La Scena Musicale

Saturday, 5 June 2010

La fête du FTA continue à l’extérieur…


Alors que la seconde fin de semaine du FTA nous rattrape déjà, le Festival Trans-Amériques offre à ses affictionados d’agréables alternatives aux traditionnels spectacles en salle. Le FTA vous invite à aller jouer dehors!

Le metteur en scène catalan Roger Bernat et sa nouvelle compagnie Roger Bernat / FFF vous convient au spectacle Domaine Public, un projet où les spectateurs sont aussi les acteurs. Domaine Public, après avoir été créé pour la ville de Barcelone et été présenté à Bruxelles, est donné à Montréal sur la Place-Pasteur, juste à côté du métro Berri- UQUÀM.(www.rogerbernat.com

Après avoir travaillé avec des groupes d’individus variés - des héros, des gens de la rue - Roger Bernat renonce au concept de l’interprète et de l’audition. Il décide que ses acteurs seront les spectateurs venus assister à la représentation à chaque soir. Son travail s’oriente alors vers une redéfinition du texte car c’est autour de lui que s’articule un spectacle au théâtre.

Les questions qui sont posées aux « spect-acteurs » visent à créer de petits groupes et le résultat est surprenant. Intéressantes la candeur dont les participants font preuve et la mise en scène dont les jalons s’érigent méthodiquement. Mais je ne vous en dis pas plus ! Domaine public est à voir et à vivre jusqu’au 6 juin 2010. (Info festival : 1-866-984-3822 ou www.fta.qc.ca)

Cette année voit aussi le retour du Grand Continental !

Intéressé depuis toujours par la danse en ligne, Sylvain Émard a choisi de parcourir l’avenue de la danse sociale pour créer une œuvre de danse contemporaine. Soutenue dans ses efforts par le FTA, la compagnie a recruté des interprètes de tous les horizons, réussissant à impliquer dans le projet des néophytes en matière de danse contemporaine.

Riche du succès qu’a connu la formule du Continental l’an dernier, Sylvain Émard Danse revient avec une version revue et augmentée. Les spectateurs, qui étaient un peu à l’étroit rue Emery l’an passé, se réjouiront de retrouver l’événement sur la Place Émilie-Gamelin. L’événement prend à l’extérieur une allure festive à laquelle il est impossible de rester indifférent. Le Grand Continental  offre de plus à des passats qui n’iront peut-être jamais voir un spectacle en salle la possibilité de s’initier au plaisir chorégraphique. Le spectacle, d’une très abordable durée de 30 minutes, est gracieusement présenté jusqu’au 6 juin (www.sylvainemard.com) 

Les dernières représentations de Tu vois ce que je veux dire ?
La compagnie française Projet in Situ (www.projet-insitu.com) poursuit samedi et dimanche son parcours à l’aveugle, une véritable expérience sensorielle concoctée par Martin Chapput et Martial Chazalon.

Un spectateur-marcheur se fait bander les yeux et abandonne son bras à un guide qu’il ne verra même pas. Sa perception de l’espace en est altérée, étirée. L’imagination du marcheur s’emballe, son corps en éveil se délie comme par magie. Le départ est donné au Corrid’Art, près du métro Acadie ou Parc de 13h00 à 17h45.(info festival :514-8443822)

J’espère vous avoir donné des idées pour cette fin de semaine… À bientôt !
- Nathalie de Han

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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Kabako de Kisangi au Congo présentent ce soir et demain encore More, More, More… Future


Mercredi 2 juin au FTA
La deuxième semaine du Festival Trans-Amériques est bien entamée.
Ce soir a lieu la dernière représentation de Portrait du chorégraphe torontois D.A. Hoskins dont je vous ai présenté le travail lundi.
Du côté de l’Usine C, Faustin Linyekula et les studios Kabako de Kisangi au Congo présentent ce soir et demain encore More, More, More… Future (www.kabako.org/).
Le spectacle vaut le détour. Captivant concert chorégraphique, More, More, More… Future offre au spectateur des moments de pure magie : Faustin Linyekula est la ferveur incarnée. Il danse avec la force, la frénésie et la foi de celui qui peut sauver le monde. Faustin Linyekula, qui présentera avec des comédiens congolais cet été à Avignon Pour en finir avec Bérénice, se fait la voix du poète Antoine Vumilia Muhindo, prisonnier politique emprisonné à Kinshasa. La justesse des mots n’a d’égale que leur rage et les chanteurs musiciens du spectacle les crient avec désespoir. Les strophes sont répétées et le texte est si puissant que le spectateur aime l’entendre à nouveau.
Faustin Linyekula, qui assume la direction artistique du spectacle, a choisi de faire appel à Flamme Kapaya pour la section musicale du projet, et le guitariste s’acquitte admirablement de la tâche. Il retourne et remplit de majesté ses accords ndombolo, une musique d’ordinaire connue pour sa superficialité.
Le FTA offre cette année de multiples spectacles construit sur la combinaison de la danse et de la musique. More, More, More… Future offre une rencontre organique des deux familles artistiques. Danse, musique, théâtre visuel, le spectacle est avant tout, pour Faustin Linyekula un espace démocratique.
Ce soir, le Grouped’artGravelartGroup présente la première mondiale de Tout se pète la gueule chérie à la Cinquième Salle de la place des arts .
À bientôt !
-Nathalie de Han

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Monday, 31 May 2010

Cette semaine à Montréal / This Week in Montreal May 31 - June 6

Photo : Gunther Gampe

9e Édition du concours musical international de montréal (CMIM)
Débutée le 25 mai avec les épreuves quart de finale et demi-finale, l’édition Violon 2010 du CMIM se poursuit les 1er et 2 juin au Théâtre Maisonneuve. L’Orchestre Métropolitain sera dirigé par Jean-Philippe Tremblay. Le programme de l’épreuve finale consiste à interpréter un concerto en entier tiré de la liste officielle du Concours. C’est à l’issue de cette épreuve que le président du jury proclamera les lauréats qui se partageront plus de 150 000 $, dont un Premier Prix de 30 000 $, un programme de développement de carrière d’une valeur de 20 000 $, un disque chez Analekta et un archet de l’Atelier Raffin. Le Concert gala aura lieu le 4 juin à la salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. 514 842-2112, info@concoursmontreal.ca
25 mai au 2 juin, au Théâtre Maisonneuve
Ensemble Chorem Presents Ragamalika
Composer Gabriel Dharmoo brings the sounds of India to the stage with Ensemble Chorum June 3 at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. The ensemble, co-directed by Charles-Antoine Fréchette and Raphaël Dubé, will perform works that Dharmoo discovered during his Carnatic music studies in India in 2008. Also on the program is a world premiere of Dharmoo’s Moondraal Moondru. Jean-Michel Malouf conducts. www.ensemblechorum.com
June 3, at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal
De la musique0 de salon à VivaVoce
Le concert Mélodrame et sentiments présenté par l’ensemble VivaVoce contient des joyaux peu connus de l’époque victorienne. On y entendra de délicieuses pages de différents compositeurs et la mise en musique de textes de Shakespeare. Samedi 5 juin à l’École de musique Schulich. 514-489-3739.
le 5 juin, à VivaVoce
Festival TransAmériques
Chaque printemps, cet événement international devient le point de convergence des amateurs de théâtre et de danse. Ce qu’on connaît déjà de la programmation de cette quatrième édition est alléchant : présentation du quatuor Le Sang des promesses de Wajdi Mouawad (Littoral, Incendies, Forêts en un seul spectacle, plus l’inédit Ciels); le théâtre Toneelgroep d’Amsterdam offrira ses Tragédies romaines, une relecture comtemporaine des Coriolan, Jules César et Antoine et Cléopâtre de Shakespeare.
du 27 mai au 12 juin, Festival TransAmériques

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Festival Trans-Amériques : Lundi 31 mai


Un piano, Chopin, une femme en bas nylon et un grand tissu noir… Le ton est donné! Ce soir, D.A.Hoskins et le Dietrich Group prendront l’Espace libre d’assault.

Les œuvres de D.A.Hoskins. puisent leur inspiration à la source de notre société et des commentaires qu’elle lui inspire. Le triptyque The Mortality Songs, une œuvre de jeunesse du chorégraphe ontarien, a d’ailleurs été le pivot d’une campagne de levée de fonds pour les victimes du VIH à Toronto. Le Dietrich Group, plate-forme d’échanges interactifs fondée par Hoskins en 2008, poursuit l’œuvre d’observation et créée ARTFAG,  un autre triptyque abordant la question de l’individualité et des stéréotypes sexuels.

Hoskins a souhaité, pour Portrait , placer l’individu et son potentiel créateur au cœur de la représentation, mettre en lumière l’origine même de l’acte de création. L’individu et son intégrité sont des thèmes de première importance dans l’œuvre du chorégraphe. Le spectacle est, selon son concepteur, en partie auto biographique et évoque certains épisodes difficiles de sa propre vie.

Darryl Hoskins est de plus un artiste visuel reconnu. Il souhaite conserver cette approche et ainsi inviter le public à regarder autrement la danse . La danse, croit le chorégraphe, ne devrait pas être réduite à sa simple expression récréative : danser est un geste politique. Portrait est à la fois une œuvre audacieuse et sans fioritures, le dialogue intimiste d’un artiste et de son œuvre. 

Darryl Hoskins rencontrera le public le 1er juin. Portrait est présenté à l’Espace Libre à 19h00 le 31 mai, 1er et 2 juin. Affaire à suivre!

- Nathalie de Han

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Sunday, 30 May 2010

Austin Symphony Shines Again in Mahler

The 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death is in 2011, but conductors and orchestras are already programming his music at every opportunity - Symphony No. 2 with Jaap van Zweden in Dallas at the end of May, for example; and more recently, Symphony No. 1 with Peter Bay leading the Austin Symphony.
Mahler’s Long Lost Blumine Blossoms on its Own
Maestro Bay opened the evening’s programme with Blumine, which began its life as part of the Symphony No. 1 until Mahler decided it didn’t belong there after all.
At the first three performances of the Symphony No. 1 in the 19th century, Blumine was the second movement. After the performance in Weimar in 1894, Mahler deleted it from the score. In fact, the music had all but vanished into the dustbin of history when musicologist Donald Mitchell found it 72 years later (1966). Conductors then rushed to play and record the newly-discovered Mahler, most often putting it back in the Symphony No. 1.
While it is always interesting to hear the first thoughts of great composers, performers also have an obligation to take a composer’s last word as serious and authoritative. Mahler was quite clear about what he wanted to do with the Blumine movement and his intentions certainly didn’t involve putting it back into Symphony No. 1.
Blumine, which began life in 1884 as part of the incidental music Mahler wrote for Scheffel’s play Der Trompeter von Säckingen (The Trumpeter of Säckingen), is lovely and interesting music in its own right and deserves occasional performances as a separate piece. Not surprisingly, some of the most notable features of the piece are the extended trumpet solos. Blumine is the only piece of this incidental music that has survived .
It is not clear why Mahler took the Blumine movement out of Symphony No. 1. It is a songlike ABA piece of a vaguely pastoral character, but rather slight compared to the other movements. Perhaps he found it too lightweight in a symphonic context.
Blumine does, however, have curious symphonic connections - with Brahms rather than Mahler! The first six notes of the trumpet melody in Blumine are identical to those of the famous C major tune in the last movement of Brahms’ Symphony No. 1.
Even listeners familiar with both first symphonies can be forgiven for not noticing this connection, since Mahler’s melody has a different rhythm and metre. If I am not mistaken, the Blumine melody is the longest and most elaborate melody Mahler ever wrote for the trumpet – if you exclude the posthorn solo in the Third Symphony - and in this performance it was played beautifully by the Austin Symphony’s principal trumpet, Robert Cannon.
Peter Bay made a wise choice in programming Blumine as a separate piece, on the same programme with the Symphony No. 1.
You may well ask why the Blumine movement has a title, whereas the other movements of the symphony do not. In fact, in the original version of Symphony No. 1, Mahler did attach titles to all the movements, including Blumine – or “Flowers” – but later decided to remove them all and send the symphony out into the world purely as music.
Mozart’s Last Piano Concerto, No. 27
There are at least a dozen Mozart piano concertos among the greatest creations of the human mind. The musical content is sublime and the interplay between winds and strings is often deeply personal and affecting.
Mozart’s last piano concerto, No. 27 in B flat major K. 595, is a wonderful piece although it would not be my favorite Mozart piano concerto. Some others are melodically more memorable, harmonically richer and have more elaborate wind writing. But the winds are still important in No. 27, and conductor Bay and soloist Christopher O’Riley showed that they understood this very well by placing the wind players at the front of the stage where the cellos would normally sit. This meant that they could be heard more easily and could collaborate more effectively with the keyboard.
In several of the Mozart piano concertos, the keyboard part seems to be merely sketched rather than fully written out. That is the case with K. 595, especially in the slow movement. Mozart obviously didn’t need to write out all the notes since he was the soloist and would have added his own ornamentation during the performance. O’Riley followed the composer’s example in this respect and added a great deal of his own embellishment.
Austin Audience Warms to O’Riley’s Mozart
Christopher O’Riley is probably best known to music-lovers as the host of the NPR programme From the Top. It is a programme that introduces extraordinary young talent from all over the United States, and O’Riley has a gift for making these gifted kids feel at ease. He acts as accompanist for many of them as well, and has a busy life outside radio as a soloist in recital and concerto performances. O’Riley has made numerous recordings and on several of them he plays his own transcriptions of songs by the rock group Radiohead.
As soloist with the Austin Symphony in Mozart’s K. 595, O’Riley seemed a little nervous. He played all the notes, but seemed to want to vary the tempo more than one would expect in Mozart. It also struck me that the dynamic range of his interpretation was even more limited than the constraints we associate with Classical style. It’s fine to be aware of authentic performance practice, but why use a grand piano and a fairly big orchestra playing on modern instruments if one is going to require that they never be allowed to rise above mezzo forte? Fortunately, by the time they got to the last movement, both orchestra and soloist seemed to be better in sync and O’Riley was beginning to dig into the notes with a little more gusto.
Mahler More Than Big Sound With Bay and the ASO
Peter Bay demonstrated his affinity for Mahler with an excellent performance of the Resurrection symphony last season. The First Symphony is a much easier piece to play and to comprehend, but it is still far from a simple undertaking, and even celebrated conductors can be caught out of their comfort zone.
A case in point was Gustavo Dudamel in his inaugural concert last fall as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Some of his interpretative choices were questionable, to say the least. He made a big sound, but that is perhaps the least important requirement in a performance of Mahler One.
Maestro Bay in Austin had a much less formidable orchestra to work with than the LA Philharmonic, but his careful preparation and respect for the score, together with an enlarged Austin Symphony playing near the top of its game, produced a performance of rare commitment and distinction. Of course, there were a number of horn cacks – with eight of them playing fortissimo and in the highest register of the instrument, that is to be expected in even the best orchestras - but more importantly, there were numerous solos of exquisite beauty.
When the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra (SHFO) played in Austin this season, the double basses were placed on the left side of the stage in the Long Center, whereas the Austin Symphony basses are always positioned on the right side. I was curious to hear if the SHFO setup was an improvement. In fact, I could hardly hear the basses at all in that concert, whereas in the Bay/ASO Mahler First, the basses came through very well indeed. In theory I thought the opposite would be true; we learn something every day.
For Those Wanting More
Anyone interested in Mahler’s early years – the time of the First Symphony – will find a wealth of meticulously researched information in Henry-Louis de La Grange's Mahler (New York: Doubleday, 1973). Also very useful is Donald Mitchell’s Gustav Mahler: The Wunderhorn Years (London: Faber and Faber, 1975).
There have been dozens of recordings of Mahler’s First Symphony made over the years. Bruno Walter’s 1961 recording with the Columbia Symphony is especially important because Walter was a close friend and protégée of the composer.
Among the best of the DVD versions of Mahler’s First Symphony is Leonard Bernstein’s performance with the Vienna Philharmonic. It is Bernstein who is generally credited with starting the Mahler revival in the 1960s. This 1973 performance, however, strikes me today as slapdash. Bernstein rushes ahead for no apparent reason in many places and inexplicably slows the music to a crawl in others. And the Vienna Philharmonic? Remember the horn cacks I alluded to earlier? There are literally dozens of them in this very uneven performance.
If I had to choose one recording that combines insight, virtuosity and inspiration beyond nearly all others it would be a 1990 performance by Klaus Tennstedt and the Chicago Symphony, and released by EMI on DVD (EMI Classics 0946 3 67743 98).
Tennstedt toiled most of his life behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. When he finally emerged, the wider world got to know him as one of the great interpreters of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner and Mahler. But it was too late. He was struck down by one medical problem after another and ultimately he had to give up conducting altogether.
While he had the strength, Tennstedt enriched the lives of those who saw and heard him, not least of all those musicians who had the good fortune to play under him. The 1990 performance alluded to is also important as documentation of the Chicago Symphony in its prime. Two players in particular are by now legendary and deservedly so: principal trumpet Adolph Herseth and principal horn Dale Clevenger.
Photo by Marita

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Festival Trans-Amériques : Le 30 mai


Bonjour, bonjour !

La compagnie montréalaise O Vertigo livrait vendredi soir sa dernière création, tout juste sortie des studios de la compagnie et la compagnie hollandaise Toneelgroep Amsterdam donnait les très attendues Tragédies Romaines  La première fin de semaine du Festival Trans-Amériques s’achève et ces deux spectacles offrent  une dernière représentation aujourd’hui (www.fta.qc.ca). 

À propos de … Onde de Choc..

Ginette Laurin poursuit avec Onde de choc sa réflexion sur les états de corps et leur potentiel métaphorique, scrutant cette fois le plus profond de l’humain à la lentille d’un microscope, écoutant les résonances du souffle et celles du rythme cardiaque au stéthoscope. L’entreprise est  couronnée de succès et la facture visuelle d’Onde de Choc irréprochable. Résolument inventive, la construction du spectacle est à la fois rigoureuse et poétique, la gestuelle des huit interprètes fluide, harmonieuse et agréablement narrative.

Les lumières de Martin Labrecque sont purement magiques. La musique du Britanique Michael Nyman ( il a composé la musique du film de Jane Capion La leçon de piano) et les compositions de l’électro acousticien Martin Messier parviennent à créer pour le spectacle une troublante dimension sonore: l’on croit que les sons nous parviennent d’en-dedans, comme le sang qui bat à nos tympans après une course folle. Véritable réussite, Onde de Choc emportera dans un même flot tous spectateurs, avertis ou novices.    

… Tragédies Romaines…

« Les spectateurs sont invités à aller s’asseoir sur la scène pendant le changement de décor… » Dans le brouhaha, une foule se lève. Une voix résonne dans les haut-parleurs : « Pas tous à la fois !! » Le scénario est sans doute le même lors de toutes les représentations : le metteur en scène Ivo van Hove donnant au  spectateur le droit d’aller voir sur la scène ce qui s’y passe réellement (et ce pendant la représentation!!), le dit spectateur se précipite sur la scène…

La compagnie hollandaise Toneelgroep Amsterdam a établi au Monument National les camps de Ciriolan, Jules César et Antoine. Les Tragédies Romaines de William Shakespeare, re-mixée par Ivo van Hove, s’y déroulent à merveille. Le spectacle intelligent mêle les codes de la représentation, du cinéma, de la télévision, et ce jeu autant que son seul principe, comble le spectateur d’aise.
Je vous invite à lire ce que Philippe Couture et Aurélie Olivier en ont écrit sur le site du journal Voir Parathéâtre.

Mon prochain rendez-vous avec le festival : The Dragon Fly of Chicoutimi. Claude Poissant revisite le texte de Larry Tremblay à l’espace Go les 30 et 31 mai ainsi  les 1er et 2 juin. (www.theatrepap.com)

À très bientôt ! 

- Nathalie de Han

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This Week in Toronto (May 31 - June 6)

Pianist Ingrid Fliter (Photo: Sussie Ahlburg)






The concert pick for me this week is the appearance of Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She is playing Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21. She won the Silver Medal in the 2000 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the same year that the Chinese pianist Yundi Li - now re-branded as Yundi - won the Gold Medal, the first time that prize was awarded for many years. Despite coming in second, Ms. Fliter has gone on to a highly respectable career. A glance at her 2010-11 season on her website at www.ingridfliter.com shows that she is very busy concertizing, with lots of U.S. dates, plus a tour of Japan and Australia. Her appearance this week with the TSO playing the Chopin piano concerto conducted by Peter Oundjian is certainly worth attending. Also on the program is Mahler Symphony No. 1 in D major "Titan." What makes this interesting is the including of Blumine, the second movement from this Symphony that Mahler subsequently discarded. It was thought lost until it showed up for auction at Sotheby's in the 1960's. This fragment received its first independent performance at the Aldeburgh Festival in July 1967, conducted by Benjamin Britten.

Now that the Canadian Opera Company is in hiatus, the Four Seasons Centre has been taken over by the National Ballet of Canada for its summer season. The centerpiece of this week's performance is Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite. With music by Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim drawn from the original Broadway score of West Side Story, this high energy work is sure to please. Sharing the spotlight is a world premiere, - Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo's Pur ti Miro. Rounding out the evening is Robbins' Opus 19/The Dreamer, set to Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major. Performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm, and Saturday at 2:00 pm. These performances are presented in conjunction with the Luminato Festival which begins next week. Go to http://www.national.ballet.ca/ for more information.

Last Friday, I attended a screening of Rufus Wainwright: Prima Donna, a documentary on the singer/songwriter and the making of his first opera, Prima Donna that is coming to the Luminato Festival. I have to say until a few months ago, I had not heard a note of his music, and barely knew of his existence. The first time his name came into my consciousness was the news that he was commissioned by Peter Gelb and the Met to write an opera, about three years ago. The next thing I heard was a year or so later, when it was announced that due to artistic differences, he and the Met had parted company. Prima Donna had its world premiere in July 2009, not at the Met but in Manchester, UK, by Opera North. This intelligent, well crafted and entertaining documentary tells the story of Rufus Wainwright, his attraction to opera, and the creative process of tackling something as monumental as an opera from someone who is grounded in the pop music world. Wainwright's motivation to compose this was the late Maria Callas. Indeed the central figure of Prima Donna - sung in the opera by Scottish soprano Janis Kelly - is modeled after Callas. The opera from what I have read - and look forward to seeing - is evocative of a film made several years ago by Franco Zeffirelli starring Fanny Ardant in the role of Callas, although there is no reference to this in the documentary. In any case I find it enormously absorbing and totally fascinating. The music is very accessible and emotionally charged. The documentary has footage of soprano Renee Fleming singing the praises of Wainwright. Janis Kelly has a beautiful lyric soprano voice and from the little we hear of her singing and acting in the film, she's ideal in this. Now I am really looking forward to attending the show at the Elgin (June 14, 16, 18, 19), which will be its North American premiere! Whether Prima Donna is opera in the traditional sense is open to question. Certainly there are major differences in the creative process. For example, Wainwright hired an assistant to help him with orchestration, which was done using computer software, a very different creative process from the traditional operatic orchestration! In the final analysis, perhaps it no longer matters as the primary goal of a work is to have something to say, to communicate, and to engage the audience, all of these I believe Prima Donna has done. I will have more to talk about this and the Luminato Festival next week.

Speaking of festivals, now that we are into June, various summer music festivals are gearing up. One of them, Music at Sharon, is having an early start, with a concert on Sunday June 6 3 pm, given by rising mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta. Program detail is not available except that the songs of Schumann will be featured. I recall her Dorabella at the Glenn Gould School of the RCM really wowed me last year. Since then she has joined the COC Ensemble, and appeared as a very engaging Cherubino for Opera Atelier. She is definitely a singer to watch. If you have never been to the Sharon Temple just north of Toronto, it is definitely worth a visit. Go to their website at http://www.sharontemple.ca/ for more information on the concert and the venue.





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