Trio Arabica Joins Tafelmusik For TALES OF TWO CITIES

Trio Arabica Joins Tafelmusik For TALES OF TWO CITIES

Tafelmusik's groundbreaking multimedia fusion of Saxon and Arabic music, Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House, returns to Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre under the direction of Elisa Citterio from February 21 to 24, 2019, before embarking on a six-city tour of the United States.

Inspired by the opulent world of 18th-century Saxon and Syrian coffee houses, Tales of Two Cities is performed entirely from memory by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra with narration by actor Alon Nashman. In addition to music by European baroque composers such as Telemann, Handel, and Bach, audiences will hear classical Arabic music performed by Trio Arabica-Maryem Tollar, voice and qanun; Demetri Petsalakis, oud; and Naghmeh Farahmand, percussion. Complete program details are available at

Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House was conceived, programmed, and scripted by Tafelmusik's double bassist since 1979, Alison Mackay, who retires as a core orchestra member at the end of the current season. This immersive multimedia program received rapturous critical acclaim at its May 2016 Toronto concert premiere and was named Best Concert of 2016 by the Spanish classical music magazine Tales of Two Cities was filmed before a live audience in 2017 at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and is available on DVD and CD. Audience members are invited to join Alison Mackay and special guests for a free
pre-concert chat one hour before each performance. From February 27 to March 11, 2019, Tafelmusik and Trio Arabica take Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House to six U.S. cities. The tour culminates in Los Angeles with a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, part of the LA Philharmonic's centennial season. Tales of Two Cities will also be seen in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre on March 26, 2019.

Tafelmusik's creative multimedia performances have delighted critics and audiences alike, and Tales of Two Cities is no exception. "Playing at the peak of their form for two hours, having memorized the entire concert ... supported by text, images and a clever storyline, it's no wonder so many of Mackay's creations have been performed for audiences around the world - there's really nothing like them" (The Globe and Mail).

Stage direction for Tales of Two Cities is by Marshall Pynkoski, co-artistic director of Opera Atelier. Production design is by Glenn Davidson, and projections are designed by Raha Javanfar.

Tales of Two Cities was developed in a residency at Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts at Queen's University in Kingston, and in collaboration with the Aga Khan Museum. It is generously supported by The Pluralism Fund and by a gift from an anonymous benefactor. iA Securities is a Concert Sponsor for the February 21-24, 2019 performances.

Tafelmusik U. S. Tour itinerary | Feb 28 to March 10, 2019:

Feb 28, 2019 | State College, PA |Schwab Auditorium, Penn State University

Mar 4, 2019 | Boulder, CO | Macky Auditorium Concert Hall, University of Colorado

Mar 6, 2019 | Denver, CO | Gates Hall, University of Denver

Mar 8, 2019 | Stanford, CA | Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University

Mar 9, 2019 | Santa Barbara, CA | Lobero Theatre

Mar 10, 2019 | Los Angeles, CA | Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

Trio Arabica (also known as Al Qahwa Ensemble) features Maryem Tollar on vocals, qanun, and percussion; Demetri Petsakalis on oud; and Naghmeh Farahmand on percussion. They perform traditional songs from Arabic classical and popular repertoire, including folk songs from Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, and songs from the Muwashah tradition, where devotional poetry is set to exquisite melodies and hypnotic rhythms which Maryem learned in Aleppo, Syria.

Alon Nashman is a performer, director, and creator of theatre. He is co-creator of Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music (Luminato), Hirsch (Stratford Festival), and Kafka and Son (World Stage). Alon directed Alphonse (Theatre Direct) and The Snow Queen (for string quartet and narrator, Banff Centre). Under the banner of THEATURTLE, Alon's work has been seen in New York, London, Prague, Germany, South Africa's National Arts Festival, Iceland's National Theatre, Vancouver's Chutzpah Festival, Winnipeg's RMTC, Victoria's UNO FEST, Ottawa Chamberfest, Taiwan's World Stage Design Festival, and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has appeared as an actor on stages across Canada.

Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir is one of the world's leading period ensembles and Canada's most-toured orchestra. Tafelmusik engages Toronto audiences with an annual season of more than 80 concerts in diverse venues across the city, as well as national and international audiences through an extensive schedule of tours and critically acclaimed recordings. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. Tafelmusik also seeks to transport audiences to the baroque and classical periods through adventurous cross-cultural collaborations, on stage with Toronto's Opera Atelier, and underground at its Haus Musik series. The orchestra's musicians share their knowledge and experience through artist training initiatives such as the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer and Winter Institutes. Tafelmusik's catalogue of award-winning recordings on the SONY, CBC Records, Analekta, and Tafelmusik Media labels have garnered nine JUNO Awards and numerous other recording prizes. Jeanne Lamon continues her association with Tafelmusik as Music Director Emerita.
Trio Arabica Joins Tafelmusik For TALES OF TWO CITIES


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