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December 2002 - Nr. 12


The Editor
Winter Air
Elizabeth Kuehn
Hier O.K. Berlin!
K-W and Beyond
Art Transcends...
Herwig Wandschneider
Never Forgotten
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Cultural Landsmarks...
To the Comic Book
Christkind Eröffnet...
Märklin's Model Trains
Familienfest Weihnachten
Not Just Fun
Begehbares Bild
Renewable Energy
Karneval Eröffnung
Airship Inventor
Loriot Begeistert
Peter Ustinov

K-W and Beyond

by Irena Wandschneider

Two Words – at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto

In 1999 a group of ambitious artists staged "Two Words" for the Summerworks Festival in Toronto. The play was written by Denise Blinn and Gabrielle Kemeny. Denise also directed the play. It received a Prize for Best Production at that time.

Gabrielle Kemeny and Vladimir Torres [Photo: Catpaw Consulting]This year, Cahoots Theatre Projects production of the same play (same playwrights, same director, different producer and actors) is significantly more mature and complete. The acting is thought through and more mature, the story floats coherently, the sparse stage décor and the costumes by young and talented Joanna Syrokomla complement the South American story. The music, choreography, special effects bring the play into focus offering a rare opportunity to view a piece of good theatre. Ms. Kemeny also acts in the play, other actors have multiple roles and slide into them smoothly with the help of ingenious costumes and props.

Michelle Polak [Photo: Catpaw Consulting]The story is very South American, and actors skilfully maintain Spanish accents and mannerisms. It borrows from stories of Sheherezade with a South American background and a bit of mystery. You can interpret it on several levels, a folk tale, a political drama, even a strange unexpected romance. At the end it is not disclosed what the magical "two words" were supposed to be. A good touch, if they were, it would make the play a bit common. We can foresee more ambitious shows presented by Cahoots Theatre Projects and more of Blinn and Kemeny collaborations. We wish them all the best.


Gauguin to Matisse at the Art Gallery of Ontario

The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is in bad shape, the phenomenal collections of two Russian merchants from the early 20th century - Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozow - were found in a stage of neglect and dilapidation. In order to generate funds for restoration, the Hermitage decided to put together a travelling exhibition. As a result we have a rare opportunity to view some as yet not-seen-before treasures right here at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibit includes French paintings - Gauguin’s paintings of the tropical island paradise he once enjoyed, Matisse’s modernistic creations, Picasso in his early stages and some abstracts, two-dimensional secretive single picture by Rousseau, Maurice Denis’s huge panels of the stories of Psyche and Cupid.

At the time of the visit, there was a good 45 minute introductory slide presentation offered every hour at the beginning of the tour giving visitors a general overview of what to expect. Very much worth spending the time, if it is on when you visit. Aside from the paintings, do not miss the opportunity to admire the intricate sculptures by Auguste Rodin. The incredible work of the master emerges in every detail from the marble and virtually comes to emotional life right in front of your eyes. The sculptures alone are worth the visit.

It is a rare opportunity to see such exquisite art from Europe in Canada, let alone from its far -away home in St. Petersburg. The exhibition is on till January 5, 2003. Tickets have time and date assigned. Tel. for AGO is 416-979-6620 – go and see French Masters !


Guelph Symphony Series – Nordic Tales concert

Grieg’s Piano Concerto is one of my favourites. It is rarely performed, I have heard it live only once before at Roy Thompson Hall in the late 80’s. The opening chords are spectacular, the piano entrance breathtaking. The River Run Centre is such a pleasant setting and good acoustics to match. The program also offered Sibelius "Finlandia" and "The Swan of Tuonela".

The concert was a sold-out. The audience held their collective breath for the opening of Grieg’s concerto – and something strange happened. There was no dramatic opening. No oomph. As if the orchestra didn’t dare to make noise. The piano came in clear and at a good pace. The orchestra did not accelerate. It was the pianist who had to slow down. There were long stretches the orchestra could not keep up with the pianist. Sarah Hagen, a 25 year-young and promising pianist from Vancouver played technically clear and almost flawless. She clearly has a future in front of her, perhaps already aware of it. Obviously the usually impressive orchestra did not have enough opportunity to rehearse with the pianist.

Or perhaps they spent more time on preparing for Koprowski’s "Symphony of Nordic Tales". This modern piece was presented by the composer himself. The final piece, Sibelius’s "Finlandia" provided smoothness and drama of the northern landscape. The audience was enthused. The music brought in a wintery mood.

Some of the concerts offered by the K-W Symphony in Guelph are repeated in Kitchener’s Centre in the Square – this particular one will be offered Sunday, January 26, 2003, at 2:30 pm. By then, the orchestra is bound to be more in tune with the conductor, Mark Skazinetsky, and with Ms. Hagen, and the powerful opening and transitions will be as impressive as they deserve to be. Do not be afraid to draw every emotion you can from the instruments. Grieg saw it that way. And the audience is waiting for it.


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