Billed as eclectic, there’s more than a little truth in the advertising for The Registry Theatre’s “One Night Only” series, which kicks off Friday night with L’Accordéoniste.
Take a much-travelled mezzo-soprano, a celebrated pianist and a young accordion player, add music from a variety of periods and styles, throw in a mixture of languages, and you definitely have something worthy of the label eclectic.
L’Accordeoniste is a blend of sensual instrumental sounds melded to the distinct mezzo-soprano voice, from German and French cabaret repertoire to Neapolitan songs and the Latin Tango.
It’s a collaboration of mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber (Paris Opera, English National Opera, New York City Opera), pianist Peter Tiefenbach (Isabel Bayrakdarian, Mary Lou Fallis, CBC host) and accordionist Mary-Lou Vetere (currently finishing a groundbreaking book on late 19th century opera, From Verdi to Verismo).
At the intimate Registry Theatre, L’Accordéoniste transports you to the smoky cabarets of Berlin, the dance halls of Paris, the sunny shores of Naples and the tango dens of Argentina. L’Accordéoniste is further enhanced by the addition of K-W Symphony musicians Julie Baumgartel on violin and percussionist Carol Bauman who, together with L’Accordéoniste, form the New Berlin Ensemble.
If you can’t make the Sept. 11 show – it is short notice, after all – the theatre presents something completely different, if no less eclectic, on Sept. 17: Nosferatu & Man With a Camera, a screening of the silent film classics with live music accompaniment.
Twilight may be getting all the vampire buzz today, but Nosferatu got that ball rolling decades ago.
The 1922 German classic will be screened by the VOC Silent Film Harmonic, who will perform live musical accompaniment, as well as to the 1929 Soviet masterpiece Man with a Movie Camera.
The VOC Silent Film Harmonic, under the direction of Ted Harms, is a group dedicated to performing original soundtracks to silent movies. The group is inspired by the way most silent movies were originally presented, by taking themes and using them as the basis for improvisation.
“My mother used to get silent films from the library and play them for my birthdays; I always thought there was something missing – music,” said Harms, who plays the bass.
As he developed his musical improv skills, Harms explained, accompanying silent films seemed like an ideal fit.
Previous VOC performances have met good local response. Last fall, they played to cult Canadian director Guy Maddin’s modern silent feature Cowards Bend the Knee at the Registry, Guelph’s SharpCuts Festival and Toronto’s NOW Lounge.
“The VOC Silent Film Harmonic presented one of the most dynamic and creative events I have had the privilege to offer at The Registry Theatre,” said director of programming Lawrence McNaught of Cowards Bend the Knee.
Nosferatu is the classic vampire movie. A German real estate agent travels to Transylvania to help Count Dracula arrange the purchase of a new house. The Count is a vampire needing blood to survive – the real estate agent, his fiancée and the entire town of Bremen is put in peril. Man with a Movie Camera is an actor-less documentary, an artistic interpretation of a ‘day in the life’ of Odessa, one of Ukraine’s major cities. The film is famous for its creative and inventive camera and editing techniques.
Tickets for L’Accordéoniste, which launches the sixth season of The Registry Theatre’s “One Night Only” series, are $25, available at Centre In The Square box office by calling 519-578-1570 or online at www.centre-square.com. Tickets for Nosferatu & Man With a Camera are $15, or $10 with a donation to the food bank, and are available only at the door.