Oct 26, 2017

Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House on DVD and CD, November 17, 2017

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featuring Trio Arabica

 “A phenomenon that was unexpected and powerful”
—The Globe and Mail

A flawless affair, musically as well as aesthetically
Musical Toronto

“Entertaining, educational, musically rewarding and visually arresting”
Huffington Post Canada

Tales of Two CitiesToronto, October 26, 2017 … On November 17, Tafelmusik releases its “powerful” (The Globe and Mail) Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House on CD and DVD through Tafelmusik Media, with worldwide distribution by Naxos. Inspired by the colourful, opulent world of 18th-century Saxon and Syrian coffee houses, Tales of Two Cities features guest ensemble Trio Arabica, and was conceived, programmed, and scripted by Tafelmusik double bassist Alison Mackay. This immersive multimedia program was filmed before a live audience at the Aga Khan Museum in December, 2016. Tales of Two Cities received rapturous critical acclaim at its May 2016 Toronto concert premiere, and was named Best Concert of 2016 by the Spanish classical music magazine Codalario.com.

Tales of Two Citiesis performed entirely from memory by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra with narration by actor Alon Nashman. In addition to music by European baroque composers such as Telemann, Handel, and Bach, listeners will hear classical Arabic music performed by Trio ArabicaMaryem Tollar, voice and qanun; Demetri Petsalakis, oud; and Naghmeh Farahmand, percussion — music that may well have been heard in the coffee houses of Damascus.

Mackay and her creative team employ theatrical sets, lighting design, scripted text, and spectacular projected images to create the kind of immersive concert experience for which Tafelmusik is world renowned. Tales of Two Cities will tour to seven cities in the United States in 2019, and will be remounted in Toronto as part of Tafelmusik’s 2018/19 season.

DVD extras include subtitles in Arabic, a video on the restoration of the Dresden Damascus Room, behind-the-scenes footage from rehearsals, and a nine-camera split screen video of the orchestra performing Bach’s Sinfonia after BWV 248 in a new arrangement.

Original stage direction for Tales of Two Cities is by Marshall Pynkoski, production design is by Glenn Davidson, and projections are designed by Raha Javanfar.

Tales of Two Citieswas developed in partnership with Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Queen’s University, Kingston, in collaboration with the Aga Khan Museum, and is generously supported by The Pluralism Fund and by a gift from an anonymous benefactor.

A free screening of Tales of Two Cities will be presented at the Aga Khan Museum on December 10 at 2pm. Details will soon be available at agakhanmuseum.org

In-Store Release Information :

Release date: November 17, 2017

Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House
Conceived, programmed, and scripted by Alison Mackay

Directed by Jeanne Lamon

Trio Arabica
Maryem Tollar, voice and qanun|Demetri Petsalakis, oud|Naghmeh Farahmand, percussion

Narrator Alon Nashman

DVD & CD Soundtrack – $30.00 CAD
Total Duration: DVD 1:37:15 / CD 70:00
Recording Dates:
Video recorded December 2016
Audio recorded Sept/Oct 2016
Sound Format:
DVD – 5.1 Surround Sound
CD – 24 bit high definition
In-Store: November 17, 2017
Product Number: TMK1035DVDCD
UPC Code: 8 80513 10351 7