Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //
Title
The Pilgrim Soul
Producer
Phillip Addis, Emily Hamper
Venue
Enoch Turner Schoolhouse
City
Toronto
Review Date
Friday, February 19, 2016

Great art can break out anywhere, any time. As it did on Friday night in the rather unlikely venue of the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, courtesy of The Canadian Art Song project. The chapel in the restored schoolhouse resonated (sometimes a little too powerfully) with greatness, as baritone Phillip Addis and accompanist (and partner) Emily Hamper provided a stunning, powerful evening of song, based on the theme of The Pilgrim Soul.

Phil Addis last appeared in Toronto in Barbara Monk Feldman's Pyramus and Thisbe, and is performing regularly around the world, but the overwhelming beauty and power of his silky, yet effective, baritone has seldom been heard to greater effect. Both Addis and Hamper were battling illness, we were told, and Phil's glassy-eyed, otherworldly concentration was testament to his artistic dedication and gutsiness. Despite his illness, Addis's voice provided beauty and interest in all its ranges, from its deep, dark bottom register to the full-voiced, ringing top.

The Addis/Hamper program was an intriguing mix of Canadian and non-Canadian repertoire, with an arc and shape based on its theme that gave an extra added dimension to the program. A beautiful first half began with a setting by Canadian Chester Duncan of a poem by A. E. Housman, and ended with a lovely three-part song cycle In Search of Eldorado by Torontonian Larysa Kuzmenko, to poetry of Poe.

Story continues below advertisement

In between the two was a superb, grief-filled rendering of Gustav Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer, a bittersweet journey between elation and despair that portrays the inner turmoil of a wandering emotional soul, torn between love of the world, and the loss of a personal love. Addis was powerful and expressive in the four songs, moving back and forth between its emotional poles skillfully, and Hamper provided Addis with sympathetic and pointed accompaniment to accentuate and complement his performance.

But nothing in the first half of the concert, as excellent as it was, could prepare us for the extraordinary tour de force of the second half, Addis's hypnotic, dramatic, wrenching reading of Domenick Argento's The Andrée Expedition. The Andrée Expedition, in keeping with the Pilgrim Soul theme, is a mini-opera for a single voice that tells the tale of an ill-fated nineteenth-century Swedish attempt to navigate a hot-air balloon over the North Pole, ending in unspeakable tragedy, and told entirely though the letters and notebooks of the expedition's three members, discovered 35 years after their deaths. For the 40 minutes plus of Argento's drama, Addis was mesmerizing, alternately joyous, buoyant, fearful and eventually despairing as the expedition meets its cold, inevitable end. Hamper was also at her best in illuminating the many moods and tone pictures of the cycle, from the chill of the ice and the air to the depiction of elation and hopelessness contained in the texts Argento chose for his piece. There we were, ostensibly in this restored Toronto schoolhouse, some of us sipping on wine and eating munchies (supplied by the Canadian Art Song Project), but, in fact, due to the power of Addis's art, feeling our bones being chilled, our idealism turning to despair, our lives petering out in sickness and gloom, as surely as the doomed Andrée, Fraenkel and Strindberg.

It's becoming a commonplace for me to note, I discover, the excellence of the performances I review in Toronto's classical scene, whether at Roy Thomson Hall, the Four Seasons Centre, or the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse. When performers of the calibre of a Phil Addis and Emily Hamper are what we can expect as routine fare in this city, then the "routine" has taken on a new meaning altogether.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies