Jan 14, 2022

The Gull, the Raccoon, and the Last Maple

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A powerful environmentally themed digital concert for the whole family

Tafelmusik commission premieres online
February 17 to 21, 2022 (Family Day weekend)

Toronto, January 14, 2022 … Tafelmusik is thrilled to announce the premiere of The Gull, the Raccoon, and the Last Maple, a powerful new digital concert for the whole family, inspired by the need for collaboration in the face of climate change. Composed by Abigail Richardson-Schulte, with text and story by Alexis Diamond, this new commission is performed by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra directed by Elisa Citterio and narrated by Amanda Cordner. Stage direction is by Jordan Laffrenier. The production team includes assistant director Alyssa Martin; set designer Glenn Davidson; lighting designer Fox Procenko; and costume designer Jennifer Goodman.The Gull, the Raccoon, and the Last Maple premieres online on Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 8pm ET and streams through to February 21, 2022. Single tickets are $10 and allow digital viewing access for up to five days. Tickets are now available at tafelmusik.org.

Timely and optimistic, Tafelmusik’s latest commission is an environmentally themed digital concert for all ages. A contemporary fable for baroque orchestra and narrator, The Gull, the Raccoon, and the Last Maple pits two of Nature’s most persistent scavengers against each other as they engage in a battle of wits over the Last Maple and the last slip of dry land unclaimed by the encroaching floods. As the swirling waters rise and drenching storms threaten, the three must combine forces, harnessing their resourcefulness and adaptability—or perish.

Balancing wit, optimism, and pathos, Cordner and Tafelmusik offer a performance that will inspire families to join in the collective effort towards conserving the health of our planet.

“Tafelmusik is renowned for creative programming that pushes the boundaries of baroque music, and this new commission for the whole family, created in collaboration with Canadian artists from other disciplines, is no exception,” said Executive Director Carol Kehoe. “The message behind The Gull, the Raccoon, and the Last Maple —one of optimism and the importance of cooperation—can be understood and shared by all.” 

ABOUT THE GUEST ARTISTS

Amanda Cordner (narrator), actress, clown, dancer, singer, theatre creator, playwright and filmmaker, graduated from York University with a BFA in Theatre. Her play Body So Fluorescent (co-created with David Di Giovanni) debuted at Summerworks (awards for Outstanding Production Play, and Direction) and will be remounted in 2022 at the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary. Amanda won the Jon Kaplan Spotlight Award for Outstanding Performance and was one of NOW magazine’s Top Ten Theatre Artists of 2018. She continues to partner with independent theatre companies and performance artists. As a television performer, Amanda has garnered enthusiastic reviews for her breakthrough performance as 7ven in the hit CBC/HBOMax television series SORT OF. She is also featured on Slo Pitch, The Expanse, The Baroness von Sketch Show, and Odd Squad. As an audio book storyteller, she can be heard in The Beguiling (Zsuzsi Gartner). Amanda lives in Toronto and loves to dance.

Alexis Diamond (text and story), is an anglophone theatre artist, librettist, lyricist, translator, dramaturg, and theatre curator working on both sides of Montréal’s linguistic divide. Her award-winning plays, operas, and translations have been presented across Canada, in the U.S., and in Europe. Her translation of Pascal Brullemans’ plays for young audiences, Amaryllis and Little Witch (Playwrights Canada Press), was shortlisted for the 2020 Governor General’s Award. Perfect Screw (Tapestry New Opera), the mid-length opera created with Abigail Richardson-Schulte, received a 2009 Dora nomination. 

Other recent family-friendly musical works include Making Light (2018) with Richardson-Schulte, for Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; Zoom-Boom-Boom (2009), an electroacoustic piece for very young audiences created with Stephanie Moore for Jeunesses Musicales Canada; the widely-toured opera Get Stuffed! (2008) with Richard Payne for Tapestry/Words in Motion; Enid and the Swans (2005) with James Rolfe, for Soundstreams/Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus. Since 2011, Alexis has translated more than a dozen concert-plays for Jeunesses Musicales Canada.

Jordan Laffrenier (stage director), is an award-winning director, producer, playwright, dramaturg and educator. He is currently the Associate Artistic Director of Prime Mover Theatre Company, the Artistic Producer of Theatre Sheridan, and the Co-Program Coordinator of Musical Theatre Performance at Sheridan College. He has held many musical theatre development roles in New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto, including Amélieon Broadway, Paradise Square/Hard Times (Berkeley Repertory Theatre California), Sousatska (Tiberius Entertainment), and as co-dramaturg of Cahoot’s Theatre Company’s flagship HotHouse Program.

As the founding Artistic Director of Then They Fight Theatre, a dramaturgically based company dedicated to developing new work, Jordan has produced work with Cahoots, Factory, Soulpepper and others. Two of the shows that were incubated through Then They Fight Theatre have won Dora Awards. An advocate of theatre that supports the community on and off stage, Jordan and has partnered theatre productions directly with local charities such as The Mental Health Coalition in Hamilton and Vibe Arts (where he is an artist mentor).

Abigail Richardson-Schulte (composer), was born in Oxford, England, and moved to Canada as a child. Ironically, she was diagnosed incurably deaf at age five, but upon moving to Canada, her hearing was fully intact within months. Her music has been commissioned and performed by major orchestras, presenters, music festivals and broadcasters including the Festival Présences of Paris. Abigail won first at the prestigious UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers with broadcasts in 35 countries. She won the CBC Karen Kieser Prize, Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Opera, Quenten Doolittle Award, CMC Prairie Region Award and the City of Hamilton Arts Award. Abigail has been Affiliate Composer with the TSO and curated for their New Creations Festival. 

In 2012, Abigail wrote a piece on the classic Canadian story, The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier, in the country's first triple co-commission by the TSO, National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. This orchestral hit has had over 150 performances in Canada and 14 performances in France. A recording of the work has been released on the Centrediscs label in both French and English with Roch Carrier and the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Other notable orchestral works include: a WWI memorial piece, Song of the Poets, with choir and orchestra for NACO's UK tour, and a complete children's orchestra concert of Dennis Lee's Alligator Pie. Abigail has a busy schedule as a composer, teaches composition at the University of Toronto, and is in her ninth year as Composer-in-Residence with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Listing Information:

The Gull, the Raccoon, and the Last Maple           DIGITAL BROADCAST
Composed by Abigail Richardson-Schulte
Text and story by Alexis Diamond
Commissioned by Tafelmusik
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra led by Music Director Elisa Citterio
Jordan Laffrenier, stage director
Amanda Cordner, narrator

Premieres online on Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 8 pm ET
Single tickets are $10 and are now available at tafelmusik.org. Single tickets allow digital viewing access until 7:59pm ET on February 21, 2022 (through Family Day weekend).

Presenting Sponsor
BMO

With support from:
Anne-Marie H. Applin Foundation
Anita & Leon Lapidus
Dermot & Tami Nolan
Abigail Richardson-Schulte
Bob & Peggy Savage

Tafelmusik also gratefully acknowledges the support of BMO, Presenting Sponsor of the 2021/22 Concert season, and our government partners, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

ABOUT TAFELMUSIK
Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio and Executive Director Carol Kehoe, Tafelmusik is an orchestra, choir, and experience that celebrates beauty through music of the past.

Founded over 40 years ago on the pillars of passion, learning, and artistic excellence, Tafelmusik continues to bring new energy to baroque music and beyond. Historically informed performances of 17th- to 19th-century instrumental and choral music (led by Chamber Choir Director Ivars Taurins) share the stage with vibrant, insightful multimedia programs, and bold new music written just for the group. Each piece is played on period instruments, underscored and illuminated by scholarship.

Through dynamic performances, international touring, award-winning recordings, and comprehensive education programs, Tafelmusik invites audiences to engage with beauty and experience the breadth of emotion music can inspire.

Website: tafelmusik.org
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Media contact:
Luisa Trisi, Big Picture Communications
luisa@luisatrisi.com | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7