This week saw the launch of Artsfile, a new online magazine showcasing the best in Ottawa’s performing arts scene. The features and reviews are by me and three of my former Ottawa Citizen colleagues: Peter Simpson (visual arts), Patrick Langston (theatre), and Peter Robb (editor-in-chief). The publication owes its existence to James and Sarah Baxter–James also publishes iPolitics, while Sarah is involved as a volunteer and fundraiser in several local arts organizations.
I’ll continue to review some concerts exclusively here, but I’ll be cross-posting my Artsfile reviews, beginning with Wednesday’s NACO concert featuring the luminous young Quebec pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin. Here’s an excerpt:
“Charles Richard-Hamelin is arguably the best and most complete pianist under the age of 30 in Canada. He combines monster virtuosity with keen intelligence and exceptionally sensitive, imaginative musicality. His headline-making silver medal at the 2015 Chopin competition in Warsaw certainly boosted his career, but unlike some big international prize winners, he hasn’t burned out early. His work ethic and consistency have allowed him to maintain the momentum.
On Wednesday, Richard-Hamelin played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 with NACO, under the guest baton of Carlo Rizzi. This excitable Italian conducts with enthusiasm, grace, and beautifully clear technique. He doesn’t over-intellectualize the music, but gives everything a narrative, a sense of dance, and an emotional immediacy that reflect his impeccable opera house credentials.
To date, I’ve mostly heard Richard-Hamelin in big Romantic and post-Romantic repertoire. His Mozart was glorious: supple, winsome, warmly lit from within, delicate but never feeble.”
Read the complete review here.