Chamberfest review: An intriguing double bill from Against the Grain Theatre

Chamberfest review: Against the Grain Theatre | At Dominion Chalmers | Reviewed Saturday

In just six years, Against the Grain Theatre has established itself as a true original. The Toronto-based ensemble has earned a following for presenting great classical works in unconventional stagings, along with rarities and contemporary music.
Continue reading

No ‘grande dame’, Janina Fialkowska shows she’s in prime form with dazzling display

Chamberfest review: Janina Fialkowska | At Dominion Chalmers | Reviewed Friday

I hate the expression “grande dame”. It’s meant to compliment an older woman who has achieved great accomplishment and renown in her field, but to me it conjures up images of a fearsome, fussy Lady Violet type, clinging to past glories, commanding respect but no longer productive or even relevant. The fact that there’s no real male equivalent is telling.
Continue reading

‘Cellobration’: Whimsy and ecstasy from Dutch improvising cellist Ernst Reijseger

Chamberfest review: Ernst Reijseger

At Dominion Chalmers

Reviewed Tuesday

Ernst Reijseger, the envelope-pushing Dutch cellist and composer, was one of the most anticipated acts at the 2015 Chamberfest. Unfortunately, Reijseger’s mother died shortly before the festival and he had to cancel his Ottawa appearances, promising to return the following year.
Continue reading

Music and Beyond review: Pianist Jan Lisiecki wows the crowd but not the critic

Pianist Jan Lisiecki | At Dominion-Chalmers | Reviewed Friday evening

From the Eagles to David Spade, every art form has performers who attract a huge, popular following while dismaying (sometimes enraging) the critics. Classical music is no different. Lang Lang and Yuja Wang still sell out halls despite a catalogue of truly horrible reviews.
Continue reading

London Handel Players play French with flourish on a sombre night

At St. Barnabas Church | Reviewed Thursday

Thursday’s apparent terror attack in Nice cast a sobering shadow over the London Handel Players program of French Baroque music. The concert was originally billed as a Bastille Day celebration, but even if the musicians didn’t explicitly reference the day’s events, thoughts at the concert could not help but turn to France and its pain.
Continue reading

China’s Hebei acrobats mix ancient arts with modern glitz

At the Great Canadian Theatre Company | Reviewed Wednesday evening

The Hebei Acrobatic Troupe is an award-winning circus ensemble from Northern China. The artists mix traditional Chinese skills like tumbling, balancing and contortion with more modern and Western styles. The Troupe is the guest of Music and Beyond, and has been delighting audiences all week.
Continue reading