Tragedies: Toronto's summer opera shortage
Is there anything more despairing than the life of an opera lover, living in Toronto during the month of August? And is there any worry more utterly trivial and first-world?
Yes, readers, I'm aware that there are actual problems ongoing in the world. But one of those problems is the dearth of opera and complementary concerts to see in this peak-summer month in Toronto. The city's opera companies, orchestras, concert series, and even so-called "summer opera festivals" tend to dry up by early August; it's as though they've all conspired to take their annual hiatus at the same time, with simply no regard for the insatiable appetites of their audiences.
Perhaps they're trying to tell us something, these vacationing opera-and-music-makers. Maybe they're saying, Get out of the city, you crazy opera-house addicts, they're saying. Go sit by a lake somewhere, and build up your vitamin D for the season to come.
And they have a point. Not only is there life outside of the comforting, anonymous darkness of a theatre seat, but it's outside of the big cities where Canadians are urged - nay, forced - to go for a decent fix of music and theatre. There's the Stratford Festival, the Prince Edward County Concert Series, Westben, Highlands Opera Studio, Theatre By The Bay; the arts do exist during the summer months, to be sure.
Still, as an urban person accustomed to finding all the divertissement that I need within a 10-square-block radius, I'm miffed - and counting the days until the TSO's Opening Night, Tafelmusik's Joyous Welcome, the fall line-up at the COC, and AtG's first Opera Pub of the season.
Yes, a big, fat, unnecessary "woe is me" escapes my lips, and you may respond with a roll of your eyes and an exaggerated fainting gesture. Life's rough. But dammit, it's rougher senza l'opera.