Happy Victoria Day

Queen Victoria (State portrait) by Sir George ...
Queen Victoria by Sir George Hayter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, May 22nd 2022, is Victoria Day in Canada. I want to wish every Canadian a very happy and safe Victoria Day.

Today marks the celebration of the birthday of Canada’s first monarch, Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901 and was Monarch when four British colonies – Canada West (Ontario), Canada East (Quebec), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia – were combined together to create the Dominion of Canada.

Queen Victoria would see Canada grow rapidly, with the purchase of Rupert’s Land to form the Northwest Territory, as well Manitoba, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island all joining Confederation.

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Tosca Succeeds at the COC

J attended the May 19th 2023 performance of Giacomo Puccini‘s Tosca at the Canadian Opera Company (COC.) The production is directed by Paul Curran, with sets and costumes by Kevin Knight. The COC Orchestra was led by Giuliano Carella, making his COC debut.

The performance starred Sinéad Campbell-Wallace (Tosca), Stefano La Colla (Mario Cavaradossi), Roland Wood (Scarpia), Michael Colvin (Spoletta), Donato Di Stefano (Sacristan), Giles Tomkins (Sciarrone), Christian Pursell (Cesare Angelotti), Alex Halliday (Jailer), and Zoya Avramova (Shepherd Boy.)

The production is a very beautiful, traditional style production. Act I takes place inside the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, Act II at Scarpia’s apartment inside the Palazzo Farnese, and Act III at the Castel Sant’Angelo. The means beautiful sets and the abilty to concentrate on the performers and the music.

Ms. Campbell-Wallace was stunning as Tosca. She owned the roll. Her Vissi d’arte aria brought the house down with a sustained applause. The aria was moving and heartbreaking. She pulls your strings – her Tosca, despite being jealous, is truly in love with Mario and you could tell it. I want to see and her move from her.

Mr. Wood’s Scarpia was ruthless and agressive. His Scarpia is the textbook for a tyrant. In Act I, he has the Sacrostan killed and dragged off and at the end of the Act, he walks off past the priest conducting the Te Deum. Even God doesn’t scare Scarpia. His voice is even into the bass range, but his voice’s deepness makes for an even more moving, and scary, Scarpia. You just have to love to hate his Scarpia

Mr. La Colla was a bit of a hit and miss as Cavaradossi. He acted the role very well, and was vocally well in Acts II and III, with a very moving E lucevan le stelle. However, he was vocally disappointing in Act I. I found he was holding back, not trying for some of the higher notes and was straining with some of his notes. An off night to start out with, but he came back in Acts II and III with a great performance.

One note that I really thought worked well in the production was the performance of the Jailor, Alex Halliday. The role is very minor and easy to forget about, so a performer could easily ‘call in’ the performance. Not in this production. Here, the Jailer actually cares. When Mario gives him a ring in exchange for a pen and paper to write Tosca, the Jailer gives back the ring, despite resistance from Mario from doing so. Then, the opera ends with the Jailer standing over Mario’s dead body, crossing himself. Mr. Haliday’s performance makes sure that you are aware that the Jailer has an importance to the performance.

Maestro Carella was exellent in charge of the COC Orchestra. The music was sutle when it had to be with a tempi that was spot on throughout. The music kept moving from start to end without ever feeling like it was dragging or holding the singers or the stage action back. I hope we here more from him in Toronto in the future!

All-in-all, a wonderful performance. A wonderful evening of beautiful opera.

Tosca continues for three more performances between now and May 27th, 2023 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. If you haven’t already seen this production, get a ticket if you can.

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Coronation Celebration at Queen’s Park, Toronto

The Province of Ontario celebrated the Coronation of King Charles III, King of Canada, on May 6th, 2023 at Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto – the home of the Provinial Legislature.

The celebration included a flag raising – the Coronation Flag for Canada, a drum circle, and a 21 gun salute.

Band members representing regiments from 32 Brigade were on hand to provide music.

Here are some pictures from today:

And a video highlighting the ceremony:

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Round 2 of the 2023 NHL Playoffs

The second round of the 2023 National Hockey League (NHL) Playoffs are set to start tonight, May 2nd, 2023.

Let’s look at the match-ups:

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Macbeth a Roaring Success at the COC

iuseppe Verdi‘s Macbeth opened at the Canadian Opera Company (COC) on April 28th, 2023. The opera, based on Shakespeare‘s play, stars Quinn Kelsey (Macbeth), Alexandrina Pendatchanska (Lady Macbeth), Önay Köse (Banquo), Matthew Cairns (Macduff), and Adam Luther (Malcolm.)

The opera is conducted by Speranza Scappucci, directed by Sir David McVicar, and is a co-production with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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Springtime Flowers – April 23rd, 2023

On April 23rd, 2023, I went for walk around Mimico Harbour in South Etobicoke through Humber Promenade Park.

While on my walk, I managed to get some springtime pictures.


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2023 Opening Day Blue Jays Roster

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced their opening day roster for the 2023 MLB Season.

The roster consists of the following players:


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Lohengrin – The Met: Live in HD

I attended The Met‘s Live in HD broadcast of Richard Wagner‘s Lohengrin on March 18th, 2023.

The cast included Piotr Beczała (Lohengrin), Tamara Wilson (Elsa), Christine Goerke (Ortrud), Evgeny Nikitin (Telramund), and Günther Groissböck (King Heinrich.) The orchestra was led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The production is by François Girard with sets by Tim Yip.

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Happy Commonwealth Day, 2023

Commonwealth of Nations showing Commonwealth realms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today (March 13th, 2023) is Commonwealth Day in the countries that are members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Commonwealth Day, celebrated on the second Monday of March throughout the Commonwealth, as its name suggests celebrates the Commonwealth.

Traditionally, in London, King Charles III will lead a celebration at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day along with the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and the Commonwealth High Commissioners. Her Majesty is the Head of the Commonwealth, and normally reads a speech in honour of the occasion.

Commonwealth Day allows member nations to remember the importance of the bind that we all have in being members of the Commonwealth. This bind has, and can continue to be, an important source of trade, security, and friendship.

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Gordon Pinsent has Passed Away

Famed Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent has passed away at 92.

Mr. Pinsent was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland to Stephen Arthur Pinsent and Florence Pinsent on July 12th, 1930.

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