Listen... the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is playing

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bartok likes The Clash

I caught up with our Concertmaster Martin Riseley today to talk about the upcoming Masters concerts on June 6 & 7. He's performing Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2, and I'll let him do the talking:

Bill is back to conduct, and the concert also features former ESO composer-in-residence John Estacio's Light Eternal and Brahms' Symphony No. 1.

Tickets here.

National Arts Education PSAs

Recently- Americans for the Arts launched new national arts education PSAs- encouraging parents to "feed" their children a healthy diet of the arts. I find them quite humorous. I've posted a few here- but you can view the rest of the commercials and listen to the radio ads here on the website. Enjoy!


Monday, May 26, 2008

Darth Vader's Bedroom

Lots of coverage in the Edmonton Journal this weekend on Porgy and Bess, thanks to Elizabeth Withey (known here as Salad Daze). There's a slide show of her time in Lyon that's well worth watching here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Full Circle

It seems that Renée Fleming (appearing with the ESO in the first concert of the 08/09 season on September 11, 2008) has won the Polar music prize, so congratulations are in order!

The Polar Music Prize was established by Stig Anderson, manager of ABBA. And funny thing... our last performance THIS season is "Rajaton sings ABBA" on June 10th.

Coincidence? I think not.

And while I'm oh-so-shamelessly hawking concerts, tonight and tomorrow Anton Kuerti is performing with the symphony, and HE just won the Governor General's Performing Arts Award. Word is that he wrote his own cadenzas (that's the part where the soloist gets to show off without the orchestra playing) for Mozart's Piano Concerto No 22. I'm also excited that this is the first performance of the piece by both the ESO and Anton Kuerti - so I'm looking forward to the freshness of it all. There's nothing more exciting than a premiere performance, even for a piece written a couple of hundred years ago.

Tickets for this weekend are available online up to 3 hours before showtime - or available at the door if you must.

Ok, I'm done now.

In the Pit

Here's a video that Elizabeth Withey took in the orchestra pit during the "official" dress rehearsal of Porgy & Bess.
Talk about surround sound:)


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Meeting of the Minds

Greetings from Lyon. Here's a little video showing the cross-cultural nature of the Opera de Lyon... so to speak.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Toyota vs Honda

First of all, Drew McManus has very kindly highlighted us on his blog, Adaptistration. I didn't expect that kind of attention so early on, but it is gratefully received.

And second, following up on my earlier post, apparently Toyota has their sights set on orchestral performances as well:

I'm already imagining the day a high-strung ASIMO robo-conductor flies off the handle at a particularly inflexible oboe-bot (or perhaps it would just be "obot").

Sunday, May 18, 2008

They Love It! They Really Love It!

Last night was the opening night of P&B. I think they liked it.
All I heard at intermission was comments of ( * insert French accent here) Magnifique! Super! Tres Tres Bon!. Let me rephrase that... I think they loved it! Everyone involved last night was in mighty form.

At the end of the show, there was a hearty applause-followed by rhythmic clapping and foot stomping that I'm sure went on for what I felt was at least 10 minutes. I guess this is the French version of a standing ovation. After the performance, we headed over to the reception- hoping to talk to some of the cast and maybe take a few pictures. Suddenly Bill comes in- and makes a beeline for the food,which hadn't been touched yet ( I have no idea what they were waiting for) Suddenly there is applause as everyone is recognizes at Bill's "bold" move to the food. He yells Mangez! Mangez! Everyone got the hint and suddenly it was like a heard of cattle. Fortunately, I got there right before the food ran out.

Porgy ( aka Derrick Lawrence ), Porgy's daughter and Bill

Bill and Serena (Kristin Lewis)

Bill and his assistant Dominic Grier

Keep a lookout in the Edmonton Journal for Elizabeth Withey's review, the weekend of May 25th and 26th.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I'm a "Pit"bull here me play

Friday night was the second dress rehearsal for Porgy & Bess, and Elizabeth and I were allowed to sit in the pit so we could watch Bill. I guess we were the first to do that at Opera-Lyon. It was fun to see him from a different side, and how he interacts with the orchestra. I've known Bill for a few years now, so I'm pretty good at reading his expressions. The sheer look of glee in most parts told me he was having a blast up there. You could tell when the singers were doing something good because they got the Bill smile of approval. Oh and there was a tad bit of wiggling up there. Sorry-lets try that again... there was A LOT of wiggling. How could you not? That's some seriously great music! Talk about surround sound down there, and the musicians looked the they were having a great time with Bill. I almost offered to turn pages for the double bass player sitting beside me at one point...well- I felt I should be doing SOMETHING!!!

Sizing up the house

Gershwin's masterpiece

Warming up

Who's this guy? Bill posing for his 5 minute Journal photo shoot outside the opera house

Next post... opening night!

Friday, May 16, 2008

More Thoughts on P&B

If you haven't been to Bill's blog recently, he's done a few posts in the last few days about the last week before opening. Definitely check it out.

The more I think about this particular production of Porgy & Bess- the more I compare it to the musical RENT. Not the music of course- but just the whole look and feel of everything. The costumes, the set- very Broadway like. Defintely not your typical opera set. The photos explain what I'm talking about

On another note- Lyon is a fantastic Food city. Yesterday, Bill took myself and Elizabeth Withey from the Edmonton Journal out to this great little back alley place. Seriously best food I had in a long while- and honestly, one of the best nights I've had out in awhile. I don't think I've laughed that much in a long time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

National Strike Day

Today is National Strike Day. Apparently this happens often. Bill and I were on our way to lunch when we saw the parade of strikers walking. Its amazing how many people come out to this...


Bonjour De La France!

Bonjour de la Lyon Mes Amis!
Melayne here from the ESO- I am the Public Relations Manager for the Symphony and I'm here in Lyon, France for the opening weekend of Opera-Lyons' production of Porgy and Bess.

If you've never been to Lyon, I urge you to book your ticket now. This- is a fabulous town... and I will definately write more about it... but this post is about Porgy and Bess- conducted by the ESO's own Bill Eddins.

The first dress rehearsal was last night, and myself along with a few hundred of the cast's family and friends had a chance to partake in the first Opera Lyon showing of this Gershwin masterpiece. The way Opera- Lyon is staging it, is bit different from what you expect. With an almost- all black cast, this production has much influence from today's black culture. The choreography is almost all influenced by hip hop, African and Modern Dance. The backdrop looks like a neigbourhood straight out of Brooklyn, NY- and the costumes-are what you would see on MTV. Along with constant video as the main background set, this modern-day re-telling has a great edge. I can tell that this is a production that the people of Lyon are not going to forget anytime soon.

The opera house itself is very interesting. The outside is incredibly beautiful and old looking. The inside lobbies are metal and plush red, and the hall itself is all black. I think someone was quoted as saying..."its a bit like Darth Vaders bedroom". It seriously is ALL BLACK. Interesting to say the least!

The second dress rehearsal is tomorrow, so I'll definately have more tidbits to share!.
I will hopefully have videos posted soon- so don’t forget to stayed tuned to Ciao for now!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I've seen some robotic conducting, but...

Story via Engadget.

As a bit of background, Honda is sponsoring the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's music education programs for children, and chose to launch their sponsorship by featuring a highly sophisticated robot at a concert yesterday. I really feel this is a story about achievements in robotic technology more than anything else, but it certainly highlights "technology in the arts" in a fun way.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Welcome to the ESO blog!

The first post belongs to me - so who am I? Let's call me "Phil". I've recently started as the ESO's New Media Specialist which means I do things like create blogs (like this one) and youtube channels, etc. I hope to have many contributers to this little page to give you the widest possible perspective from the inside, behind and underneath.

So, all aboard! This train leaves for France tomorrow (hopefully the atlantic won't derail us), where our own Sistah Girl is headed to cover Bill Eddins' exploits as he conducts Porgy and Bess.

Stay tuned.