Showing posts from 2009

Merry Christmas from Beautiful Feet blog

Handmaiden, copyright 2006 V.Wells

Vanessa Wells on Exhibit

Vanessa Wells is pleased to announce that she has been included in ECVA's latest exhibition Full of Grace. To see her work and that of her fellow Anglican artists, click here.

Opera Atelier's production of Iphigénie en Tauride
Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artists: Soprano Peggy Kriha Dye (centre) as Iphigénie with Artists of Atelier Ballet As usual, the latest production by Opera Atelier is satisfying. Narratively, it fulfills Ruby Mercer's descriptors for opera: love, sex and violence put to good music! Sensorily, it addresses all the senses, right down to the rustle of fabric, some rows back; visually, it is texturally full. If you aren't familiar with baroque opera and baroque arts in general, it is extremely stylized and carefully crafted. I felt Iphigenie en Tauride attained this most successfully in the fourth act. As usual, the cast is superb, including the Atelier Ballet, accompanied by Tafelmusik's Orchestra and Chamber Choir. The set was beautiful, albeit a bit anachronistic with the altar triptych, since the latter was a medieval church invention, at best based on the Roman writing tablets....but perhaps that's me just being too anal…
Opera Atelier's production of Iphigénie en Tauride
Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artists: Tenor Kresimir Spicer as Oreste and soprano Peggy Kriha Dye as Iphigénie

It's Opera Atelier Season Again!

Photo: Bruce Zinger / Artist: Jack RennieOpera Atelier's production of Iphigénie en Tauride

Christoph Willibald Gluck
Iphigénie en Tauride
Ticket Information
Single Ticket prices
Section AA: $135.00 Section A: $125.00 Section BB: $ 99.00 Section B: $ 79.00 Section C: $ 65.00 Section D: $ 35.00
Ways to purchase tickets:
By phone: (416) 872-5555 Online: Ticketmaster In person: Elgin Theatre Box Office, 189 Yonge St. (Yonge & Queen) for more info go to

copyright V.Wells 2009 not for unauthorized distribution/posting


Just had the 20 000th hit on Beautiful Feet!

In(ner) Activity

Current News and Happenings
The Good Fight presents: Our theme of In(ner)Activity is a play on the overall theme of Chicago Artists Month - Interactivity. In(ner)Activity is a better description of the common bond we have, the creative spark that connects us and moves us forward. We are having an exhibition of local visual artists from many backgrounds and disciplines connected by that one thing - Light. As Christians we have a common source from which we explore our faith, doubts, fears and triumphs. Each one has a spark of creative brilliance and by coming together we will shine an even brighter. This little Light o' mine is about encouraging artists to unveil their God-given brilliance despite the obstacles of poor finances, community, lack of training and limited access to technology. Some of the artists that will be presenting are:
Jason Stebbings - 3D/furniture & graphics
Raquel Soto - Author & motivational speaker
Hector E. Soto - Fine artist
Monica Kass Rogers - Illustr…
fab piano recital------------saturday, august 29th 09: 7:30pm-9:30pm including intermission. reception: 9:30-10 ish. Victoria Chapel, 2nd Floor, Room 213, Victoria College Building, 91 Charles Street West, Toronto (outside of Museum station) PROGRAM---------Bach Italian Concerto; Beethoven Sonata "Waldstein"; Brahms Op.118 #1-6; Brahms Duet: Hungarian Dances #1, 3, 4, 6; Liszt "Un Sospiro"; Schumann Fantasiestucke Op.12 #1-4; Prokofiev Sonata No.3

more from

Lennox Contemporary in Toronto. 12 Ossington Avenue, Toronto (416) 924-7964

Art AND Coffee--all riiiiggghht

from A few weeks ago, Sydney, Australia celebrated the 12th annual Rocks Aroma festival, an event that attracted some 100,000 people and showcased coffee from around the world.
As part of the celebration, 3604 cups of coffee–each filled with different amounts of cream to create differing shades of brown–were used to create a giant image of the Mona Lisa.

Highly Favoured!

I tried this today and it is very cool: Daily Prayer for your mp3 Player from Pray-as-You-Go, a British Jesuit project.
From the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs, Rome. © Garry Glowacki, 2009.

La Bruschetta Restaurant

I was recently taken to dinner at La Bruschetta Restaurant at 1317 St. Clair Ave. W. between Dufferin and Lansdowne. I've eaten at some pretty upscale Italian restaurants in this city but this is a notable place both in terms of cuisine and atmosphere. Silvia Piantoni welcomed us warmly--not as 'clients' but as people. She discussed the menu in a way that showed her love of the food, not just as today's fare. And, yes, the eponymous appetizer was fantastic! We took her advice and had the insalata with mushrooms, gorgonzola and fresh figs--the latter a first for me, and I appreciated that the cheese did not overpower the salad. My companion marveled over his flaky black cod and I enjoyed the best penne (homemade) arrabiata I've ever had. A pino grigio was served properly chilled not cold, which was a refreshing change. We shared a torta (della) nonna, a light ending to a perfect meal. I hadn't intended to blog about this Umbrian gem, but my friend was right in …

For All you Fellow Latinists

from Eternally Cool Blog on Facebook
"Unfolding" CD release concert Sunday July 12th 8:00pm admission $8 El Mocambo (1st floor) 464 Spadina Ave Tel: (416) 777-1777 Composer-pianist John Farah performs works from his new CD "Unfolding" on piano, rhodes and electronics, fusing contemporary composition with electronica.presented by John Farah and Dross:tik Records
from Eternally Cool Blog: Pope Sergius on the Street; it’s an image from Piazza Magione in Palermo depicting Pope Sergius (reigned 687-701), the first Pope born in Palermo. By street artists Sten and Lex.

Kids' Summer Arts Camps

They will be in Guelph, at Crimea Street Studio. 4 sessions: Fantastic Fantasy July 6-10. Ages: 8-10... Passion for Painting July 13-17. Ages: 11-13...Making Faces August 17-21. Ages: 8-10...Bust-it-open Bookworks August 24-28. Ages: 11-13
Run by artist Phil Irish, profiled below. For more info contact him via www.philirish.comor on Facebook.

Film Recom

DAKOTA, a quirky Canadian film which you know is refreshingly different, but ya don't realize what it is until they mention toonies! Good fun, not too heavy AND it's got a couple of tracks by Royal Wood whom I've plugged here previously.

Interview with Scott Belluz, The Shadow

Scott Belluz, Countertenor © V.Wells 2009

I had a meet-up after the press night for Tapestry’s The Shadow with that role’s artist, countertenor Scott Belluz. We had an engaging conversation about new opera works, music education and his performance in this new opera by Omar Daniel and Alex Poch-Goldin. [What follows is my paraphrase of our discussion and any errors or omissions are entirely mea culpa.]

I commented that I knew a teenager who was totally hooked on Tapestry Opera, and wondered what was the appeal of this company that it could be considered a cool entertainment option for the partying demographic. Scott felt that it was twofold in nature. The subject matter of Tapestry’s productions is very current which is atypical of what we usually think of as opera, so the content is automatically appealing. He also pointed out that the youth of the composers and librettists and performers involved also contributes to a common, current worldview, and the material is therefore very much…

Runs to May 30th only

Scott Belluz (countertenor) as The Shadow; photo © Michael Cooper, CooperShoots
There must be something in the water here: Canada turns out a lot of outstanding opera productions and stars, and thank God for that. Last night I had the pleasure of seeing another homegrown operatic world premiere: The Shadow presented by Tapestry New Opera Works. Part thriller, part cautionary tale, this strong piece was composed by Omar Daniel and written by Alex Poch-Goldin (see details in last week's post, below). I say strong because the work itself really doesn't need any propping up by external elements--although the very fine cast and well-appointed visuals certainly heightened the dramatic effects. Might as well accuse me now of partiality because this is yet another rave review of a Tapestry project. This is a consummately professional company whose studio members always deliver: there's never Over The Top acting or bad props or distracting shortcuts. These touches allow us to focus o…


"Enter a world of duplicity in which a humble postman assumes the identity
of a wealthy suitor to win a woman’s love. Determined to maintain the
ruse at all costs, he is haunted by the Shadow as he spirals deeper into
deception. Set in Old Barcelona, Alex Poch-Goldin and Omar Daniel
have created a world premiere opera full of intrigue, desire and deception.
Director Tom Diamond and Music Director Wayne Strongman lead a stellar
cast including baritone Peter McGillivray as Raoul, soprano Carla Huhtanen as Allegra and a comic turn by tenor Keith Klassen as the waiter. Renowned Canadian baritone Theodore Baerg makes his TapestryNew Opera Worksdebut as the Don and Allegra’s father and countertenor Scott Belluz is The Shadow.
Written by Alex Poch-Goldi, , Composed by Omar Daniel, Director Tom Diamond, Music Director Wayne Strongman, Set & Costume Designer Camellia Koo, Lighting Designer Robert Thomson, Stage Manager Isolde Pleasants-Faulkner, Assistant Stage Manager Gerry Egan
Carla Hu…


SYMPOSIUM ON THE ARTS: PERSPECTIVES AND PRACTICES FOR CHRISTIAN ARTISTS Featuring Lyann Purcell Jennings and featured performance by Canadian Baritone Sung Chung SATURDAY MAY 23 12:30-4:00 41 BRITAIN ST $15 GRACE CENTRE FOR THE ARTS please register at

movie recoms

PRIEST (1994 with Linus Roache--yes, as in dad William Roache of Coro) RIVER'S EDGE (1986 with our own Keanu Reeves; Crispin Glover is excellent as the stoner with a heart too).

I Furiosi Returns ~ How Decadent!

I FURIOSI Baroque Ensemble is one of the world's most innovative Baroque ensembles, comprised of four of Canada's leading early music specialists: soprano Gabrielle McLaughlin, violinists Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman, and cellist/gambist Felix Deak. DECADENCE
Saturday May 16, 2009 8:00
Calvin Presbyterian Church 26 Delisle Ave Toronto $20 & $10, at the door
Guests: Olivier Fortin, harpsichord; Edward Reifel, percussion
SILENT AUCTION before the show and at intermission!
I FURIOSI's new disc CRAZY (on the Dorian label) will be available for purchase at the concert.
photo: Paula Wilson and Cylla von Tiedemann

New Exhibition by Phil Irish!

Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery
101 Queen Street North
Kitchener, Ontario
May 15 - July 5, 2009.
Public Reception: May 22, 7-9 pm.
Curated by Allan Harding MacKay

but what about the trees???


Latin and Drag?

ck out this link to a film about Eleanor Roosevelt in which Sean Penn stars........also a new film about early church martyrdom done in lingua latina! euge!!!

Not Tom Hanks~

"UPCOMING EVENTS by Esprit Orchestra:
Friday, May 1, 2009 Demon
Along with presenting two of Esprit's outstanding players in soloist roles, Esprit highlights this concert with a welcome to the Nathaniel Dett Chorale for a fanciful Afro-Latin collaboration. The featuring of two World Premieres makes this event a powerful gala finale to Esprit's season. Saidôki (Demon), Maki Ishii's concerto for percussion and orchestra, strides two musical worlds in multi-layered time and sonic textures. Combining Western compositional methods with elements of Japanese traditional music, the late Japanese composer's piece also calls for the cidelo, a rare and unusual instrument created by his friend, metal sculptor Kazuo Harada. Cidelos are octagonal or rectangular metal boxes with ornate artistic cuts in their top surfaces creating metal sections, that, when struck, create vivid colours and a rich array of pitches. Esprit member Ryan Scott, featured as soloist, will play a set of t…
Photo: Bruce Zinger / Peggy Kriha Dye & Michael Maniaci Opera Atelier's production of The Coronation of Poppea OMG, I don't know where to start, as usual with Opera Atelier. Their production of Monteverdi's Coronation of Poppea is so spectacular--every season of OA's success brings larger corporate sponsorship and excellent subscription results, but really they do know how to put it on.... Last night I was treated to their latest offering; and I do love Monteverdi so....Okay, on to the kudos: loved the deus ex machina thing going on; LOVED the fact that this production brought back a bit more of the baroque stylized gesturing; the monochromatic layering of the sets, stage dressings and costumes in the amorous colour of red was very a propos; I continue to appreciate the subdued lighting (which I assume is intended to mimic the original candlelit productions); basically the whole thing was one big Big O, if you'll pardon the expression, although that may suit the…


Photo: Bruce Zinger / Meredith Hall & Laird Mackintosh Opera Atelier's production of The Coronation of Poppea THANK GOD it's OA season again. Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea is the current offering by Opera Atelier, running April 25, 28, 29 and May 1 & 2 at 7:30pm, and April 26 at 3:00pm at the Elgin, $30+. We are blessed to have Michael Maniaci back (as Nero), as well as Peggy Kriha Dye (Poppea), Olivier Laquerre (Ottone), Carla Huhtanen (Drusilla) and other top drawer performers. They are joined by artists of Atelier Ballet and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir under David Fallis. Despite all this talent, Maniaci is worth the price of the ticket alone if you ask me.Various ticket packages and further info are available at 416 872 5555 or at or .

once in a while the cbc is still interesting

Image has an interesting article about Grey Gardens. didja know that money breeds eccentricity? it's true.

Opera to Go!

Engage...With provocative, often hilarious bite-sized operas. Come inside the making of opera today.
The Virgin Charlie
Taylor Graham, librettist / William Rowson, composer An unexpected recipient bears an immense responsibility.
One Lump or Two
Sandy Pool, librettist / Glenn James, composer Arsenic and Old Lace meets Hitchcock. Where is that butler, anyway?
My Mother's Ring
Marcia Johson, librettist / Stephen Andrew Taylor, composer A young man, a psychiatrist, and two mysterious deaths.
The Perfect Screw
Alexis Diamond, librettist / Abigail Richardson, composerWill it be Robertson or Phillips? What’s a girl to do?
" of the most anticipated events of the musical year...This program is not to be missed." ...Paula Citron, Classical 96.3 FM
Director, Tom Diamond
Music Director, Wayne Strongman
Scott Belluz,Sally Dibblee,Keith Klassen,Peter McGillivray,Krisztina Szabó with Chamber Orchestra
Set & Costume Designer, Julia Tribe
*March 26 at 8pm: Press Opening &…

Artists at the Project

Chickadee by JJ Lee
I attended this weekend; it was a showcase for 150+ artists at the Liberty Grand, by the One of a Kind people. Lots of great new stuff--o that I had dreamt up some of it!--including two friends of Beautiful Feet. OCAD Instructor JJ Lee showed me her gorgeous paint and collage encaustics. Phil Irish, who has taught at the AGO, explained some of the process behind his series about place and personal experiences. I'll continue to highlight their shows as they occur.

Esprit Orchestra

Thursday, March 26, 2009 Brand New and Pre-Loved 8 pm concert; 7:15 pm pre-concert talk Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East, Toronto Tickets: 416-366-7723 / 1-800-708-6754 Buy online: click here
BRUCE MATHER, Hommage a John Hawkins* ANDREW STANILAND, Big Bang!* MAYKE NAS, La Belle Chocolatiere OMAR DANIEL, Trope
Alex Pauk - conductor, Aiyun Huang - percussion
Brand New and Pre-Loved is a concert covering a broad spectrum of compositional intent including a world premiere tribute to a late, highly respected composer, a brand new percussion concerto featuring a spectacular soloist and celebrating the International Year of Astronomy, a charming musical bon bon from Holland and a piece previously commissioned and premiered by Esprit. Brand New and Pre-Loved promises to be moving, meaningful and adventurous musical evening.

shakespeare does not suck

Today my students were treated to a demonstration and workshop on Shakespeare and Elizabethan drama by Shakespeare in Action, a nonprofit educational outfit under artistic director Michael Kelly. We enjoyed the talents of Xuan Fraser, Adam Seybold and Kate Fenton and then had extensive language and dramatic tutoring by Mr. Kelly. This group held the attention of students from grades 6 through 12, and even seasoned Shakespeare students learned much. Thus, I can heartily recommend Suddenly Shakespeare which runs during March break through the TPL (see link for details). It's an hour-long performance (with much more) of highlights from the Bard that are sure to amuse the young 'uns. Well worth the cashola. And yay! entertainment that is not passive, puerile or prepackaged!
Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) is a young girl who discovers a mysterious door in her new home that leads to an alternate world in the film Coraline. (Focus Features Films). Photo courtesy of
I think I want to see this. Comments anyone?

somebody's on acid

i dunno. i just don't get the outdoor thing at the best of times.....
from Sympatico MSN Real Estate

pretty darn funny (unless you're the webmaster...)

"wholly ugly
Ugly religious websites have a special place in my heart. I'm rather ecumenical in that regard. One of the things that unites all religious people, UCC, Lutheran, RC, Moslem, Jewish, Buddhist, is our celebration of all that's ugly in life and our commitment to sharing it on the web. If you should find an ugly patch of the web that is particularly stirring for you, I invite you to share it with me. You'll find new sites posted here twice a week."
The Distillery District . 55 Mill Street . Case Goods Warehouse . Building 74 . Studio 306. Toronto, ON M5A 3C4 416 367 1800 . info
Last night I learned a lot about dance.
I hadn't been to much contemporary dance for about a decade (save the National Ballet's Rooster last year), but I landed in a great place to reacquaint myself with it.
60 dances in 60 minutes delivered. I was surprised at how apparently disparate elements could be drawn into a movement piece, particulary with great humour--not only the audience but also the company had fun. If you feel up to speed on contemporary from watching So You Think You Can Dance, treat yourself to it live: there was an energy in the room that was engaging, even to the relative neophytes like me. I was also struck by the physical strength of the five dancers, which you can't always appreciate in a larger performance space. I certainly was made more conscious of time and our interaction with it, reinforced by the cyclical elements of the choreography--and who'd have thought water, tickling and shepherd's pie would accomplish that??? By the end of the per…

Another Whack Film

Pi (as in 3.14....)is a decade-old film by Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky, which is a pseudo thriller/scifi/psychological film that dabbles in Kabbalistic mysticism, mathematical theory and theology, and migraine-racked pscyhotic behaviour. Filmed in grainy black and white, this is one INTENSE film. Think A Beautiful Mind gone Jewish and (even more) paranoid. But it had me completely riveted the whole time. Another one not for the faint of heart, but very cool for the true pscyhological film junkies!

"No watches allowed"

Performances of this world premiere are at 8pm with a 3pm matinee on the 14th. Tickets are $32-38 and are available through 416 973-4000 or You can also see more at .

New Artist (to me)

Thanks to the Rev. Greg Carpenter, I have learned about exciting new Christian art!!!!! Brit Ian Pollock has several cool series on his website: Miracles and Parables 2000, Testament 2004...this stuff is awesome. Above is Man with the Unclean Spirit.


But what to those who find?
Ah, this nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus,
What it is none but his lovers know.

Edward Caswell, tr. 1814-1878

"It's What's on the Inside that Counts"

I am going to tell you about one of the weirdest but most interesting pieces I have run into lately: REPO! The Genetic Opera. This is a piece that can garner lots of moralizing and tut-tuting due to its gore, but I ask you to read to the end before dismissing this. I'm glad I didn't dismiss it out of hand: I absolutely hate gorey stuff and will not watch horror flick commercials, let alone the movies. But listen.
Repo! The Genetic Opera is the creation of two Canadjyun boys, Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich who have put together a movie of their long-developed eponymous stage play. It is attractive on many levels, even if you don't want to watch disembowellment (more on that later). Here's the deal:
GeneCo is a company that will give a postapocalyptic society necessary (or just fashionable) organ transplants OAC; that is, you have to pay up or they will repossess them. This film is presented through various media: comics, animation, CGI (cell phones of the future are co…


*Just For Fun

My Prayer for Epiphany and the New Year

Edward Hicks

A Heads Up

FYI, there are going to be some new, edgy and unique arts items listed here this year-stay tuned via RSS or your favourites folder to keep up to date.