Tafelmusik: Tales of Two Cities

97 min.

Inspired by the colourful, opulent world of 18th-century Saxon and Syrian coffee houses, Tales of Two Cities is a stunning, multimedia Tafelmusik concert conceived, programmed, and scripted by the orchestra’s double bassist Alison Mackay. The program premiered to critical acclaim in May 2016, and was then filmed before a live audience at the Aga Khan Museum in December 2016.

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 see and hear classical Arabic music performed by guest ensemble Trio Arabica — Maryem Tollar, voice and qanun; Demetri Petsalakis, oud; and Naghmeh Farahmand, percussion — music that may well have been heard in the coffee houses of Damascus.

Mackay and her creative team employ theatrical sets, lighting design, scripted text, and spectacular projected images to create the kind of immersive experience for which Tafelmusik is world-renowned. Original stage direction for Tales of Two Cities is by Marshall Pynkoski, production design is by Glenn Davidson, and projections are designed by Raha Javanfar.

Tales of Two Cities was developed in partnership with Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, in collaboration with the Aga Khan Museum, and is generously supported by The Pluralism Fund and by a gift from an anonymous benefactor.

Tafelmusik: Tales of Two Cities