LSM Newswire

Monday, January 12, 2009

For the Young at Heart: Talisker Players

When We Were Young

Stories, rhymes and word-play for the young at heart

Tuesday, February 10, 2009, at 8 pm

Wednesday, February 11, 2009, at 8 pm

Trinity St. Pauls Centre

For Immediate Release Toronto, January 12, 2009: Torontos Talisker Players return to Trinity St. Pauls Centre on Tuesday & Wednesday, February 10 and 11 with When We Were Young. A sure cure for the February blues, this is an evening of rhymes and word-play for the young at heart, set to music by composers with a sense of humour... Soprano Xin Wang and tenor James McLennan, both rising stars on the vocal scene, are the guest artists joining the instrumentalists of Talisker Players.

The programme features the magical setting of seven fantastical poems by Federico Garca Lorca, Federico's Little Songs for Children by George Crumb. This tour de force for soprano, accompanied by harp, and every member of the flute family (flute, piccolo, alto flute, and bass flute) is one of the great works of the 20th-century vocal repertoire.

Talisker Players always take pride in featuring Canadian composers. When We Were Young includes Palm Court Songs of the Bubble Ring by John Greer. This setting of Dennis Lee poems for tenor with cello, clarinet and piano was commissioned by the late Greta Kraus as part of her Toronto Arts Award in 1991. Where the Geese Go Barefoot by Stephen Brown is a set of humourous rhymes and tongue twisters, for soprano with clarinet, viola and guitar. And Renovated Rhymes by Elizabeth Raum is a setting of nursery rhymes, all 'renovated' by the poet John Hicks to end in an ironic twist, for tenor with violin and piano.

What's for Supper? by the inventive American composer Zae Munn rounds out the entertaining programme. The piece is a set of four songs, for soprano with clarinet and piano, originally written for children (text by Peg Lauber, with references to Winnie the Pooh, the Cat in the Hat and other characters in children's literature) to teach them about contemporary art music. But its wit and charm have made it equally popular with adult audiences.

As always, this Talisker Players production includes the spoken word. Readings will be from The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne, offering gentle comments on the foibles of humanity, with the wisdom of innocence and simplicity.

A native of China, Canadian soprano Xin Wang studied music in Winnipeg and Toronto where she is now based. She has distinguished herself as an acclaimed performer of contemporary music, having worked with Canadian and international composers. Most recently she won rave reviews for her performance as the lead (an aged elephant) in the premiere of Sanctuary Song by Abigail Richardson (as part Torontos Luminato Festival) and appeared as soloist in the world premiere of Pimooteewin, the first Cree opera by composer Melissa Hui. Xin Wang made her Covent Garden debut (London, U.K.) with the role of Sally in the European premiere of the Queen of Puddings production of Ana Sokolovic's The Midnight Court. She also recently premiered works by Christopher Butterfield and Jacques Bank at Toronto's Music Gallery.

Acclaimed for his "sweet lyric voice" (Opera Canada) and his "emotional intensity" (Opera News), James McLennan is winning praise for his compelling performances in repertoire ranging from Bach to contemporary works. He is recognized on opera stages across the country as a performer of great range and diversity. Hailed as the "ideal Candide" in the title role of Candide with Toronto Operetta Theatre, McLennan appeared in the premiere production of Filumena at the Banff Centre, and in R. Murray Schafer's monumental outdoor opera The Palace of the Cinnabar Phoenix. He has appeared in several productions with Calgary Opera, as well as with Vancouver Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Saskatoon Opera, Tapestry New Opera, and Opera Atelier. Engagements this season include the complex role of Antoine Tassy in Opera in Concert's world premiere of Kamouraska by Charles Wilson, Triquet in Eugene Onegin and the Fourth Jew in Salome with Vancouver Opera, as well as Adam in The Bird Seller with Toronto Operetta Theatre.

When We Were Young

Tuesday & Wednesday, February 10 & 11, 2009, 8 PM

Trinity St. Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street West

Xin Wang, soprano; James McLennan, tenor

The Talisker Players with Peter Longworth, piano

Stories, rhymes and word-play for the young at heart

Music for voice with strings, winds and piano

by George Crumb, Elizabeth Raum, Stephen Brown, John Greet and Zae Munn


Individual tickets: $30 / $20 (seniors) / $10 (students)

Tel: 416-504-7529


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