Monday, April 6, 2015

Requiem for Free Speech at Toronto Symphony

I have fond memories of the TSO. For a couple of years back when me and the Bride were relative newly-weds we used to subscribe to a concert series at Roy Thompson Hall. Meyer's Deli was like half a block up the street, so we had the perfect date night combo; best chicken dinner in town and then a couple of hours of very pleasant classical music courtesy of Andrew Davis and the TSO.

We lucked out with a pair of really sweet chairs just off the aisle in the first row of the balcony above the stage. You were literally so close to the action you could read the sheet music on the music stands. Plus, during the closing bars of the first half you could duck out of your seat and beat the rush to the bar for a couple of brandies.

So after a couple of seasons kids came along and then without even noticing, "date night" got lost in the minutia of life, and I haven't been back there for a good thirty years.

But I still miss those days, and I follow the ups and downs of the TSO with some interest. I was therefore dismayed to see the furore that's erupted over the cancellation of concerts by Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa.

Seems that Lisitsa is one of the many millions of Ukrainians who aren't all gushy about the Nuland-Pyatt putsch foisted on them last year, and she's had the bad manners to express those sentiments in public.

That's simply too much for the folks at the Canadian-Ukrainian Congress, who seem to wield a wildly inappropriate amount of clout in this country. They piled on the political pressure and before you know it the weasels in TSO management cancelled the concerts.

That's how we roll here in Canada in 2015.

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