Mezzo Soprano (and Classical 96.3FM radio host) Jean Stilwell and pianist Patti Loach take their two-woman show to Richmond Hill’s newly renovated Centre for the Performing Arts where the show opens the Classical Music Series.
The performance runs fluidly between Stilwell and Loach’s scripted banter, and classic cabaret songs – comic and tragic – from the likes of Kurt Weill and Edith Piaf, Moose Charlap, Maltby and Shire, to more contemporary songwriters from New York’s cabaret scene such as John Bucchino, and Goldrich and Heisler. The show also trades on Stilwell’s bread-and-butter gig as the title character in Bizet’s Carmen. (Diva Stilwell has performed the role of the gypsy in close to 30 productions on three different continents.) Stilwell’s flare for high – and sometimes outrageous – fashion is hidden behind the microphone at The New Classical 96.3FM in her role as morning co-host with Mike Duncan.
The October 17th performance is Stilwell’s last in Toronto before she leaves for a month, to perform in Dominick Argento’s opera, “Casanova’s Homecoming” with Minnesota Opera. Fellow Canadian John Fanning will perform the role of Casanova.
Whether she is performing for thousands at the Hollywood Bowl in Eric Idle’s Not the Messiah, or for smaller audiences singing cabaret songs by Kurt Weill and John Bucchino, Stilwell brings to the room a special blend of vulnerability and strength; formidable range and vocal colour, immediacy and timelessness and, always, a wicked sense of humour, all aided and abetted by Patti Loach at the piano, who wrote the show. The two women will be joined by John Loach on trumpet.
The architects for the Richmond Hill Centre’s recent renovation were Diamond Schmitt, the same group who designed Toronto’s Four Seasons Opera House. The Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts is the largest cultural facility of its kind in York Region. Located at Yonge and Wright Streets in the heart of Richmond Hill’s downtown core, the 43,000 square foot multi-use cultural facility adds to the vitality of the downtown, supports local shops and restaurants and is sure to stimulate further quality developments and improvements along Yonge Street.
By all early reports, the hall is visually beautiful and the acoustics, spectacular. Add to the equation an excellent concert grand piano, and a state of the art sound and light system, and it all bodes well for a beautiful evening. Looking ahead, performances at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts also include Quartetto Gelato, Ron Sexsmith, the Moscow Boys Choir, Louise PItre with Jackie Richardson, and Art Garfunkel.
What: Carmen UnZipped: Jean Stilwell and Patti Loach, with guest John Loach
Where: Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts
10268 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill (just north of Major Mackenzie Drive)
When: Saturday October 17th, 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $46, available by calling 905-787-881
For more information: www.carmenunzipped.com
“What makes this evening is the sheer force and presence of Stilwell and Loach on the stage… These two women not only know how to make music, they know how to connect with an audience.”
– John Terauds, Toronto Star
“a treat, and truly moving”
– Measha Brueggergosman