CriticalDance Forum

Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)
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Author:  ILOVENBOC [ Sun Nov 14, 2004 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

May I say that Karen Kain is one of the only dancers that the majority of Canadians know (if they are not submerged in the glorious world of ballet). I have infact heard radio commercials voiced by her for various ballets including "The Contract" and "The Nutcracker" (of course). She is helping publicity for NBOC and is also a main image for those donating towards both the National Ballet School and NBoC. :D

Author:  nbs boy [ Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

Michal Goldsberth,
I was wondering what you thought about 'The Contract' two years after its world premiere. This is my second time being in it so its hard to have a non-biased opinion on it. In your review, 2 years ago, you where strongly opposed the ballet. It's different, but very relevent to today's society. Isn't that what art is supposed to be? I am waiting for your thoughts...

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Thu Nov 25, 2004 5:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

Sorry but I have no opinion to offer because I exchanged my ‘Contract’ subscription ticket to see Giselle twice. I’m sure Kudelka made some changes to iron out the kinks the 2nd time around. I guess you could deem one change removing the intermission. There really is no appropriate place to have a break. I doubt I’d like it much better this time being forced to watch for 90 minutes straight. That’s a lot to expect of an audience.

<small>[ 25 November 2004, 06:30 PM: Message edited by: Michael Goldbarth ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Nov 27, 2004 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

Below is a most disturbing but certainly not surprising story about the Canadian government doling out 661 work visas to strippers-Just another example of the danger of crossing over the line of right and wrong. So the Canadian government has in effect fallen in bed with prostitution.

Canada Imports Strippers

Right now the National Ballet of Canada has a roster of 64 dancers according to their website. I’m sure they would love to get that figure up to 80 to perhaps dance a schedule covering all Four Seasons when they dance at their new home: The Four Seasons Centre. This will be difficult when government has their priorities totally out of wack. ;)

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Mar 12, 2005 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

The Dean of Canada’s Art Critics, William Littler, weighs in on Toronto’s new opera house, The Four Seasons Centre. I’m proud to report he agrees with me that the Four Seasons Centre lacks a certain ‘wow’ factor and does little to symbolize the greatness of Toronto as a city.

“As admirably practical a house as Jack Diamond appears to have designed for the Canadian Opera Company, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts-scheduled to open in September of 2006-is scarcely the kind of building to shoulder the responsibility of symbolizing a city’s greatness.
…Ticket prices will be even higher…the NBoC will be losing 1,000 seats…”
Of course, this is assuming you actually think Toronto is a great city. For me there are too many glass skyscrapers and it’s far too congested. I do believe the new opera house symbolizes exactly who we are. The house boasts a restrained design with an emphasis on functionality over style. I do hope they sprinkle on a little glitz.

Unfortunately, Toronto has failed to rekindle interest in ballet from the ‘Nureyev’ era. Though not very convenient, it would have been interesting to build the opera house on Toronto’s Centre Island or perhaps on the lakeshore. These locations lend themselves more to the creation of something spectacular to fire the imagination of theatre goers. Of course, the current location is very convenient for many and accessible via public transit. I just wish it sparkled a little more. Of course, cost was a factor.

Mr. Littler mentions Dresden’s Opera House along with the Sydney Opera House as shinning examples of symbolizing a city. Unfortunately, the article is not available via the web. You’ll have a pick up a copy of this Saturday’s Toronto Star.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

I certainly think Toronto is a great city, for it's easy atmosphere, its great success in harmonious, multicultural relations, its foremost role in N. America human rights and its outstanding lake side. Peter Ustinov called it "New York run by the Swiss". One of the few cities worldwide, apart from London and Tallinn, where I could envisage living.

I looked again at the tour of the centre (see above) - with its clean lines and, especially, its good sight lines, I'd swap it for London's Royal Opera House tomorrow. Deal Michael?

<small>[ 12 March 2005, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

In principle I agree with some of the above. The lakeside is beautiful but not as beautiful as it could be. For years politicians have been promising to beautify it. Promises, promises… As for the easy atmosphere, it’s not so much fun commuting from Stouffville to Toronto via Go Train and the TTC-Lots and lots of delays. Sure we are the Switzerland of North America. We have no choice with our toy soldier army! I would much rather live in Stratford Ontario, Gimmelwald Switzerland, or Salzburg Austria.

You must be reminiscing about the relatively pollution free Toronto of the 70s. The city of Toronto is being raped by Bay Street (Big Business). It glorifies ‘the one’ at the expense of the masses. You know what happens when you try to squeeze 10 pounds of fertilizer into a 5 pound bag? Some of it is going to fall out. We are overworked, underpaid, and the city is too small for the population it sustains. The transit system is falling part and so are the roads, and sadly so is our healthcare system and the care of our elderly and those of us less fortunate.

If you appreciate the arts, forget it. This is a hockey town first and foremost. What will happen once the excitement of the new opera house fades? You can’t compare the Royal Ontario Museum to the museums in Europe. Funding for the arts may one day stop all together. Think again, Stuart Sweeney! The price of ballet is going up. I could easily envision the top seats going for $200 in the year 2010. Unless there is more government funding or a sudden popularity in ballet, this new opera house could pose more of a problem for the National Ballet of Canada-than a positive. As I have written before in previous pages, there will be fewer seats and hence more performance dates and thus it will cost more to present and see ballet.

Is there enough interest in ballet in Toronto to support the costs involved presenting ballet at the new Four Seasons Centre? We can’t even see ballet for ALL 4 seasons! How can you call it the Four Seasons Centre if it doesn’t present ballet in the Fall, Winter, Spring, and SUMMER! Summer is the height of the tourist season in Toronto! I wish the NBoC would wake up from their Sleeping Beauty slumber and smell the money!

I also find the culture of the city much more ME than WE from the 70s. Too many people do a half-ass job for full pay. Too many people run red lights on the road and business. There are no rules. Personally, I’m sick of it. I get abused all day long in my job in the financial industry. Next time you see someone in a $1,000 Harry Rosen suit, imagine that very same person threatening a Client Service Representative and using profanity galore and to top it off screwing their client. That is the Toronto of today. If I win the lottery, I am out.

By the way, I’m sure those of us who are ballet/opera fans will love the new Opera House. The sightlines should be a 200% improvement over the Hummingbird Centre and so should the sound. My only concern is soundproofing the building from the noise outside of the building. There are streetcars, the subway, and traffic galore. Obviously, I’m not happy with my life.

<small>[ 12 March 2005, 11:34 AM: Message edited by: Michael Goldbarth ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Mar 12, 2005 12:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Four Seasons Centre (Toronto)

I decided to pay a virtual visit to the Royal Opera House and discovered the top seats go for $190 Canadian (if my currency conversion is correct). Ouch! I guess you don’t have much to be proud of in your country after Prince Harry’s swanky swastika fashion faux pas!

I know this may offend many people in the business world, but all I’m asking for is for justice to be served. There are so many scandals (companies, government, etc) in Canada and the USA; it’s difficult to have confidence in the system. People should be held accountable for their actions and stop finding a scapegoat. It’s very sad to see almost every segment of society try to cheat the system.

So Stuart, I’m too poor to visit the Royal Ballet Opera House. What are the sightlines like? Please do elaborate.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:04 am ]
Post subject: 

Build it and they will come! The NBoC’s new ballet house is coming along according to Martin Knelman of the Toronto Star.

Indeed, with only 2,000 seats (compared with more than 3,000 at the Hummingbird) the new house has the feel of a gently flowing jewel box, floating up through five graceful levels with a traditional horseshoe shape.

None of the seats is cursed by those familiar problems. In this house, you will never be sitting more than 40 metres from the stage. You'll never be squished under a sound-deadening concrete canopy. And your view will never be blocked by a railing.

…Acoustically, the challenge was that no noise leaks into the auditorium, R. Fraser Elliott Hall, despite its proximity to busy city streets and the University subway line.

Next comes a short history of concert hall acoustics theory, succinctly explained by Diamond at his most professorial.

The point: There are two kinds of noise — airborne and structure-borne — requiring two different solutions. Thick walls can eliminate type-one noise, but type-two noise calls for a higher-tech approach. In this case, rubber pads throughout the structure, along with physical gaps, eliminate the possibility of noise transference.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Jun 11, 2005 6:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

I’m confident the Four Seasons Centre will provide a much better ballet viewing AND listening experience. I just wish the building itself would place its mark on Toronto similar to the Sydney Opera House.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:13 am ]
Post subject: 

I can understand your sentiments, Michael. But to be honest, no arts building from the past half-century places its mark like Sydney Opera House.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Jun 12, 2005 10:27 am ]
Post subject: 

That’s the problem with my entire life; I always shoot for the stars when everyone around me is a 9 to 5er clock puncher! I need to find some people in my life who will shoot for the stars with me. I’m surrounded by losers-People who are more than happy to accept 2nd or should I say 3rd best. :cry:

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Jul 03, 2005 10:41 am ]
Post subject: 

Architecture and Urban Affairs critic, Christopher Hume, flushed all subtleties down the toilet letting Toronto Star readers know exactly how he feels about Toronto’s new opera house!

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:53 am ]
Post subject: 

I fear the NBoC will price themselves out of the market with the move to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. As discussed, the costs of presenting ballet will go up due to the new home, more performance dates, as well as more dancers to pay. Right now the single seats range in price from $39 to $130. Single tickets to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs range in price from $37 to $182! Here’s my prediction, the National will charge a nice round figure of 50 clams for the low end seats when the Four Seasons opens for the 2006/2007 season and the top seats will go for a nice fat round figure of $150! Gulp! Imagine coughing up $150 to see ‘the contract!’ Of course, seasons tickets will be goosed up as well! Below is what I see 6 Evening Performances costing:

# 1. $899.50 (Exclusive seating only available to subscribers and those who donate)
# 2. $799.50
# 3. $659.50
# 4. $549.99
# 5. $399.50
# 6. $329.50
# 7. $299.50
# 8. $199.50 (Oxygen mask not included)

Start saving up! I wonder how much fans will donate if seats go up this much? Donations help keep prices down. Goose ticket prices too much and many who donate may stop or drop down a level or 2 or 3. So Karen, what will ticket prices look like at our new venue?

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:53 am ]
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William Littler reminisces fondly of Munich’s National Theatre…

As Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts edges inexorably toward its official September 2006 opening, the time is fast approaching when we shall be able to judge for ourselves whether its architect, Jack Diamond, has successfully addressed our imaginations as well as the Canadian Opera Company's and the National Ballet of Canada’s physical needs.

Will it live up to your imagination?

And among those visited houses, none elicited more admiration from such key colleagues as Canadian Opera Company general director Richard Bradshaw as Munich’s National theatre, home of the Bavarian State Opera.

Take a free tour of a real opera house!

Sir Peter Jonas has been intendant (General Director) of the Bavarian State Opera since 1993 and he told me during the festival that every time he enters his box and looks around the elegant, chandelier-lit auditorium, he still gets a lump in his throat. The house is that beautiful.

Will you get a lump in your throat at the Four Seasons?

Yes you will! When you see the price of your ticket!

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