Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Food, Opera, Film... Life is Good

Volano Theatre creates some of Toronto's most intriguing pieces of theatre. And they're not afraid of opera. Handel's 1707 opera, Cor Fedele (The Faithful Heart), lay unperformend for years until a complete copy was found in 1960 in Germany. In 2000 it had its world premiere in London, and this production, by Volcano, is its first Canadian staging.

Volcano sets the love triangle at the heart (heh) of the story in the historic Gladstone, Toronto's best-known boutique hotel. As the audience, we witnessed the first meeting of the lovers in the hotel ballroom, as we sat watching them ordering drinks, having their luggage taken away, etc. We were like ghosts and they were the reality. And then, as they moved to different spaces in the hotel, we followed. Except we didn't stay together. Each of the three characters had a guide who would take part of the audience with them. So, while a scene was being played out in one part of the hotel, another part of the story was unfolding elsewhere. In the end, the audience was back in the original room, and we saw the denouement.

The English libretto was new, written for this production, which wasn't surprising as Handel didn't set the words "Heartless bitch!" to music (at least I'm pretty sure he didn't!) I enjoyed it all; the moving around the hotel felt more gimmicky than vital,but I hadn't been part of this sort of audience before. What captivated me mostly was the last part, back in the ballroom, with some sumptuous singing by Emily Atkinson and Tracy Smith Bessette. You can read more here. We preceded the performance with hearty appetizers in the Gladstone Bar (we were there coincidentally for their half-price appetizers which happen every Tuesday).

I went with a friend and my parents to see First Position (2011) at TIFF, a heart-warming documentary on the young people who enter a prestigious dance competition, the Youth America Grand Prix. If you care anything for ballet and dance in general this is a must-see. The dedication of the dancers and their parents (some scarier than others), is moving and enthralling. This was preceded by dinner at Fune. Hooray! I love those little boats.

And then there was lunch last week with a good friend, catching up on encouraging news for both of us (vertigo relief for me, and one day I'll talk more about it on my blog, when I can bring myself too). Mangia e Bevi's patio was the choice. It was a good one.


Bill said...

You are a busy person!

Audubon Ron said...

The salad looks great. I love me some Prosciutto. I have a great Ragu recipe for you on my site.

G said...

Bill: Yes, I'm feeling the need to retrench.

Ron: Ohhhh, ragu!