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October 2006 - Nr. 10

 

The Editor
Letter to the Editor
The Trakehner Horse
Minczuk & Kuusisto at TSO
Dresden's Frauenkirche
Mozart Opera Cancelled
German Impressionists
Golden Madonna
"Der BrŁckenbauer"
The Permanent Wave
Putin visits Dresden
Double Negative
KW & Beyond
Opera York's 10th Season
Two Outstanding Films
A Soiree To Remember
Opera On Film
Go To The Marchť
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehŲrt?
Baden-Wuerttemberg meets Ontario
Planet in Focus
Romancing the Rhine

KW & Beyond

  by Irena Syrokomla

Irena Syrokomla

K-W Symphony in the Fall of 2006

It has been some time since I was sitting relaxed and savoring music made by our orchestra. The artists are back, enthusiastic as ever, with some new faces among musicians who are more familiar to us. Welcome to Centre in the Square in Kitchener!

The concert series has been refreshed and renamed. The Signature Series of eight concerts (Masterpiece Series in prior seasons) will be directed by Simon Streatfield for four performances, and by visiting conductors in the remaining four concerts. Edwin Outwater, a resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony is one of the applicants being considered for the position of Principal Conductor of KW Symphony, and we had an opportunity to see him in action at the first concert of the series. He is young, energetic and very enthusiastic. There is something in him reminding me of Andre Rieu Ė maybe his smile, maybe an inclination to jump in the most dynamic moments. His conducting of Robert Schumannís Piano Concert no.1 and Dvorakís Symphony no.6 was full of vim and vigor, enthusiasm and youthful energy. The orchestra must have felt it as well.

The piano soloist for the Schumannís concerto was Angela Hewitt, and her interpretation and attention to nuances and details was remarkable. Born in Ottawa and educated in Toronto, Ms. Hewitt is well traveled and known worldwide. What a talent, what technique, in playing a long concerto without notes and leading the orchestra to the spontaneous final applause. The encore, not that frequent on this continent, was very well received.

The series is listing such compositions as Coplandís Appalachian Spring, Ravelís Rhapsodie espagnole, Chopinís Piano Concerto no.1 to be played by Todd Yaniw, and Beethoven Symphony no.6 "Pastorale". There is much to look forward to as you can see.

Musically Speaking Ė formerly Sunday Light Classics - opened the series of four concerts with a wonderful collection of musical pieces: Handelís Overture to Royal Fireworks is a marvelous piece full of spectacular fire, as the name indicates. Then the memorable 40th Symphony by Mozart.

Many years go, when I was very young, I heard this beautiful music on the radio. Somehow I missed the name of the composer, but the melody haunted me, so I went to a music store in Yorkville. The young chap selling records ask me to sing it. I responded I could not, however I could whistle and dance. So I whistled and we danced in the aisle and he exclaimed: "Itís the 40th by Mozart, thatís for sure!" And so it was. Needless to say I was holding my breath to hear one of my favorite symphonies and KW Symphony did not disappoint me.

There were other parts of the program worth mentioning: Stravinsky Dance from The Firebird, Richard Strauss Suite in Bb op.4 and Beethoven Symphony no. 2. Daniel Warren as a conductor is much appreciated and Tom Allen as host is worthy of mention too. This series is lighter than The Signature Series, but so much enjoyed by local music lovers. Future concerts will feature music of Mozart, Mussogursky, Bizet, Verdi, Vivaldi and Chopin. What a pleasant way to spend Sunday afternoons.

 

Barefoot in the Park at Theatre and Company
in Kitchener.

There are some changes happening again in Theatre & Company and the audience had the first hand experience of such at the opening night of Barefoot on the Park, a play by Neil Simon. It is the first of the Experience Series, and in spite of the aforementioned changes the pre-planned program is expected to go for 2006-07.

Barefoot in the Park opened in 1963 on Broadway and lasted through 1,530 performances over 3 Ĺ years. In Kitchener it was directed by Graham Cozzubo, a director brought from Alberta, with a new cast of Anna Hardwick and Adrian Marchuk as a newly-wed couple, and Lynn Vogt and Costin Manu in supporting parts.

It is difficult to tell if the problems are the result of the short time allowed for putting the show together, unfamiliarity of the actors and the rest of the team or some other reasons. However, regrettably, the acting of the young couple left much to be desired, and surprisingly the enjoyable part suddenly got credited to the supporting roles of Ms. Vogt and Mr. Manu. Both of them did whatever they could to salvage the play. At the end there is not much to say. Theatre & Company enjoyed a great reputation with great productions, memorable performances, superb directing and acting, - in Barefoot in the Park, it was just not there. The show could be acceptable as a summer theatre production traveling across cottage country Ontario; however, as a production in an ambitious established Theatre & Company, which was in competition to Stratford and Shaw Festivals productions, it just did not measure up. Sorry about that.

The next production Mourning Dove opening October 19 will be directed as an encore by former Artistic Director Stuart Scadron-Wattles. It is based on the Robert Latimer case of 1993 concerning the father who killed his severely handicapped daughter: claiming he could not let her live in constant pain. Again, it may not be a play appealing to a wide audience, - nothing entertaining about this, but it is a thinking individual matter. I do hope Scadron-Wattles comes through and makes it a memorable experience, as in most of plays he directed in the past

It appears that some other theatres like Lost and Found or Touchmark may be gaining support in the region. I remain, with very mixed feelings, wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

 

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