Opera Atelier: The Coronation Of Poppea

    Additional photos from Opera Atelier's production of Claudio Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea playing at The Elgin Theatre.



    Soprano Peggy Kriha Dye is terrific as the sensual, scheming Poppea. Previously she was nominated for a Dora Award for her role in Opera Atelier's Idomeneo.



    Bass Baritone Olivier Laquerre plays Ottone, in love with Poppea but driven to attempt her murder by the jealous Empress Ottavia.



    The interplay between Michael Maniaci's Nero and Poppea is laced with hot sensual moments, but also dark shadings and foreboding. Based on the true infamous story of the Roman courtesan, Nero in fact ended up brutually murdering Poppea just four years after her ascencion to the highest position of Empress depicted in this opera.



    Lighting Designer Kevin Fraser bathes the entire production in heavily gelled lighting that mimics a Renaissance painting. It's almost as if the opera is being performed by candle light. While beautiful to the eye, photographically this is a bit of a torture test for the camera's white balance as even a custom white balance reading off white or grey elements of the set fails to completely compensate for the heavy warming effect. It's always a bit of an adventure shooting Opera Atelier.




    One of the reasons I often recomend Opera Atelier to visitors interested in attending opera for the first time is the variety of arts disciplines in each production. In addition to the operatic performance, you have the always excellent Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra providing the orchestral and choral element, and productions are enhanced by the artists of the Atelier Ballet lending a choreographic interpretation to the piece.




    The Coronation Of Poppea plays at The Elgin Theatre April 25, 26, 28, 29, May 1 & 2.


    Photographed with the Olympus E30 with Digital Zuiko 50-200mm 2.8 lens

    All rights reserved. No reproduction of text or photos is allowed by law without prior written permission. Copyright Torontowide.com 2009

    Source URL: http://giantstepstalk.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html
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Toronto Alternative Arts And Fashion Week


    In addition to Toronto's two regular Fashion Weeks, Winter collections in March and Spring Collections in October, once a year we also have Alternative Fashion Week which takes a slightly more eclectic look at fashion, design, art, photography, and live performance.


    Alternative Fashion Week acts as a showcase for younger, less established designers, but also casts a wider net delving into elements of design, art, and performance. There are even live bands in between shows.




    Taking place at the Distillery District for the rest of this week, it's sort of a half sized version of the regular Fashion Week. Half the crowd (a good thing), half the space (less of a good thing), half the lighting (definitely not a good thing) and the shows are about half the length of it's bigger sister.


    One thing that never changes with fashion ... every show is at least half an hour late in starting.
    Alternative Fashion Week compensates for the smaller individual collections by grouping three and four designers into each show segment, and often there are performers interspersed with the fashion element. Here an aerialist performs between designers.


    All this is not to denigrate the event. The clothes are fresh and often experimental, the atmosphere within the cozy confines of the Fermenting Cellar harkens back to past versions of Toronto Fashion Week when it was held at the Liberty Grand, and there is a nice relaxed energy to the evening. I found myself enjoying shooting this event.



    One thing I noticed was that the models better represented the city I live in with different ethnicities and skin colours represented, even a few plus-sized models seamlessly blended walking the runway with the waifs in the shows I saw on Wed.



    Toronto Alternative Arts And Fashion Week continues at The Fermenting Cellar, Distillery District tonight and tomorrow evening starting at 6:00 PM each day. Showcasing 200 innovative designers, visual artists, musicians and performers from across Canada, admission is just $20 for the night. There is a lounge area and cash bar to relax in between shows.



    All photos above were taken with the Olympus E30 at ISO's from 1600 to 400, with Digital Zuiko 50-200mm lens, single focus AF, IS off, noise filter to low.



    Comparing these directly to the photos I shot at LG Fashion Week just a month ago on the E3, it's obvious that the E30 had much better ability to hold highlights, and the files are much, much less prone to banding in post.



    All photos and text copyright Torontowide.com. No reproduction in any medium allowed without prior written permission.


    All rights reserved.











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K-OS @ MuchMusic



    K-OS launched his new CD, YES!, at MuchMusic yesterday with a short performance set and interview.





    With the whole Rapper/Hoodie thing going on, and the sunglasses, about the only part of K-OS I got in the performance shots was his nose. So I hung around for the interview.




    Seems like a nice guy with a good sense of humour about himself. They showed a reel of funny things that have happened during previous appearances at Much.

    He confessed that being on TV makes him uncomfortable, and indeed, he seemed ill at ease with the three photographers off to the side shooting him during the show as well.




    Photos done with the Olympus E510 w/ Digital Zuiko 50-200mm 2.8 lens

    All photos and text copyright Torontowide.com. All rights reserved and no reproduction in any medium is allowed without prior written permission.


    Source URL: http://giantstepstalk.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html
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COC: Verdi's Simon Boccanegra



    The Canadian Opera Company’s spring season opens with Verdi’s great opera Simon Boccanegra.


    Simon’s election as the first Doge of Genoa is intended to unite the conflicted city.




    For a time, it does, but the return of his long-lost daughter, Amelia ...




    ... exposes shifting political alliances and conspiracies that threaten to thrust the city back into chaos.




    Soprano Tamara Wilson is terrific as Maria Boccanegra with a powerful, expressive voice.




    Paolo Gavanelli plays a wonderful Doge of the city.





    Simon Baccanegra plays on the following dates throughout April and into May.
    April 11, 14, 22, 24, 28 @ 7:30 PM and April 18 @ 4:30 PM May 3 @ 2:00 PM Four Seasons Centre For The Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W. (At University Ave.) Tickets: phone: 416 363-8231 or online by visiting http://www.coc.ca/


    Olympus E3 w/ 50-200mm 2.8 lens


    All photos copyright Torontowide.com. All rights reserved and written permission is required for any reproduction of photos in any medium.
    Source URL: http://giantstepstalk.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html
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Holly Small: Radiant




    Choreographer Holly Small's Radiant opens Thurs. April 9th in the Betty Oliphant Theatre at 404 Jarvis St. (right beside the National Ballet School) The portion we were allowed to photograph was a surreal, flowing, sensual episode set to an abstract electronic soundtrack and featuring flashes of multimedia in the form of projected images and live video feeds.





    The entire production is bathed in a warm amber glow, and it was really quite beautiful, intriguing, even with the restriction of viewing it through a camera viewfinder.





    With Radiant, Small invites the audience into the vivid landscape of her imagination - a preternatural forest, ravaged by time, haunted by wraith-like figures that hover at the edges of memory and awareness. Rising from the darkness and tumbling through space, six stunning dancers merge with exquisite video imagery by iconoclastic artist John Oswald.





    For the live performance they will have musicians on stage playing along live. Obviously it would be expensive to have them on hand for a rehearsal, so we didn't get to see the full effect, but it sounds like an interesting concept.






    Radiant plays at the Betty Oliphant Theatre from April 9 - April 11 @ 8:00 PM Betty Oliphant Theatre Tickets range from $18 - $25 and are available by phoning 416 533-8577







    All Photos and text copyright Torontowide.com. All rights reserved and reproduction is not allowed unless permission is given in writing.



    Photos done with the Olympus E3 w/ 50-20mm ans 12-60mm lenses
    Source URL: http://giantstepstalk.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html
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Serena Ryder at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

    One of the nice things about having a blog is that it allows us to show more than a single photo of an event. In years past, although we have often had major difficulties picking a final photo for the home page due to a number of ourstanding candidates, now we can show out-takes and lesser shots that, while not our top picks, still help to convey the atmosphere of the live performance.

    For Serena we had several photos we liked. In concert, the energy of her performance really took me off guard. Her more radio-friendly songs don't give a hint of what a spunky performer she really is. Particualrly the head tosses, where she would get lost in her music, hair flying around her face like a mass of fine ribbons.

    I liked these shots in particular, but owing to the very low light levels (the wide spread use of LED lights at concerts is really becoming a photographer's nightmare due to their generally lower light output) it was very difficult to get a focus lock on several of these moments. I finally gave up on auto focus altogether and switched into manual for the final two songs of the three I was allowed to shoot.


    Ditto the 1.4 teleconverter, which I had on the 50-200mm 2.8 for most of the first song reasoning, as the photographers position was off to the side and back from the stage, that I might need the extra reach. I had never photographed in this hall before last night so I wasn't sure what to expect or which focal lengths would be necessary. But very soon it became apparent that the penalty paid in the decreased max. aperture with the teleconverter wasn't worth the extra reach.

    A dramatic overhead light strobes on the band's guitarist during one song

    I took it off and then started scrolling through the ISO's trying to find something that would give me an action-stopping exposure solution. Hit the maximum of 3200 ISO on the E3 and frankly I could have used the Nikon D3's 12000 or 24000 ISO. This was one really dim-lit concert!

    Speaking of the hall, located on the grounds of Exhibition Place beside BMO Field, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre is an impressive facility. Sightlines look to be excellent as it is steeply raked, and the sound was quite good. Full capacity is just over 1200 people, which seems to be the magic number for a facility that has enough seats to attract major acts, but small enough that there is a sense of intimacy with the performer. And there is a bar in the lobby so you can slip out for a cold one between acts!

    Also, parking, the bane of most Toronto venues, is no problem with acres of it available. There are good mass transit connections to the theatre as well, either by streetcar along the Harbourfront line, by bus to the Dufferin Gates, or by GO Train from the Exhibition Station.

    The only criticism I would have, and it's a minor one, is the theatre doesn't seem to offer hard points back from the stage in front and to the sides to allow for better frontal lighting. The stage lighting was a little 'overhead' which is not always the most complimentary. This was a problem at the old Sony Centre as well. But it could just be an issue with this particular performer's lighting. Certainly focusing spots at the back, and there is plenty of room for them, would solve this. And this is mostly a photographer's issue as I'm sure the crowd didn't notice it at all.



    Shot with the Olympus E3 w/ 50-200mm 2.8 (plus 1.4 teleconverter for some) @ 3200 ISO

    All photos copyright Torontowide.com. All rights reserved and no reproduction is allowed without written permission.

    Source URL: http://giantstepstalk.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html
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