly fine, and don't see why the mainstream media reviewers were getting their knickers in a knot over it. And I thought the singing went from strength to strength.

My $7.50 Value Village sleek, vintage, lounge lizard dinner jacket got great reviews - the man sitting behind me, for instance, tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I'd bought it ... so I told him. He expressed disappointment that he therefore wouldn't be able to go to a tailor and have a similar one run up for him. Nor would he be able to rush off to Holts and buy one - as he would have been able to do had it been by, say, D&G.

Age + Obscurity = Exclusivity
 

TonyV

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Thanks for your review of London, Tony ... and of Rigoletto, which nicely summed the production up for me, too. I thought the staging ( with the exception of the cartoonish lynching ... ) was perfectly fine, and don't see why the mainstream media reviewers were getting their knickers in a knot over it. And I thought the singing went from strength to strength.

My $7.50 Value Village sleek, vintage, lounge lizard dinner jacket got great reviews - the man sitting behind me, for instance, tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I'd bought it ... so I told him. He expressed disappointment that he therefore wouldn't be able to go to a tailor and have a similar one run up for him. Nor would he be able to rush off to Holts and buy one - as he would have been able to do had it been by, say, D&G.

Age + Obscurity = Exclusivity

Brilliant !

I enjoyed looking at the dinner jacket, as did my partner. Great pairing with the bow tie, too.

I look forward to the next outing.
 

Urban Shocker

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Likewise.

Yesterday, to the preview of David Hockney's Fresh Flowers at the ROM. If Steve Jobs will be remembered for anything - other than for speeding up the pace of conspicuous consumption of consumer products - it will be as a provider of new media for great visual artists like Hockney to exploit.

I thought the "time lapse" iPhone and iPad works were best-in-show; the artist's creative process stripped bare.
 

TonyV

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Iphigenia in Taurus (Gluck) last night at the opera was perfection. Incredible singing and stage presence from Susan Graham, brilliant efforts from Russel Braun and Joseph Kaiser. Conductor was again the fabulous Pablo Heras-Casado, getting a great period sound from the COC orchestra.

At the end, during the many curtain calls, the cast were obviously pleased with the evening's proceedings. I think they're having a hoot putting this production on. I suspect that Graham is just a great person to work with. I hope to hear her again in Toronto in the near future.

Some parts of this Gluck opera are just so gay!

Much better than last week's Rigoletto.
 

Benc7

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I loved the voices in Iphigenia, but the set was so dark it lulled me to sleep. I did perk up in the second act during the gay parts! Rigoletto: loved the voices, but the stage direction was too static...and there were no gay parts.LOL!
 

Urban Shocker

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That scene where a few of the guys in the club were sitting about shirtless had potential ... for a full striptease ... but nothing came of it, alas.

The scene where Gilda is completely surrounded by all those men, watching while the dastardly Duke does beastly things to her, reminded me of something I once saw happen at the Barracks, back in the late '70s.
 
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Filip

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You'll love Rigoletto then, Filip. Apparently the gowns are multi-coloured and mid-19th century in inspiration, though the men all wear black and white evening wear. I'm going on Wednesday, and will get into the spirit by sporting a tight-fitting, flashy, blue and black made in U.S.A. "rockabilly" 1960s era dinner jacket bought recently at Value Village, vintage ( 1950! ) dress trousers ( made by a Toronto tailor ), black shiny patents ... and a bow tie. The reviews for Rigoletto's staging have been dreadful so far.

I also found the staging of Iphigenia a bit iphy, compared to Carsen's wonderful Orpheus ed Euridice of last season. Perhaps, because he's a Toronto lad, there's a minimalist "Toronto Style" thing at play? Not sure what sort of "traditional scenery" you mean - something with classical architecture, and the cast dressed in chitons and himations?

Last Friday, to Koerner Hall for the Culture Days concert given by the students of the Glenn Gould School. The Wagner, Flying Dutchman, dragged on a bit, and I was reminded that, well, they are still students after all, but I enjoyed the Chopin as played by the slim blond boy; didn't go back after the intermission for Pictures at an Exhibition though. I've bought a ticket to see Harry Bicket conduct The English Concert on the 21st at the Koerner - Vivaldi, Purcell, Handel and Telemann.

Gave Nuit Blanche a miss this year - too cold, and it's not as if I'm a shut in.

Don't be such a tease, Tony - HOW WAS LONDON?

Sorry for the late reply, but you were most certainly right. The sets and costumes for Rigoletto were incredible, and you just can't go wrong with the plot and music of a Verdi. As for the shirtless one on the right, my mother had her opera binoculars stalking him the rest of the performance.
 

Urban Shocker

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Filip, you must tell your Mom that if she wants to snare a male operahottie she should hang out at the stage door on the Richmond Street side of the building.

She may have to hurry - some of the performers are outta there in a flash, once the curtain goes down.
 

Filip

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Filip, you must tell your Mom that if she wants to snare a male operahottie she should hang out at the stage door on the Richmond Street side of the building.

She may have to hurry - some of the performers are outta there in a flash, once the curtain goes down.

I will pass on the advice.:)
 

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