Chatter dishes on a concert and a play


Edmonton Youth Orchestra launches season

Michael Massey kick-starts his prestigious 41st anniversary as conductor for Edmonton Youth Orchestra with a rich palette of classical compositions from the 18th century through to the 20th.

The EYO, composed of the nationally acclaimed Edmonton Senior Orchestra and Edmonton Intermediate Orchestra, support 150 of the region’s elite young musicians.

Hand-picked through auditions, these top-tier musicians are tasked with a challenging repertoire that ranges from musical giants Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonin Dvoräk to Frederick Delius, Aaron Copeland and Igor Stravinsky.

The Edmonton Intermediate Orchestra opens with Mozart’s last opera, La Clemenza di Tito. Set in ancient Rome, Emperor Tito is involved in a love quadrangle that leads to an assassination attempt. Instead of punishment, Tito offers his plotters clemency.

In a second Mozart composition, the orchestra plays Andante in C for Flute and Orchestra. Although it is said the great composer disliked flute and harp, he composed this piece for one of the era’s most skilled flautists, Johann-Baptiste Wending. Jessica Rogers, principal player in the Senior Orchestra, performs a solo.

The intermediates close the first act with  Dvoräk’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major op. 88.

“This is one of the great symphonies. It is very expressive and very personal. The second movement, the slow movement, is quite dramatic and lyrical. It’s a big stretch for them, but they’ve risen to it.”

Although snow covers the landscape, a recurring theme throughout the concert’s second portion, traditionally played by the Senior Orchestra,  is spring.

The seniors pick up with Delius’ most popular work, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, the first of three compositions to highlight the season.

“It’s very introspective. It’s very subtle.”

Massey also includes Aaron Copeland’s most popular work, Appalachian Spring Suite, a dance piece originally written for dancer/choreographer Martha Graham.

“Every American western and pioneer movie had music that sounded a little bit like Appalachian Spring Suite.

Closing the concert is Stravinsky’s masterpiece The Rite of Spring, a ballet score that caused a riot at its inauguration.

The concert is at the Winspear Centre on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 780-420-1757 or at

Clowning around

Join Small Matters Productions for the world premiere of Over Her Dead Body, a physical theatre comedy of silent storytelling in the tradition of Buster Keaton and Mr. Bean.

Collaborating on this indie project is playwright Christine Lesiak, director Suzie Martin and Canadian clowning icon Jan Henderson, who returns to the stage after a 25-year hiatus.

The sans dialogue plot follows a straight-arrow middle-aged daughter who returns home for her unconventional mother’s funeral. Past and present, nostalgia and real life collide in this physical comedy about mothers’ and daughters’ complex relationships.

The show runs Nov. 28 to Dec. 9 at the ATB Financial Arts Barns’ Backstage Theatre. For tickets visit



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