The Genteel
April 22, 2021

Karen Lin

On the final night of LG Fashion Week in Toronto, over 1,000 budding young philanthropists made up of opera lovers, fashion fiends, and socialites, gathered at the landmark Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for Operanation: A Muse Ball. All the best elements of Opera were glorified: costume, set, drama, and music. But as the night progressed, a mystery loomed in the back of my mind. Yes, Opera inspired this creative endeavour, this fabulous Muse Ball, but I began to think that our main attraction became merely a wallflower muse.

By Karen Lin

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Karen Lin

Toronto Canada

Karen Lin writes for The Genteel from Toronto the Good. A one-time karaoke champion and acclaimed daydreamer, she is thrilled to bring you new tidings from the inspiring world of classical music and architecture.  Follow her on Twitter @karenoke.  

There are icons who go in and out of fashion, and then there is Glenn Gould. Although he is best known for his inimitable piano talent as a classical musician, he reigns as one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century for his daring bravado, visionary thinking and intrinsically unique personal style. In a video montage, Karen Lin examines The Gould Standard and its striking influence on menswear this season. 

"Virtuosos becoming a dime a dozen" was the headline of a recent article by Anthony Tommasini, chief classical music critic of The New York Times.  With classical music already facing its share of challenges, including declining appreciation of the art form amongst the general public, Tommasini's presage of how this trend will effect the field in the long-term seems dismal. But, I see hope.  

En route to representing Canada at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, Migrating Landscapes engages the world to reflect on how migration and cultural memories influence design.

"A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double." - Toni Morrison. Miss Fashion and Miss Classical Music have shared a special sisterhood over the centuries.

Boisterous hootin'-and-a-hollerin', whistles, and whoop whoops accompanied an enthusiastic standing ovation on Saturday night at Roy Thomson Hall. The givers, young classical music fans called "tsoundcheckers" (with a silent "t") and the receivers, 26-year old violinist Stefan Jackiw and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) with guest conductor Christoph König. It was a night of prodigies in full supply.

On the 200th day before the official opening of Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest free-standing broadcast center at 634m high (2,080ft), operators unveiled eight different personnel uniforms designed by award-winning designer Akira Minagawa.   

Toronto based fashion designer Rosemarie Umetsu curates her couture gowns for classical music in Fashionista! Fashion as Art, a glamourous concert with the critically acclaimed Amici Chamber Ensemble, featuring music by three composers, including a world premiere of Alice Ping Yee Ho's Breath of Fire. 

James Carpenter is a man who sees the light. An artist, architect, and glass technologist, he has built an internationally renowned career around the simple pleasures of light. Karen Lin speaks with Carpenter to discover why to him, there is more to light than meets the eye.  

I have recently been thinking about the "muse" and its iterations over the centuries. Originating in Ancient Greek mythology, artistic talent was credited to nine immortal sisters, goddesses who gave music, song and dance to artists and inspiration to writers, poets and philosophers. The muse has since evolved into a real person who inspires creative endeavours.  

Cabaret is an artistic playground draped by dark velvet curtains, smoky spotlights and late night libations. Emerging out of France's Belle Époque era at the turn of the 20th century, it was a time characterised by great optimism. Karen Lin takes us through cabaret-inspired art forms found on the modern stages in Toronto. 

On board a small boat with a portable keyboard in tow, pianist Panos Karan embarks on an unusual concert tour along the Amazon River. Through the charitable organization Keys of Change, he is bringing Bach to isolated communities in Ecuador and Peru and aims to use the power of music to change the world. 

When it comes to personal style and fashion design, how does nature vs. nurture influence our everyday choices? A unique fashion line, LAByrinth, dares us to look beyond the surface and explore the affective relationship between nature and nurture. 

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