Feb 2, 2017

Tafelmusik Brings a Century of Canadian History to Life with Visions and Voyages: Canada 1663-1763

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A multimedia presentation by Alison Mackay

February 22 to 26, 2017
featuring guests Ryan Cunningham and Brian Solomon

“It’s no wonder Mackay’s creations have been performed for audiences around the world—there’s really nothing like them.” – The Globe and Mail

Toronto, February 2, 2017 
 On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, Tafelmusik presents the world premiere of Visions and Voyages: Canada 1663-1763, a stunning new multimedia program created by Alison Mackay (The Galileo Project, Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House), February 22 to 26, 2017 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Mackay and her creative team bring a century of Canadian history to life with superb baroque music, dance, lighting design, scripted text, and spectacular projected images, creating the kind of immersive concert experience for which Tafelmusik is world-renowned.

Tafelmusik has invited two of Canada’s most exciting young First Nations artists to collaborate on this project: narrator Ryan Cunningham, Artistic Director of Native Earth Theatre Company from 2014 to 2017, and dancer and choreographer Brian Solomon, who has created two new works set to the music of baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau.

Mackay has chosen to explore the century between 1663, when Quebec was established by Louis XIV as a royal province of France, and 1763, when North America came under the control of the British crown. In Visions and Voyages, she takes an unflinching look at 100 years that saw the establishment and subsequent abandonment of Aboriginal treaty rights.

This century also saw the flowering of music by Purcell, Handel, Lully, Marais, and Rameau—much of it written for French and English monarchs whose prosperity owed plenty to the Nations who had lived and worked in Canada for thousands of years. “Visions & Voyages aims to shine a light on, and express gratitude for, the people whose labours and ingenuity helped make this music possible,” says Mackay.

Much of the material for the script narrated by Cunningham is drawn from diaries, letters, archival records, ships’ manifests, account books, and mission reports from the period—sources which provide rich details about life in Canada at this time.

“These sources often reveal a dark picture of European attitudes to the first inhabitants of Canada, which set the stage for the crushing of Native cultures and the establishment of residential schools that came with Confederation and the establishment of the Indian Act,” says Mackay. 

The concert begins with a portrait of the centuries-old First Nations communities before European contact, and a depiction of life in New France. The music on this first half of Visions & Voyages consists of works by French composers, none of which have ever been performed before by Tafelmusik, including instrumental excerpts from the operas Sémélé by Marin Marais and Alceste by Jean-Baptiste Lully; the prelude to Te Deum by Charpentier; and the Chaconne in F Major for solo harpsichord performed by Charlotte Nediger.

The second half turns from New France to the increasing dominance of Britain over the affairs of Canada, the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the relationship of the British crown with Indigenous communities, and George III’s enshrining of Aboriginal treaty rights in the Great Proclamation of 1763.  

“After a stark reminder of the breaking of these treaties in the policies of the Canadian government in the time of Confederation, the concert ends with an expression of longing in music, poetry, and dance for the vision referred to in the concert’s title—the dream for a better path on which to move forward together as we embark on Canada’s next 150 years,” says Mackay.

Orchestral music by Purcell from Come ye Sons of Art, King Arthur,Dido & Aeneas, and The Old Bachelor takes centres stage in the second half, along with the overture to La Bourse by Telemann; orchestral excerpts from Alceste, Scipione, Israel in Egypt, and the Allegro from the Concerto Grosso in D by Handel; and the prelude in G Major for solo lute by Robert de VisĂ©e performed by Lucas Harris. The concert ends with Bryan Solomon’s original choreography for two works by Rameau: the EntrĂ©e de Polymnie from Les BorĂ©ades, and the Contredanse from Pygmalion.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Guest narrator Ryan Cunningham is Plains Cree/MĂ©tis from Edmonton. He was the Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts from 2014 to 2017, co-founder/producer of Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts, a founding member of The Agokwe Collective, and co-producer of the award-winning production, Agokwe. He is also aBoard member of IPAA (Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance) and the CanDance Network. As an actor, Ryan has worked in TV, film, and theatre for two decades, most recently in the all-Aboriginal cast of King Lear at the National Arts Centre of Canada. Ryan is a series regular on the award-winning television series, Blackstone, playing the role of Darcy Douglas in all five seasons.

Multiple Dora and Gemini Award-nominated Brian Solomon, dancer and choreographer, is of Anishnaabe and Irish descent, from the Northern Ontario village Shebahononing-Killarney. He is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and holds an MA of performance from the Laban Center (UK). Solomon has presented multidisciplinary works across Canada, Berlin, Ingolstadt, Bamberg, Amsterdam, and London. A co-creation with German visual artist Judy Ross, their film The Filmmaker won best prize for experimental film at Watch Out! film festival in Macedonia. Solomon has performed for a multitude of choreographers, directors, and companies across Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

Alison Mackay, who has played the violone and double bass with Tafelmusik since 1979, is active in the creation of cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary programs for the orchestra. A number of her projects, which include The Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun; Metamorphosis; The Galileo Project; House of Dreams; J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation; andTales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House, have been made into feature documentary films and have toured extensively around the world. Her musical tale of adventure, The Quest for Arundo Donax, was awarded the 2006 Juno Award for Children’s Recording of the Year, and she is the recipient of the 2013 Betty Webster Award for her contribution to orchestral life in Canada.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Guest narrator Ryan Cunningham is Plains Cree/MĂ©tis from Edmonton. He is Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, co-founder/producer of Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts, a founding member of The Agokwe Collective, and co-producer of the award-winning production, Agokwe. He is also aBoard member of IPAA (Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance) and the CanDance Network. As an actor, Ryan has worked in TV, film, and theatre for two decades, most recently in the all-Aboriginal cast of King Lear at the National Arts Centre of Canada. Ryan is a series regular on the award-winning television series, Blackstone, playing the role of Darcy Douglas in all five seasons.

Multiple Dora and Gemini Award-nominated Brian Solomon, dancer and choreographer, is of Anishnaabe and Irish descent, from the Northern Ontario village Shebahononing-Killarney. He is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and holds an MA of performance from the Laban Center (UK). Solomon has presented multidisciplinary works across Canada, Berlin, Ingolstadt, Bamberg, Amsterdam, and London. A co-creation with German visual artist Judy Ross, their film The Filmmaker won best prize for experimental film at Watch Out! film festival in Macedonia. Solomon has performed for a multitude of choreographers, directors, and companies across Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

Alison Mackay, who has played the violone and double bass with Tafelmusik since 1979, is active in the creation of cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary programs for the orchestra. A number of her projects, which include The Four Seasons: A Cycle of the Sun; Metamorphosis; The Galileo Project; House of Dreams; J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation; andTales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House, have been made into feature documentary films and have toured extensively around the world. Her musical tale of adventure, The Quest for Arundo Donax, was awarded the 2006 Juno Award for Children’s Recording of the Year, and she is the recipient of the 2013 Betty Webster Award for her contribution to orchestral life in Canada.

The creative team for Visions and Voyages includes Glenn Davidson, production design, and Raha Javanfar, projection design.

Visions & Voyagesis generously supported by The Pluralism Fund, KPMG, and by a gift from an anonymous benefactor.

Audience members are invited to join program creator Alison Mackay for a free pre-concert chat one hour before each performance.

A Tafelscene 35 & under intermission party takes place at the concert on Saturday Feb 25
25 young violinists from the Etobicoke School of the Arts and the Suzuki program at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre join Tafelmusik on stage immediately following the final performance of Visions & Voyages on Sunday Feb 26

Listing information:

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra presents Visions and Voyages: Canada 1663-1763 with narrator Brian Cunningham and dancer/choreographer Brian Solomon. Created by Alison Mackay.

Dates & Times:
Wed Feb 22 at 7pm
Thu Feb 23, Fri Feb 24, Sat Feb 25, 2017 at 8pm
Sun Feb 26 at 3:30pm

Ticket Prices:
Regular: Start at $41 | 65+: Start at $38 | 35 & Under: Start at $20

Venue:
Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West

Box Office:
Tafelmusik Box Office: (416) 964-6337

Full program:
Marais Instrumental excerpts from Sémélé
Couperin Chaconne in F Major for solo harpsichord
Lully Instrumental excerpts from Alceste
Charpentier Prelude to Te Deum H.146
Purcell Instrumental excerpts from Come ye Sons of Art, King Arthur, Dido & Aeneas, and The Old Bachelor
Anon. Johnny cock thy beaver (fromThe Division Violin)
Telemann La Bourse: Ouverture
Handel Instrumental excerpts from Alceste,Scipione, Israel in Egypt, and the Allegro from Concerto Grosso in D Major, op. 3, no. 6
Robert de Visée Prelude in G Major for solo lute
Rameau Les Boréades: Entrée de Polymnie
              Pygmalion: Contredanse

Website: www.tafelmusik.org

ABOUT TAFELMUSIK

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, founded as a registered charity in 1979, is one of the world’s leading period performance ensembles. In January 2017 the orchestra appointed violinist Elisa Citterio as Music Director, succeeding Jeanne Lamon, who stepped down in 2014 following a remarkable 33-year tenure that began in 1981. Lamon continues her association with Tafelmusik as Music Director Emerita. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. The orchestra performs some 80 concerts each year at home in Toronto, and travels extensively around the world. The choir and orchestra’s multi-platform recording label Tafelmusik Media was launched in January 2012, along with the Watch and Listen site. Tafelmusik’s discography of 80-plus CDs has been recorded on the Sony Classical, CBC Records, Analekta and Tafelmusik Media labels. Since 1991, Tafelmusik has received nine JUNO Awards and a Grammy Award nomination. Tafelmusik is the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto and operates annual artist training programs, Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute and Tafelmusik Winter Institute. Managing Director William Norris joined the Tafelmusik team in 2015.

2016/17 SEASON PARTNERS

Tafelmusik wishes to thank the following for their generous support: RBC Emerging Artists Project for its generous support of Tafelmusik Winter Institute; BMO Financial Group, RBC Foundation, TD Bank Group, John and Margaret Catto, Margaret and Jim Fleck, Great West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Hal Jackman Foundation, KPMG, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Classical 96.3 FM and NOW Magazine. Tafelmusik is a proud partner of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor.

Media contact:
Luisa Trisi, Big Picture Communications, (416) 456-0499 | ltrisi@sympatico.ca
427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7

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High‐resolution photos of Tafelmusik, Ryan Cunningham, and Brian Solomon are available for download here.