Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra concert explores meaning of light
“Joy to the world.”
“Deck the Hall. “
Not that there is anything wrong with these and many other holiday concert Christmas chestnuts.
But HPO Composer-in-Residence Abby Richardson-Schulte has something new up her sleeve. Something besides his 2012 musical illustration of Roch Carrier’s beloved new “The Hockey Sweater,” which became popular at holiday symphony concerts.
“At concerts like this, I hear the usual chestnuts: ‘The Nutcracker’, Christmas carols, non-denominational holiday tunes and one or two Hanukkah numbers,” said Richardson-Schulte. “I was struck by how many Canadians would not care about this. I guess it was in my head when the Calgary Philharmonic approached me for a holiday play.
For this project, Richardson-Schulte approached Montreal playwright Alexis Diamond, his former librettist for two chamber operas. Together, the two created “Making Light,” a multicultural holiday tale for orchestra and two narrators called Pops and Mila.
“Alexis is a smart writer,” said Richardson-Schulte. “She’s researching it and doing something that’s educational, yet accessible and fun. For example, she is Jewish and equates the dramatic Hanukkah story with an action movie.
The story arc in “Making Light” begins when the power goes out before a Christmas party. Pops then takes his granddaughter Mila on a magical journey around the world, explaining the meaning of light in Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu holiday traditions, and ending with the Anishinaabeg legend of the Northern Lights.
“’Making Light’ is written to bring every story to life,” Richardson-Schulte said of his 20-minute piece. “I have incorporated musical quotes and transcriptions from each of the different cultures into my music (Christmas carols, 13th century Iranian and Jewish music, and 12th century Hindustani classical music). No music is borrowed for the Anishinaabeg tradition. I aim to make storytelling transparent by framing each unique culture in its own sound signature. “
Created by the CPO in December 2018, the HPO will perform the Ontario premiere of “Making Light” at their “Hometown Holidays” concert on Saturday, December 18 at 7:30 pm in the FirstOntario Concert Hall.
For that, they chose acclaimed Canadian actor RH Thomson as Pops and HCC backing vocalist Mara Sweeney as Mila.
“He was my first choice for narrating Pops,” said Richardson-Schulte of Thomson. She was no less enthusiastic about Mara Sweeney.
“She’s taking acting lessons and had her lines memorized for us a month in advance,” added Richardson-Schulte.
Evergreen Chestnuts, “A Christmas Festival” and “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson, selections from “The Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky and “Christmas Angels Sing-A-Long” by Matthew Naughtin round out the rest of the bill. HPO vacation. Thomas Le Duc-Moreau will lead the guest.
Participants must wear masks. Persons aged 12 and over must show proof of double vaccination and photo ID to enter. For those who are not medically fully vaccinated, a negative COVID-19, PCR, or antigen test result from a healthcare provider taken within 48 hours of the scheduled concert start time is required. .
Places are limited for this one hour concert. In person tickets on hpo.org: $ 20 – $ 80, suite of six lodges in the first balcony $ 600, service charge and taxes not included. Online broadcast ticket for 14 days of VOD: $ 31, fees and taxes included.
On Sunday, December 12 at 3 p.m. at the Burlington Performing Arts Center, 440 Locust St., Denis Mastromonaco and the Burlington Symphony Orchestra present “A Christmas Spectacular,” a 75-minute family Christmas show filled with familiar chestnuts.
At the end of the poster, “A Christmas Festival” and “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson. In between, you’ll hear Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers” from “The Nutcracker”, as well as arrangements galore such as Bob Phillips’ version of Paul O’Neill’s “Dream of Fireflies” which, according to Mastromonaco, is a rock version of “Winter ‘from” The Four Seasons “by Vivaldi,” Gesù Bambino “by Maurice Baron,” Music from’ Frozen ‘”by Johnnie Vinson,” Christmas Sing-A-Long “by Bob Cerulli and” Santa Claus is Coming to Town ”, among others.
“There will be a slideshow with titles and all the singing words,” Mastromonaco said. “If the audience sings loud enough, Santa Claus himself can appear.”
Tickets at burlingtonpac.ca or by calling 905-681-6000 are $ 46, senior $ 39, 16-24 $ 25, under 16 $ 12. All participants must wear masks and those aged 12 and over must show proof of double vaccination to enter.