KW & Beyond
by Irena Syrokomla
Festivals in the hot days of summer
The Grand River Baroque Festival, at the beginning of July, was memorable. The theme, the voices, the instruments, the setting in the garden and the Buehlow barn - altogether better than ever before, it that is possible! Several highlights are worth mentioning: Joseph Schnurr, a very impressive 22-year-old tenor and a student at Wilfrid Laurier University carried the main part of St. John’s Passion (what a voice, what future!) - and James Mason and his Bach’s oboe concerto in F. Of course, other musicians and other singers were very impressive, too many to mention: Laura Pudwell, Carolyn Sinclair, Daniel Lichti, Roxalana Toews; the instrumental talents of Julie Baumgartel, James Mason and others…. And, Victor Martens, of course, leading St. John’s Passion with such emotional involvement. The first evening of all 6 Brandenburg Concertos was a real feast. Many thanks to the organizers, musicians, singers, sponsors and the faithful audience.
Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival was a different venue
taking place on the parking lot behind the Waterloo City Hall. It was the 12th
annual festival on this theme, with about 14 participants, prominent
sponsors and several hundred enthusiastic jazz lovers. The weekend weather
on July 9 to 11 was hot and everybody was searching for some shade. A good
number of attendees were almost camping there, enjoying the music and voices
of some well known and some less-known artists. I attended Denzal
Sinclaire’s concert and the final one on Sunday of Peter Appleyard.
Listening to such talent on a hot summer day among the crowd who weretapping
and swinging along with the music and songs – what a way to spend a weekend!
What an opportunity to hear it for free! Denzal Sinclaire is one of Canada’s
most popular vocalists and Peter Appleyard has been weaving his magical
music on vibraphone for over 30 years. Both baby boomers and the younger
crowd must be familiar with his talent and appreciated it greatly. Next year
I’ll try to come for more concerts and bring not only a lounge chair but my
own umbrella as well.
The Count of Monte Cristoin Stratford.
Every year, Stratford Festival organizers are presenting something suitable for a younger audience. Last year it was The King and I, this year it is The Count of Monte Cristo.
This is a stage adaptation of the famous novel by Alexandre Dumas, a thick volume (at least in the version I read in my teens) condensed into 2 hours full of action, not too many details, just enough to understand the plot and follow what is happening. It is amazingly constructed in acts with numerous stage changes, light effects, incredibly fast and moving at the speed of… a movie?
The theatre has changed in the last 30 years, with the exception of some rare classics everything has to move faster, the audiences have shorter and shorter attention spans (influence of modern movies and television, perhaps?) and are more accustomed to changes, short cuts and simultaneous story lines. Among the cast David Snelgrove in dual roles of young Edmund Dantes/Albert de Morcerf and Joseph Shaw as Abbe Faria are particularly worth mentioning. The choreography of stage fights by Nicola Pantin was impressive. And the stage set design – by ingenious Guido Tondino - changing in front of your eyes, seamlessly and silently – everything done by computers these days – transformed the theatrical stage into a movie set.
It is good to see on stage the stories read many years ago
and refresh the memories, enjoy the action and the settings. It may be an
opportunity to take a younger generation to the real theatre and give them
the taste of some classics. The Count of Monte Cristo is running till
October 30 at the Avon Theatre and is marked as "Family Experience".
It is only a short drive to Stratford.
Studio Theatre at Stratford:
Send mail to email@example.com
questions or comments about this web site.