Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baroque Week in Ottawa Feb 15-19

The Theatre of Early Music, Arion Baroque Orchestra, Ottawa Baroque Consort perform on Feb. 15th, 16th, and 19th.

If there are other crows out there squawking about Ottawa's non-existent early music scene, their beaks will be shut come the 15th of February. Between next Wednesday and Sunday, three concerts featuring great canadian early music ensembles will showcase the great variety of style and instrumentation to be found in baroque music.

Dido & Aeneas

Up first is the Theatre of Early Music's production of Dido and Aeneas at Knox Presbyterian, 120 Lisgar st., on Wednesday, the 15th at 7:30pm. A story modeled from that found in Virgil's 4th book of the Aeneid, D&A, unsurprisingly, focuses on the queen of Carthage, Dido, played by Noemi Kiss, and her interest in the Trojan hero Aeneas, played by Alexander Dobson. The short opera will be performed semi-staged, and will feature a orchestra playing on period-instruments.

A distinctly different opera stylistically from those appearing on the continent at the time, Purcell  blended French and Italian operatic traditions and infused them with his thoroughly English musical style. Adding to its unique position in the history of opera, Dido was written  for an all girl cast (it was first performed at the Chelsea Girls School). More bizarrely, the part of the witch (who, in this production, will be played by the Ottawa-native counter-tenor Daniel Taylor) in the original production called for a bass singer, sung by a Mr. Williamson.

Be prepared to have your heartstrings pulled in this dramatic affair!

Tickets are available online at arsnova.ca

Commedia dell'arte

Next, Arion Baroque Orchestra will be presenting a program titled Commedia dell'arte as part of the Ottawa Chamber Music Society's winster concert series. The concert will be held at Dominion Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper st., on Thursday, the 16th at 7:30pm. With works energized by guest-violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky and guest-conducter Jaap ter Linden, the program will feature music from the stages of the great theaters across baroque Italy with works by Vivaldi, Boccherini, Pergolesi, and others.

A great contrast with the previous evening's performance, Arion's full numbers and up-tempo selections will get your blood pumping. You're more likely to have your leg pulled than your heartstrings in this one!

Tickets are available online at chamberfest.com

This & That

Finally, the Ottawa Baroque Consort will welcome flautist Grégoire Jeay in a program featuring a variety of flute music with strings. Jeay, a virtuoso period-flute player, has performed across North America and Europe with ensembles such as Tafelmusik, La Nef, Skye Consort, La bande Montréal Baroque, Ensemble Caprice, and Masques.

Though its rather humble title may hide the fact, this most intimate performance in Baroque Week will be just as attending as the previous two. The event will be held at Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer ave., on Sunday, the 19th at 3:30pm. You might just see a baroque bassoon too!

Tickets are available at the door for $20, $10 for students.

See you out there!

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