From Opera To Broadway at Meaford Hall 


Meaford Live Music

Thanks Bill Monahan for this up to date website featuring Daily Updates on the Live Music Scene in Meaford



reviewed by Bill Monahan

It’s not often that the Opera House at Meaford Hall resounds with real operatic voices.  As beautiful as the venue is, and despite its acoustic clarity, it is too small to mount a full scale operatic production.  And opera stars rarely perform in another context.  So it was a treat to experience From Opera To Broadway on Saturday night.  We owe it to Angeline and Rob Dubien of Royal Lepage and to the Craigleith Manor for their sponsorship, and to the initiative of Craig Ashton who brought together four of his professional peers to create this special program.

The mood of the concert was carefully sculpted, starting with the ensemble singing Libiamo ne’lieti calici, a rollicking “drinking song” from Verdi’s La Traviata and carrying through to an inspiring finale of The Impossible Dream followed by You’ll Never Walk Alone.  The stage set was simple with some elegant decoration upstage and four microphones in a row with the piano off to one side.




Because of their power and presence, their classical precision and passion, there’s a tendency to deify opera performers in a sense.  This program countered that in ways that were both designed and unintentional.  After the opening number, Craig spoke to each of the other performers individually, asking them for personal stories to add a human dimension for the audience.  Baritone Jan Vaculik told of singing to his infant son who burst into tears partway through the aria.  Pianist Susan Black, after mentioning that the most important musical lesson she learned was to “never turn down a gig” grabbed the microphone and stood to make a pitch directly to the audience to let us all know that she is for hire.  Mezzo Soprano Katie Knapp recalled how she and Craig have difficulty singing duets together without dissolving in giggles.  But the best anecdote came from soprano Teresa van der Hoeven with her story of sharing the stage with another soprano who, in the midst of an animated chest heaving solo suffered a wardrobe malfunction and it fell to Teresa, while the music continued, to “stuff them back in”.



THIS WEEK – AUG. 22 TO 28, 2016


    • TUES: Open stage at The Leeky Canoe 8 to 11 hosted by Chris Scerri with special guest John Marshall // WED: Open stage at Captains Corner 6 to 9 hosted by Eric McCauley // WED: Open jam at Ted’s Range Road Diner 9 to 12 // THURS: Drew McIvor at Terrace Thursdays, Meaford Hall (sold out) // THURS: Chris Scerri with Pete Devlin at Leeky Canoe 9:30 to 12:30 // FRI: Marshall Dane at Market Square, with Abby Woodford and Emma Wright // FRI: Jaret Coop at Leeky Canoe 9:30 to 12:30 // SAT: Amanda Dorey and James McLaughlin at The Leeky Canoe 9:30 to 12:30 // SUN: Open Stage at The Barn, hosted by Luke Martin noon to 2 pm // SUN: Friends of The Library concert with River and Rock, at The Rotary Pavillion down at the harbour. Bring your own chair, starts 7 p.m.