Serving Toronto's most liveable community with the Annex Gleaner

ARTS (MAY 2017) A month of festivals and finales

May 26th, 2017 · No Comments

Royal Conservatory of Music marks Canada 150

By Heather Kelly

May is a month of fantastic festivals and concert season finales on the Bloor St. Culture Corridor. It is also Museum Month, and there is no better time to visit the Bata Shoe Museum, Gardiner Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).


From May 10 to 18, the Miles Nadal JCC presents the ReelAbilities Toronto Film Festival, the largest film festival in North America dedicated to the lives, stories, and art of people with disabilities.

Photography exhibitions that are part of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival include Alliance Française’s Making An Offering photos by Alexander Rousseau, and the Gardiner Museum’s ARTIFACT by fashion and celebrity photographer Deborah Samuel. The group exhibition The Family Camera at the ROM explores the complexity of family photographs. Women of the Bimah by Victor Helfand looks at gender-equal participation in Jewish religious services at the Miles Nadal JCC. National Treasures at Todai-ji Temple, Nara photographs by Miro Ito, is now on at the Japan Foundation. Struggles with Images by Parker Kay, a site-specific installation that addresses the shift from images being analog objects to digital entities, is at the Toronto Reference Library.

The Royal Conservatory of Music presents the 21C Music Festival May 24 to 28, marking Canada 150 with nine concerts and 31 premieres in five days. Highlights include the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra conducted by Johannes Debus, the Canadian Art Song Project, Cecilia String Quartet’s commissioned compositions by Canadian women, Montreal violinist Angèle Dubeau, and Bang on a Can All-Stars’ “Bang on a Canada”. Soundstream’s last concert of this season, The Music of Unsuk Chin, is the Festival finale on Sunday, May 28, at Koerner Hall, with a humorous exploration of opera styles across history and a world premiere by Canadian composer Chris Paul Harman, re-imagining the 1930s jazz standard “It’s All Forgotten Now”.

Festivals this month cap off with the Miles Nadal JCC’s annual Downtown Tikkun Leil Shavuot: All-Night Jewish Learning Festival on Tuesday, May 30, from dusk until dawn, and the return of the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival, kicking off a series of four concerts starting May 30 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre with Delightfully Baroque.

Concert season finales

Of all the concert season finales this month, one is by far the most significant: the Talisker Players have announced that their May performances will be their final concerts. Ever. At A Mixture of Madness, May 16 and 17 at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, soprano Ilana Zarankin and baritone Bruce Kelly join the Talisker Players in an exploration of the fine line between revelation and insanity. It will feature a selection of Henry Purcell’s Mad Songs, a new commission from Alice Ho, and Peter Maxwell Davies’s gripping Eight Songs for a Mad King. This final production marks the culmination of Talisker Players’ 17 years in the Annex.

Additional concert season finales — by ensembles that will return — include The Toronto Consort’s final performance of this season, Helen of Troy by Francesco Cavalli. The world’s first great comic opera, it runs May 12 to 14 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre.

May is Museum Month

At the Gardiner Museum, acclaimed exhibition Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary of curious porcelain creatures, closes May 22. Not to be missed at the ROM is Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story, and on May 11 join ROM Mammologist Jacqueline Miller for The Renaissance of the Blue: The Odyssey of the ROM’s Great Whale. The Bata Shoe Museum presents special activities on Mother’s Day, May 14, and celebrates International Museum Day May 18 with pay-what-you-can admission and the opening of a new exhibition Shining Stars: Celebrating Canada’s Walk of Fame. Also May 14 and 18, everyone interested in bespoke shoe-making can watch Peter Feeney make a pair of handmade shoes for BSM Director Emanuele Lepri.

All of these arts and culture events are part of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, a collaboration of 19 arts and culture organizations located on Bloor St. West.

Heather Kelly is the founder and director of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, one of the city’s leading cultural districts.


Tags: Annex · Arts