Here’s my take on The Stratford Summer Music Festival 2015 season.
I’m drawn to cabaret and roots music, so don’t let my lack of details on the Festival’s many classical shows deter you from seeking them out.
You can click on any of the images below for concert details and tickets.
The festival is introducing two new venues.
The first is “newish.”
For the past 15 years the Stratford Summer Music festival hosted cabarets at The Church Restaurant.
Rob and Candice Wigan recently purchased this historic venue. They’ve renovated and revived it, renaming it Revival House. It’s home to the Cabaret series and I’m really looking forward to the performances in this gorgeous new venue.
Revival House Cabaret Series
Everyone lucky enough to be at Micah Barnes’ 2014 cabaret has been asking for a return performance. Barnes is back in 2015 with Billy Newton Davis, Gavin Hope and Jeremiah Sparks.
Their Saturday, Aug. 29 concert features the music of New York’s Brill Building.
The Toronto native, currently based in England, recently received rave reviews for her performance in Charing Cross Theatre’s production of “The Mikado.”
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy Caine, best known for creating the role of Cosette in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Les Miserables,” perform in the intimate and elegant new venue.
Pope co-wrote the hit song “High School Confidential” for her band Rough Trade in 1980. It was one of the most sexually explicit songs ever to reach the Canadian pop charts.
Saturday Aug. 22nd it’s the Newfoundland jazz ceilidh with Heather Bambrick. Returning for her fourth appearance, Bambrick will be joined by some of Canada’s finest musicians including Stratford Festival bassist Michael McClennan, Toronto Symphony Orchestra violinist Leslie Dawn Knowles and Mark Kieswetter on keyboards.
The Prune Restaurant is the new host of the Musical Brunches.
The brunches feature solo violinists Aisslinn Nosky, Julia Wedman and Cristinia Zacharias from Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra playing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.
TorQ – Tom Percussion Island
For six days only – Monday, July 27 to Sunday, August 2 – TorQ are back with their unique collection of interactive new musical instruments and installations. The experiential exhibit / creative space is perfect for the whole family.
I’m a longtime fan of The Blind Boys of Alabama who perform Thursday, July 23 at Knox Church. The group has won 5 Grammy® Awards.
Their recording of Tom Waits’ “Way Down in the Hole,” was used as the theme for the first season of HBO’s “The Wire.”
The recording’s raw emotion, harmonica and street beats complement the must see HBO show which its creator, Sam Simon, described as “a meditation on the death of work and the betrayal of the American working class.”
Special guest Ben Heppner is joining The Blind Boys of Alabama for this rousing evening of blind faith.
R. Murray Schafer
The work of R. Murray Schafer is being celebrated over 4 performances in August.
Over the years, no composer has appeared more frequently at the Stratford Summer Music than R. Murray Schafer, so it is fitting that a special salute be devoted to him to recognize his commitment and his contributions to Stratford as well as to honour his recent appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Sing-a-Long-a Sound of Music
It’s been around the World, and now it’s coming to the Stratford Cinema.
Having started in the UK back in 1999 Sing-a-Long-a Sound of Music is a worldwide phenomenon, playing to packed houses across the globe.
You’ll see the classic film in glorious, full-screen technicolor, complete with subtitles so that the whole audience can sing along.
I’m surprised there’s only one show, especially since The Stratford Festival is presenting “The Sound of Music” at the Festival theatre.
Sing Along & Stratford Festival.
Ok die hard fans, here’s the ultimate experience.
See the sing-a-long version at the Stratford Cinema, 10am, Saturday August 1st. Follow it with “The Sound of Music” at the festival theatre, Sunday, Aug, at 2:00 PM.
Classical Piano Series
This season’s Classical Piano Series includes international superstars Jan Lisiecki with the Annex Quartet, Paul Lewis and Janina Fialkowska.
There are many, many other excellent shows to see.
Visit The Stratford Summer Music Festival for the full schedule or click on any of the images above for concert details and tickets.
by Keith Tomasek