Tag Archives: Gowan

A living doll named Andriana brings down the (opera) house when Hoffman starts telling his Tales

POWER PLAY: Andriana Chuchman gets re-charged by Steven Cole

SHOCK TREATMENT: You don’t expect a lot of repressed mirth at the opera, even when the themes are tragicomic. But Toronto opera goers are howling with laughter this month at Andriana Chuchman’s diabolically funny performance in the new Canadian Opera Company production of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. In case you’re unfamiliar with the plot, it’s all about a

CHUCHMAN: living doll

romantic poet [Hoffman] who becomes a greater and more insightful poet after he amorously pursues three enigmatic women with disastrous results. Which is where Ms. Chuchman comes in. Hoffman is sure that in the exquisite Olympia he has found the perfect woman –apparently the fact that she sleeps in a glass coffin has somehow eluded him — and vows to make her his own. Alas, Olympia is a mechanical doll, brought to life by jolts of electricity that evoke nostalgic memories of Elsa Lanchester rising to the occasion as the Bride of Frankenstein. As directed by Lee Blakely, clearly a disciple of the Mel Brooks school of drama, and as deftly executed by Winnipeg-born soprano Chuchman, Olympia is a brilliantly bawdy creation, sung with spellbinding precision and a sense of punch-line timing

SHEARER: as Olympia in 1951

worthy of Madeline Kahn. It’s a great role, of course; ballerina Moira Shearer danced it in the award-garnering 1951 screen version more than half a century ago. But the remarkable Ms. Chuchman takes it to a new and hilarious level, and the performance frequently interrupted by spontaneous applause from a most appreciative audience. Her star turn is the diamond in a show filled with gems, including Russell Thomas’ searing Hoffman, Erin Wall‘s tortured Antonia — how often do you get to sing all those great arias about how you’re not supposed to sing? — Steven Cole’s amusing posturing as all four thankless servants and John Relyea‘s tour de force performances as all four demonic villains. Tales of Hoffman is on stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts through May 14, and even with those memorable Offenbach melodies, I predict it’s Ms. Chuchman’s Olympia you’ll still be talking about long after the final curtain comes down.

ALICE & CHESHIRE CAT: her Adventures are bound for L.A.

BALLET HIGH: The National Ballet of Canada will return to L.A. this fall for the first time in 35 years. The company will bring its spectacularly successful production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the Los Angeles’ Music Center, October 19–21. Closer to home, the National’s celebrated outreach programme YOU Dance is in Thunder Bay this week, introducing students in

BRUEGGERGOSMAN: we've got a crush on her

grades four to six to the world of dance through free workshops and performances. Now only five years old, YOU Dance has already performed free of charge for more than 48,000 students and teachers in Ontario. Hey, somebody’s doing something right …

SHARPS & FLATS: The irrepressible World Rock Symphony Orchestra is back rocking Fallsview Casino this week and next, with homegrown rocker Gowan set to play a three-night stand there on July 11-13 …  the incomparable Measha Brueggergosman serenades fans with songs from her new pop album, I’ve Got A Crush On You,  tonight  at the Markham Theatre and tomorrow night at Trinity St. Paul’s Church …  Jack de Keyzer brings his Blues

HOFFERT: Sunday salons

Revue to the lakefront this weekend with a Saturday night gig at the Riverview Room atop the Port Credit Legion … and always-in-demand music man Tom Szczesniak joins Paul Hoffert’s Sunday afternoon jazz salon at Musideum this weekend.

OUR TOWN: Super shutterbug Barbara Cole’s new photo exhibit, Two People Walking A Tightrope In An Ordinary Life Filled With Extraordinary Moments – love that title! – is now on view at the Baux-XI Photo gallery across from the AGO … Grace Restaurant on College Street celebrated its fourth birthday this week with a new chef, Kevin Gastonguay, replacing exiting rave-maker Dustin Gallagher … still in a festive mood, Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company celebrates its 30th Anniversary this week with tonight’s world premiere of Aguas/Waters at the Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront. Aquas/Waters is choreographed by Artistic Director Esmeralda Enrique and Juan Ogalla, who won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Dance Performance last year.

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More honours for Stephen & Andy & Denise, more about Glambert, and Don & Amber spark Sunday night viewing

BROADWAY BABY: Birthday boy Stephen Sondheim got a very special 80th birthday gift this year — a Broadway theater with his name on it. The Henry Miller Theatre will become

ZETA JONES: Sondheim salute

the Stephen Sondheim Theatre as soon as the current tenant, the Dame Edna-Michael Feinstein musical romp All About Me, concludes its run. Meanwhile, just before his birthday, Sondheim was saluted by such musical comedy sparklers as Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, David Hyde Pierce, Donna Murphy and Nathan Gunn at Avery Fisher Hall.  Now he’s set to be feted with another all-star salute, at New York City Center on April 26, with musical tributes from Angela Lansbury, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Len Cariou, Barbara Cook, Raul Esparaza, Sutton Foster, Victor Garber, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Lane and repeat saluters Donna Murphy and Bernadette Peters. For more info, click here.

KIM: Hit Parader

ROCKING  HIM GENTLY: New inductees to the Hit Parade Hall Of Fame include Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Michael Jackson & the Jackson Five, Carole King, Little Richard, The Rolling Stones and Montreal-born Andy Kim (Rock Me Gently, Sugar Sugar.) Kim says that learning of his induction “put me back in the time when I was listening to the radio as a kid, and still today. I love all these artists, and I look at the names, and I hear their songs. I am forever grateful to be in their company.”  Next week Kim releases his first new album in two decades, Happen Again, on his own Iceworks label, and reported highlights include a song he’s written with top Barenaked Ladies tunesmith Ed Robertson. Stay tuned.

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Talk about a jam session. Canadian Music Week wrapped up in T.O. with  713 bands filling 58 venues to capacity. Top-draw music makers  included Our

DONLON: more hardware

Lady Peace, Hedley, Joel Plaskett, Great Lake Swimmers, The Trews, K-OS, Bedouin Soundclash,  Arkells and too many more to mention here. Keynote speakers included superSongwriters Paul Williams and Dave Stewart; radio face Roger Ashby and Universal music guru Randy Lennox picked up Lifetime Achievement Awards; and CBC Radio chief Denise Donlon was honoured with The Rosalie Award for her impressive career in broadcasting …  piano man Chilly Gonzales, who wrapped his Ivory Tower flick here last week for first-time director Adam Traynor of Puppetmastaz notoriety, was in Berlin last night to accompany electro-pop pal Peaches as she premiered her stripped-down solo concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar … frankly fabulous Isabel Bayrakdarian is set to headline two COC operas next season, The Magic Flute with Michael Schade on Jan. 29) and the season closer, Orfeo ed Euridice, with Lawrence Zazzo on May

LAMBERT: new 'Meaning'

8 … indefatigable rocker Gowan plays Fallsview  Casino on May 7 & May 8 …  p.s. to country fans: A new version of 6 Chix, the all-girl music show that premiered at Fallsview last year, returns to the Niagara Falls casino on May 14 for one week only.

WHAT’S HOT: Currently heating up Amazon,com shipping orders: On The Meaning Of Adam Lambert, a book of essays from the web postings of two allegedly serious, mature professional women who became somewhat obsessed (obviously) with the openly gay American Idol runner-up. One reader describes it as “a train wreck with underwear showing.” Hmmmm …Chanel tattoos? Yes, ladies, you can now wear temporary tattoos of Chanel jewellery and some other intriguing designs, including a faux garter belt that could make Coco herself crack up.  Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street started selling ‘em this week – the complete set

CHERRY: nervous

for $75 – but if you want one, don’t delay. “We’ve only received 500 sets, “ a Holt’s rep said with a shrug. “They’ll be gone by Sunday.” Mon dieu! … and look for CBC Television to own this coming Sunday night.  The World Figure Skating Championship Gala starts at 3 pm EST; the much-anticipated season finale of Amber Marshall’s hit series Heartland starts at 7 pm; and the even-more-anticipated Don Cherry screen biography, Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story, starts at 8 pm.

Don says he still hasn’t seen the film, which was written by his son Tim Cherry and reportedly pulls no punches. “I’m going to watch it alone, down in my basement with my dog Blue and my goldfish, just the same as everybody else, with the commercials and the whole deal.” Is he nervous about seeing it? “Very.”

WHAT’S NOT: Leaving the lights on tomorrow night between 8:30-9:30 pm. Yes, Earth Hour is finally upon us — heck, there’s even a Blackberry app for it! So switch ’em off, people. Besides, we all look sooooo much better by candlelight.  And we, and we alone, have the power. In the words of the great Portugese-Canadian philosopher Nelly Furtado:

Turn off the light!

Turn off the light!

Happy weekend.

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