LSM Newswire

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Plain Sense of Things

Toronto, September 24, 2009: Torontoĺ─˘s inventive Talisker Players launch their tenth anniversary season at Trinity St. Paulĺ─˘s Centre with The Plain Sense of Things, a program that explores the revolutionary cadences of American poets from the last century. Soprano Marion Samuel-Stevens, mezzo soprano Jennifer Enns Modolo, baritone Doug MacNaughton and actor Stewart Arnott join the Talisker Players for two evenings of words and music: Tuesday, October 27 and Wednesday, October 28, at 8PM.

American poets like Toni Morrison, Carl Sandburg and Emily Dickinson, despite the great diversity of their styles, share an idiom grounded in the language of common speech and the realistic depiction of the world. They also made it their mission to redefine the place of the individual in the world, free from the comforts and the restrictions of Old-World thinking. The rhythms and imagery of their poetry have proved irresistible to many composers.

The concert title is taken from a poem by Wallace Stevens, whose most famous poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird is featured on the programme, in a magical setting by the great American composer Lukas Foss, for voice with flute, piano and percussion.

Fittingly, The Plain Sense of Things features music by several other American composers. The iconoclastic Morton Feldman is represented with O'Hara Songs (poetry by Frank O'Hara) for voice with string trio, piano and chimes. Andrłę Previn is included with Four Songs of Toni Morrison for voice with cello and piano. And Libby Larson, a young composer renowned for her vocal music, appears with Saints Without Tears (poetry by Phyllis McGinley) for voice with flute and bassoon.

The programme also features How Slow the Wind, a setting of Emily Dickinson by the acclaimed Argentinian-American composer Osvaldo Golijov, and is rounded out with a long-overdue revival of Chicago Portraits by Toronto composer Alexander Rapoport. Commissioned by Talisker Players in 2001, this is a wonderfully idiomatic setting of Carl Sandburg poems for voice with strings and percussion.

Talisker Playersĺ─˘ concerts always include words as well as music. Readings for The Plain Sense of Things will be from First Loves, a collection of essays by contemporary poets about the poems that first inspired them. Many of them write movingly about the poets on the programme, and refer in various ways to the revelation of poetry in ĺ─˙plain Englishĺ─¨, with a deeply humane spirit.

An adventurous proponent of new music, soprano Marion Samuel-Stevens was a finalist in the 2008 Eckhardt-Gramattłę Competition. With her sweet, clear voice and committed performances, this young soprano is developing a growing reputation in opera, oratorio and recital. This marks her debut with Talisker Players. Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Enns Modolo is also debuting with Talisker Player. She has delighted audiences across the country with her clear, unaffected voice and expressive singing. Acclaimed as "a great singing actor", Doug MacNaughton is equally at home in standard repertoire and contemporary music, in opera, oratorio, chamber music and musical theatre. He has appeared with Talisker Players on several occasions.

Talisker Players welcome back actor Stewart Arnott, a much respected theatre artist for almost 30 years, who has acted and directed across the country.

The Plain Sense of Things
The revolutionary rhythms and imagery of American poetry
Featuring Marion Samuel-Stevens, soprano, Jennifer Enns Modolo, mezzo soprano,
Doug MacNaughton, baritone and Stewart Arnott, actor/reader
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 8 PM and Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 8 PM
Trinity St. Paulĺ─˘s Centre: 427 Bloor Street West

Individual tickets: $30 / $20 (seniors) / $10 (students)
Box office: 416-978-8849
Information: 416-466-1800

Talisker Players Chamber Music offers one of the most imaginative and exciting concert series in Toronto. In collaboration with some of Canadaĺ─˘s finest young singers, Talisker Players present the rarely-heard repertoire for voice and chamber ensemble. Their unique programming includes readings that illuminate the music and delight audiences with a stimulating, theatrical concert experience. The music, engaging and varied, includes both celebrated works and unknown gems from all styles and periods, with a strong presence of Canadian compositions.

ĺ─˙Talisker gathers a sterling corps of musicians, composers, and writers into an intelligent space, full of invention, and is willing to risk experimenting with their resources.ĺ─¨ The Live Music Report, November 2005

Talisker Players Upcoming Events at Trinity St. Paulĺ─˘s Centre: 427 Bloor Street West:

To the Sea in Ships: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 & Wednesday, February 10, 2010 ĺ─ý 8 pm
Tales of sailors, adventurers and fishers the world over
Featuring Vicki St. Pierre, mezzo soprano; Keith Klassen, tenor; Alexander Dobson, baritone

Illuminations: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 & Wednesday, May 12, 2010 ĺ─ý 8 pm
A window on the world of mystics, visionaries and seers
Featuring Meredith Hall, soprano; Lawrence Wiliford, tenor



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