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Urban Shocker's Neighbourhood Watch

Urban Shocker

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... though neither the gratuitous presence of sumo wrestlers, nor the pantomime horse with the huge dick and a penchant for wearing garishly bright costumes, nor the flabbily-fleshed COC chorus in the orgy scene, nor the Tibetan soloist who appeared to have wandered in from an entirely different recital yet didn't hold back from giving it his all, nor the replacement of Happy, Happy Shall We Be with a hummed version of the Communist Internationale, nor the deletion of Semele's lovely The Morning Lark To Mine Accords His Note, nor the foot-fetishist reading of Where'ere You Walk, nor having Semele sing Endless Pleasure, Endless Love while being swung backwards and forwards 30 feet above the stage like Peter Pan, nor any of the other nasties in this valiantly optimistic yet at times ludicrously inept cultural mashup succeeded in vanquishing the glory of Handel's music and Congreve's libretto.

Jane Archibald was magnificent - in O Sleep, Why Dost Thou Leave Me, for instance, though she was at some distance upstage, she made us come to her and it worked wonderfully well.

Semele was trimmed in length and monkeyed with royally in concept, but when we left through the City Room the final glorious chorus that we'd been denied was piped in for our pleasure ... as if to say, "sorry ..." and hope to see you again next season.
 

Roy G Biv

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Semele appeared to be a recital strung together by visual gimmicks. There was no coherence whatsoever.

Aren't sumo wrestlers Japanese? Was the goal to fit in as many Eastern clichés as possible? Perhaps Somnus' dozy marshmallow man was meant to be a Godzilla of sorts...

If you asked me, at the age of 15, to produce this opera, I would have raved about all the cool things I would do, and this production would have been the result. As a piece of theatre, it was awful, but it did remain interesting. I never got bored. It helped that the voices and music were wonderful. Imagine they weren't?

I recently read an interview with Herr Debus, where he admitted that they hate staging fan favourites, but do it so they can fund the productions THEY actually want to stage. My feeling is that this one probably looked a lot better on paper.




ps. Out of all the theatrical pieces I've seen with erect, puppet horse cock, this ranks in the top 3.
 
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Urban Shocker

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Of Zhang Huan's many directorial conceits I thought that the huge mirror effect was one of the few that actually worked with the drama* - though looking down from Ring 4, reflecting the Orchestra level, it gave an accurate reading of how many empty seats there were.

*
Myself I shall adore,
If I persist in gazing.
No object sure before
Was ever half so pleasing ...
 

TonyV

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My goodness, Semele has garnered awful reviews in the press.

There has been a paucity of posts from me in recent times because of light surgery (nothing awful, just a stubborn torn muscle that has bugged me for ages). I have had to reshuffle my concert/opera dates to accommodate. My reschedule of Semele is tonight. Will give feedback. Jane Archibald is a great voice and I'm looking forward to her part in this production. Reading the review from Kaptainis, it seems I may need to keep my eyes closed.

EDIT: Upon reading all reviews and upon hearing word of mouth reviews, we have given the tickets away - and that is a first for us!
 
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Urban Shocker

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Welcome back, dahhhling, I'm sure you look absolutely mahhhvellous ... and years younger ( AP was away for ages getting her work done ... ).

Last night, to the first of the Dominican Institute's art history lecture series, at the Faculty of Theology on St. Joseph Street, given by Dr. Marius Zerafa. We had a run-through on the Proto-Renaissance, with special attention given to one of my favourite Florentine haunts, San Marco, and the Fra Angelico frescoes found therein. A small room, more audience than they'd anticipated, an overflow crowd and thus extra dates added, and a delightfully opinionated and knowledgeable speaker. I'm booked for the whole shebang.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Four Part Complimentary Art History Series
By Dr. Marius Zerafa, O.P. 2012 Aquinas Visting Scholar At The Faculty Of Theology, University Of St. Michael's College

An Introduction and Appreciation to European Art

This four part lecture series is an introduction to art history that looks at various periods, schools and techniques. In addition to examining their works, the lectures will explore the artistic, political, social and religious backgrounds of the eras.

Participants are welcome to attend all or some of the lectures on the following Wednesdays from 6-8PM:

May 23: Part I: The Proto-Renaissance to the Renaissance: Giotto, Masaccio, Fra’Angelico, Bolicelli, Piero.

May 30: Part II: The High Renaissance: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael.

June 6: Part III: From Mannerism to the baroque: Tintoretto, El Greco, Bernini, Rembrandt.

June 13: Part IV: Modern Art: Impressionists, Neo and post Impressionists, Cubism, Expressionism and Abstract Art, Sacred Art.

Rev. Dr. Marius Zerafa, O.P. (S.T.L., Lect. Th., A.R. Hist. S., Dr. Sc.Soc) is a noted and extraordinary scholar, art historian and restorer. His is an expert on the artists Giotto, Fra’Angelico and Caravaggio. Dr. Zerafa is Associate of the Royal Historical Society (London), Member of Académia Tiberna (Rome) and Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France). Dr. Zerafa is the founder of the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta, Malta. He is former Curator and Director of the Malta Museums. While Director of Museums Dr. Zerafa masterminded the retrieval of Caravaggio’s only signed piece, St. Jerome, which had been stolen from St. John’s Co-Cathedral. His book “The Caravaggio Diaries” is an account of this adventure capturing the mystery and intrigue surrounding the theft. He is Chair of the Archdiocese of Malta's Commission for Sacred Art and Vice-President of the Malta Arts Biennale. Dr. Zerafa is lecturer at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome.

Fee: No charge for the series.
Location: Room 101, Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael's College.
Address: 95 St. Joseph St. (use entrance closest to Bay St.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Urban Shocker

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EDIT: Upon reading all reviews and upon hearing word of mouth reviews, we have given the tickets away - and that is a first for us!
You could have shut your eyes and listened, y'know!

I did that when the documentary film was playing ( since I knew the backstory of the temple ) and enjoyed the overture greatly.
 

TonyV

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You could have shut your eyes and listened, y'know!

I did that when the documentary film was playing ( since I knew the backstory of the temple ) and enjoyed the overture greatly.
I actually have a good reason. I had an operation, and there is an incision on my abdominal side. Sitting too long is the only thing that is irksome, at this time, otherwise healing is going well. With the dull ache, I couldn't stand the idea of sitting through an opera tonight and with all the unanimously bad press, it was a fairly easy give-up. But yes, I was looking forward to Jane Archibald very much.
 

Urban Shocker

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I still can't decide if I'll see Einstein on the Beach at Luminato. The appeal of the Sony Centre, after enjoying opera at our glorious Four Seasons Centre for the past six years, is about nil.
 

TonyV

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I still can't decide if I'll see Einstein on the Beach at Luminato. The appeal of the Sony Centre, after enjoying opera at our glorious Four Seasons Centre for the past six years, is about nil.
In all frankness I'd love to see Einstein on the Beach, regardless of venue, but I'm not sure I'll get the chance, there's a huge schedule in front of me for the next few weeks.

Got to TSO last night, Dausgaard conducting Shostakovich cello cto #2 (Weilerstein) and Brahms 2nd symphony. Wonderful concert. Dausgaard knows how to pull off dramatic tension in all of his conducting, and he made the symphony #2 his own, there were some interesting passages in which he shone a light on the orchestrations.
 

Urban Shocker

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I wish I'd known you were going. My friend Libby and I sat in the Mezzanine, and stayed for some time afterwards, drinkies in hand, at the party in the lobby - where I ate as much chocolate as I could get my mitts on. We chatted with a tsoundcheck music student ( cello, at the Conservatory ... ) who introduced himself. I thought the Shostakovich and Brahms were an excellent combination, and would love to hear Alisa Weilerstein again.

The tickets were comps. The TSO seem to want me back. My neighbour Daphne has also not renewed this year. She's not a fan of Oundjian any more than I am and has been similarly booking her concerts so as to avoid his conducting for years.

We live in hopes.
 

TonyV

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I wish I'd known you were going. My friend Libby and I sat in the Mezzanine, and stayed for some time afterwards, drinkies in hand, at the party in the lobby - where I ate as much chocolate as I could get my mitts on. We chatted with a tsoundcheck music student ( cello, at the Conservatory ... ) who introduced himself. I thought the Shostakovich and Brahms were an excellent combination, and would love to hear Alisa Weilerstein again.

The tickets were comps. The TSO seem to want me back. My neighbour Daphne has also not renewed this year. She's not a fan of Oundjian any more than I am and has been similarly booking her concerts so as to avoid his conducting for years.

We live in hopes.
Sorry to have missed you. We bought these tickets on a whim, as an add-on to our series which ran out early this season.

My partner and I both have mixed feelings about Oundjian. There are some pieces, including some Brahms and Bruckner, and lots of Russian stuff, that he does as well as, or better than, other conductors. And then there are the times he lets us down (a Mahler 1st that was just plain bad). All things considered he has developed the orchestral sound in the grand style, better than any of his predecessors to be quite frank about it, and his ear for great players is something I'd miss were he to leave. My favourite guest conductor is consistently Noseda. The biggest surprise in the past two seasons has been a young guest conductor named James Gaffigan, who is worth hearing next time he shows up.

Hastening to add that on our return from London last fall, the sound of the LSO still in our ears, we discovered that our TSO sounds equal. Oundjian is owed the credit for that; the orchestra is one of the best sounding anywhere, now. But I tend to like to hear guest conductors, depending on repertoire of course. This is a very difficult issue.

Dausgaard comes back next season with Mahler #6.
 

Urban Shocker

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Jack Diamond makes an interesting claim, in this interview in the new Wholenote, that if the TSO musicians sat on risers like the musicians in his new hall in Montreal do, the sound would be much improved:

.............................................................................................

Written by Pamela Margles
Wednesday, 30 May 2012

When you head down to David Pecaut Square for this year’s Luminato festival you will notice something new — and altogether different. An immense blue ribbon will sweep overhead from one end of the square to the other. Along its course it will wind around the stage and make its way past a group of balletic windsocks.

After the square was renamed last year in memory of the co-founder of the festival, it was officially designated as the festival ub. Thus inspired, Luminato inaugurated a program of architectural installations in the square. The architect Jack Diamond, of Diamond Schmitt Architects, was selected to create this initial design, which is being called Windscape.

Diamond is best known to Toronto-area music lovers as the architect of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. It’s been the home of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet since its unveiling in 2006 with Wagner’s Ring cycle. Diamond has designed buildings across Canada, the U.S. and around the world for all sorts of uses, from academic and medical institutions to the Corus Quay building on the Toronto waterfront. But it’s his innovative performing arts centres that I wanted to talk to him about. His New Mariinsky Theatre is about to open in St. Petersburg, Russia, and last fall the Montreal Symphony debuted in their new hall, La Maison Symphonique de Montréal. Then there are the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta, the Burlington Performing Arts Centre in Burlington, Ontario, and Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, D.C., just to name a few of his most recent projects.

Diamond was born in 1932 in Piet Retief, South Africa. After graduate work at Oxford, he studied with the legendary Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania. Diamond came to Toronto in 1964 to direct the new Master of Architecture program at the University of Toronto’s architecture school, started his own firm, then partnered with Donald Schmitt in 1989 to form Diamond Schmitt Architects.

I interviewed Diamond in April at the offices of Diamond Schmitt Architects in the Queen-Spadina area of downtown Toronto. On the outside, the red-brick heritage building looks traditional. Inside, the ultra-contemporary offices are full of light and pulsing with activity, with open work spaces and glass walls. For me, this interview represented a broader approach to the experience of attending a concert or opera than offered by the performers, composers, conductors and directors I usually interview. It turned out to be all the more rewarding since Diamond was so eloquent, passionate about what he was doing, and delightfully candid.

We began by talking about Windscape.

Jack Diamond: The whole idea of Luminato is to have art transform the city emotionally, intellectually and artistically — for people to experience the city in a much more intense and different way. So the idea for Windscape was to transform David Pecaut Square — the nucleus of Luminato — just as Luminato transforms the city.

How do you transform this space without putting up walls or barriers?

The way we’ve done it is to have a great blue banner running through the space. But the banner is not enveloping the space — it’s enhancing it by defining the boundaries of the public space. Our eyes are naturally attracted to movement. Second-hand car dealers know that, and that’s why they’ve got whirlygigs all over. So it will be animated by wind — natural and artificial. We have some big fans.

How will the banner interact with the concerts that are being presented on the stage?
Because Luminato is offering music, dance, drama, all of that, what we are trying to do here is create a sense of their convergence. To reinforce that, we’ve invited composers and choreographers to control the movement of the banner with light and sound. So architecture will bring them all together here.

Does Windscape represent a new direction for you?

Perhaps …

I’m thinking along the lines of Christo’s large-scale installations.
This is not a Christo. What Christo does is to envelop something and use it as an armature for his stuff. This is not enveloping the square — it’s enhancing and illuminating it, making people aware of the space in a way they hadn’t thought about before.

Would you, for instance, design sets for opera?

I would love to design a set. A very long time ago, when I was a student, I designed sets for student productions. It was fun. One was for an annual pantomime the school of architecture put on, and there was also one for an amateur theatrical.

When you talk about the way Windscape illuminates the city, does that relate to the way the huge glass façade of the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto illuminates the city?

That’s somewhat different. When you are inside, you do have a new view of the city. But what we’ve done there is to dissolve the external wall, so the public areas inside are extensions of the city’s public areas. The sidewalk in front of the opera house goes right into the room. We enclose it with glass so that it is climate-controlled, but it is entirely transparent to the street. Then the city offers a different experience — it’s framed.

Yet it’s the opposite of the traditional opera house, which you enter through a door in a very solid wall. In a way that was very elitist. This is easy to enter, and accessible. It’s not intimidating.

With all that going on, how do youkeep the focus on what’s on stage — the reason people are there?

Inside, there is an opaque wall, and when you cross through it you are in another world in which the city is excluded. It’s the world of opera and ballet. It’s where disbelief is suspended, where, in fact, you have entered into the realm of the artists’ creations. It’s a very different world, and the architecture is very much a reflection of that. There’s a dramatic contrast betweenthe transparent rectilinear shapes and straight lines of the public spaces and the opaque, curvilinear shapes of the internally-focused building inside.

How does the fact that there is an audience involved affect the basic design of the opera hall?

With an Italian horseshoe-shaped hall [like the Four Seasons Centre] you always have a sense of the audience. People are lining the walls, and containing the building. During the performance you can see and hear them react as you do — it’s enhanced by the sense of community. You are not alone in that room. That’s why the architectural form of the enveloping horseshoeis very good for the audience.

What about the performers?

It’s even better for the performers because they have really close contact. They are being embraced by the audience. And they are conscious of the audience. There is an enveloping — in fact in many concert halls when the choir is not there people sit behind the stage and surround the orchestra.

I noticed that the orchestra sits on risers in your new hall for the Montreal Symphony — was that your decision?

Of course.

Do you think the risers improve the sound?

No question. The first rule of acoustics is that if you can see well you can begin to hear well. You hear with your eyes and you see with your ears. So seeing is good. But risers don’t only give visibility. There’s also an acoustic reason for them — in my view there’s always an acoustic basis that should drive design. So I like to put the timpani and brass on risers because I think it helps dampen the sound slightly. Then when you put the strings on a hard surface in front, you get more reflectivity. So that hall is particularly responsive to strings.

Do you think if the Toronto Symphony sat on risers it would improve the sound in Roy Thomson Hall?

No question.

After hearing the Montreal Symphony in their new hall, I couldn’t help wishing we had a symphony hall in Toronto which sounds like that one.

You can draw your own conclusions about this, but when an architect with a romantic view about architecture chooses an arbitrary shape as an artist and then says to the acoustician, “Fix it!â€, the best you can get is six out of ten — the best. If, however, the architect works with an acoustician and starts out with the physics of sound, so that the shape of the hall is a derivative, you get an eight or nine. You can then tune the hall by moving curtains and so on, though I don’t believe in too many moving parts — I think you should design a hall, period.

As good an architect as Arthur Erikson [the architect of Roy Thomson Hall] was, his personal talent got in his way. For me it’s not only more satisfying to be driven by necessity, but it’s ultimately more gratifying. You create a more sustainable design if you are driven by necessity.

Like good sound?

That’s one, but there are others. I believe that the true secret of design is making virtues of these necessities. Take them and celebrate them.

I like your word “celebrate.â€

I really like to celebrate the needs, the technology. And then, in the end, if you make the form out of the demands of sound, and the decoration out of the technology itself, you get a design that you couldn’t have thought of on your own.

So the proverbial sketch on a napkin doesn’t take you very far?

You know what the problems with all those are — they are just sketches on napkins. You should wipe your mouth after the meal and throw the napkin away. There’s a wonderful short-hand in a drawing, but the conception should be based upon knowledge of the technology. Then you find a clever way of improving the conception. When you’ve got limited means and a real demand, that’s how innovation comes about. You can’t intuit a complex problem if you have no knowledge of it. So you must first figure out the issues involving the physical demands, such as sound attenuation.

In the Toronto opera house, the hall is a separate piece that doesn’t touch the outside. Aesthetically you get an egg sitting very gently in its nest. The inside is curvilinear, the outside rectilinear. No sound audible to the human ear penetrates it. The reason that’s important is that the quieter the room, the more audiences can appreciate the nuances of the sounds generating the music. That whole building is on rubber pads, and it has huge, heavy walls and beams that stop both airborne and structural-borne sounds. How could you do that with a little scribble on a napkin? Those principles shape the design. So that’s what I mean by necessity.

You were put through the wringer during the planning stages of the opera house by some — not primarily opera-lovers, I think — who wanted a landmark signature building by someone like Frank Gehry.

He’s a talented guy.

But I imagine you thinking, who do they think I am, a nobody?

Exactly.

I recall that Bradshaw was always adamant in his support for your design.

And his people who had been working with me said, “No way.†I have great admiration for Gehry. He has a plastic talent that’s brilliant. The problem is that it’s idiosyncratic. You can’t develop a school out of that, so the works of his disciples, like the new art gallery in Edmonton, are not as good as his. Everybody else who tries to follow that principle is a second class Gehry, because it’s artistic.

Do you consider your work equally artistic, only that you are starting from the inside out?

I hope so, but what drives the aesthetics — its structure and foundation — is a rational base. It’s much more satisfying aesthetically than starting from an arbitrary base, where I make any shape that I choose. For me that doesn’t have authenticity, because it’s arbitrary.

While the opera house was being built, Bradshaw always talked about the sound and the sightlines, rather than how striking and beautiful it would look.

That’s right. No question, he knew what the issues were, and I agreed with him absolutely. Those are the fundamentals, otherwise it’s not a good opera house. It’s like the Sydney Opera House — it’s a great symbol for Sydney, but it’s a lousy opera house. The architect chose shapes which are intriguing and beautiful, and it’s a lovely piece of sculpture. But it’s not delivering a great opera house. So what’s the purpose of that building? Its iconic and symbolic aspects, with its location on Sydney harbour, are very important, but they should not be at the expense of its primary purpose, which is an opera house. My point is that a beautiful building and a workable building should not be mutually exclusive.

In fact, this architectural practice that we have here is based upon the resolution of those two — perhaps not a resolution, since that sounds like they are in conflict. It’s that one informs the other. The function is all-important, and it’s expressed in a way that is wonderful. To me that’s the essence of great architecture. Whether it’s Gothic architecture or Greek architecture, it’s really that it works, that its technology is inherently authentic.

You mentioned making people aware of a space in ways they hadn’t thought about before — what are some special details in the Four Seasons Centre that people might not be aware of?

There are so many details in that building, there really are. The glass staircase — when people are moving on it, is like an animated choreography. Then there’s the huge skylight — it’s not an indulgence. It brings enough light into the hall so that it becomes transparent, because glass is not transparent during the day, and it lights the back of the hall. We have aisles where people can socialize — but for the top rows we have continental seating, because an aisle in the middle would be too steep. With the aisles along the walls, people can hold on safely. [And there’s]the sweep of the floor — the floor actually changes elevation around the corners to provide good sightlines.

I enjoyed Valery Gergiev’s remark when he first saw the open performing space on the second floor, “They’ve made an auditorium out of the lobby — which is great!â€

When the chief architect from St. Petersburg was here to review the Mariinsky designs, we were sitting in a lunch-time concert there, and he turned to me and said, “You know, the music here is the backround. The real show is the city when you are sitting in the lobby.†I thought that was an interesting reversal, that while he was listening to the music he was looking through the glassand seeing people in streetcars and automobiles and trucks going by, and the clouds changing, and so on.

I’m not so sure the performers would be happy about that.

It was interesting, though. (He laughs.)

How is the Mariinsky different from the Four Seasons?

It’s not different in the sense that it has same DNA, the same horseshoe plan, the same focus. But it’s in St. Petersburg and not Toronto. The context is hugely important for me, responding architecturally to the principles of the tradition and not violating the continuity of the streetscape. It’s very important not to disrupt the long and powerful history, but to reinforce it.

Was it a problem for you that the historic old Mariinsky Theatre is right beside your new opera house?

No, on the contrary, that’s what I’m saying — the continuity is very important, of the streetscape, the height, the scale, the materials of the surrounding buildings in St. Petersburg.

Do you refer to them architecturally?

I do, absolutely. (He shows me some designs for the new Mariinsky.)The colours, the masonry, the porticos, the columns, the vertical windows … all the elements are there, but with a contemporary expression.

There wasn’t much space for landscaping in Toronto — will there be more there?

It is a huge site, a whole city block, and the opera house is the same size, 2000 seats. But [unlike Toronto] all the production facilities for both houses are there as well. I’ve done a master plan for the whole precinct. I’m changing the present square and making a new boulevard and bridge over the canal connecting to the Conservatoryand the old Mariinsky and the little concert hall that Valery has already done. This becomes one of the premier performing arts districts in the world. (He points to the drawings.) Here is a statue of Rachmaninoff, and that’s Glinka — they were both directors of this opera house. Russia has this extraordinary heritage. I think Gergiev’s clear ambition is to rival Lincoln Center and the Southbank and all those.

Russia has a great advantage — it has the music.
It has the music and it has Gergiev. He’s amazing, an astonishing guy.

When you were designing the Maison Symphonique did you work with Kent Nagano [the music director of the Montreal Symphony] on the design?

I didn’t work with Nagano. It was a peculiarity of this design competition. They were terrified about us getting some advantage over our competitors, so it was done without the orchestra.

Was the situation different with Richard Bradshaw [the artistic director of the Canadian Opera Company at the time]?

Very different. We were very close — he was great. But the strongest input Richard had was regarding the orchestra pit. The pit was his focus, and correctly so.

Of course that’s not surprising, since he was a conductor.

And we really were much influenced by him on the design of the pit. The rest came from the acoustician and myself. But he was a good client in the sense that he knew when to intervene and when not to intervene. Without Richard that building would never have got done.

With your design?

It wouldn’t have got done, period.

In your recent book of sketches and writings, you make it clear that the music itself is important to you.

Absolutely. Next to architecture music is my love. In fact my thesis for my bachelor degree was a concert hall design.

I noticed a drawing of Tafelmusik performing at Trinity-St. Paul’s in the book. What kinds of concerts would I be most likely to see you at?

At the top of my list are chamber music and choral music, baroque music, the voice … I’ve come to almost enjoy Wagner, but I did it through Mahler, the wrong way around. And it’s very hard to beat Bach, Handel and Mozart. Then, going earlier, Cherubini and Charpentier. People like Philip Glass intrigue me, and Arvo Pärt, I think he’s fantastic. His Für Alina really gets to me. Gorecki I like a lot. His Symphony of Sorrowful Songs is amazing. There’s a lot of good contemporary stuff, better now because it’s melodic. That period between Shostakovich and Glass left me cold, I have to say — the atonal crashing and banging.

What projects are you working on right now?

There’s the renovation of the whole Banff Centre. We’ve already accomplished quite a bit, the master plan and two buildings. Now I’m working on the old theatres and the art gallery.

You’ve influenced the whole experience of going to a concert or opera in Canada — and around the world.

Not enough, not enough. (He laughs.)

What would you do next, if you could choose anything?

Don’t get me started on that — there’s lots to be done …

Windscape is open from 11am to 11pm at David Pecaut Square during Luminato, which runs from June 8 until June 17.

The free concert programming on stage at David Pecaut Square is listed on the Luminato website: www.luminato.com.

Diamond Schmitt Architects have a detailed website: www.dsai.ca.

Here are two books, one by Diamond and one about the work of his firm, Diamond Schmitt Architects:

–Sketches from Here and there: Words and Watercolours by A. J. Diamond (Douglas & McIntyre)

–Insight and On Site: The Architecture of Diamond and Schmitt (Douglas & McIntyre). This contains an extensive bibliography on Diamond.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Pamela Margles is a Toronto-based journalist and frequent contributor to The WholeNote.
 

Urban Shocker

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8
... which was probably the best Luminato performance I've seen since the festival began. It worked at every level that the recent Semele , for instance, failed - and the orchestration and vocal performances were as strong as the best of Semele's, in their own unique way. Even the Sony Centre 'worked', since the audio was acceptably amplified ... and I sat close to the stage. Few walk-outs, despite it being over four hours long without intermissions. Really, a treasure. I'm thrilled to have seen it.

Marius Zerafa's art history talks ( two hours each, on Wednesday and Friday nights ) continue to gather larger audiences. Now they're being held in the auditorium at Alumni Hall on St. Joseph. We've moved on from Caravaggio, Raphael and Leonardo to Michelangelo ... and next week he's wrapping things up with religious architecture and Picasso. Bravo to the Dominicans in arranging his visit. Then he's back to Florence, I believe.

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Yesterday afternoon, before Einstein, to the second of Tafelmusik's free, delightful, Baroque Summer Festival concerts at the Faculty of Music, this one featuring faculty musicians; baritone Peter Harvey being the only vocalist, and standing out because of it, and carrying us along with his telling of Pygmalion:

* Weiss Introduzione & Allegro, from Sonata no. 45 for solo lute
* Telemann Fantasia for solo flute
* Telemann Sonata for 2 violins, bassoon & continuo, from Six Quatuors our Trios (1733)
* Clérambault Cantate "Pygmalion"
* Boccherini Sonata in C Major for cello & continuo
* Purcell Fantasia in 3 parts on a ground

Peter Harvey, baritone
Claire Guimond, flute / Dominic Teresi, bassoon
Aisslinn, Nosky, Julia Wedman & Cristina Zacharias, violin
Christina Mahler, cello / David Sinclair, bass
Lucas Harris, lute, archlute & guitar
Olivier Fortin & Charlotte Nediger, harpsichord
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This afternoon, for dim sum with my baritone friend at Crown Princess, then over to see the Rule Britannia! exhibition of ceramics at the Gardiner Museum. No time to see Roger Vivier's shoes at the Bata Museum today, though.
 

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