Good morning from the Lower East Side. I am in New York since yesterday morning and just realized that I haven't written something for the blog since Sunday. Luminato and now this short trip have kept me busy—and I got to do a lot of things I usually don't get to do during our opera season.
Monday and Tuesday evenings I spent at the Elgin Theatre for Rufus Wainwright's opera Prima Donna and his Concert. I have written about the opera a year ago when I first saw it in Manchester. Because of what it is it will always divide critics and the public. For my part, I was glad to see how much better it is now than it was a year ago. There is a true gift for melody and dramatic situations and I am curious to see how Rufus's operatic
journey continues. He certainly was his very self on Tuesday night for his concert, although some of his admirers might have been puzzled by the Gothic austerity of the first part which contained all the songs of his new album (of which I have written here already) and which, at Rufus' request, was performed without applause. The second part with a large number of Rufus classics (among others a wonderful version of Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk) should have reassured them.
On Wednesday evening I did double duty, first attending the TSO's Beethoven Ninth and then Luminato's Canadian Songbook at Massey Hall honouring Bruce Cockburn. While listening to Beethoven's great last symphony felt like an encounter with a good old friend the Songbook was more of a musical Canadian immersion in one evening.
Finally, yesterday evening I went to hear Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and John DeJohnette at Carnegie Hall with an absolutely amazing concert of Jazz standards. With its excellent acoustics Carnegie Hall maybe is my favourite concert venues and I've heard many memorable concerts there. But these three great artists succeeded in creating a feeling of intimacy in the vast space that I have never experienced before. It felt like holding your breath for two hours. The good news is that the trio will perform at the Four Seasons Centre during the Toronto Jazz Festival on June 30. Don't miss your chance.
Now, I'm off for meetings and the New York Philharmonic. More later.
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