An Italian Straw Hat

The National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, conducted by Ormsby Wilkins

Michael Torke’s score for James Kudelka’s ballet An Italian Straw Hat is as upbeat as any Mozart ever penned for the stage, and it sets an appropriate tone for the classic farce without feeling dated. Though the toe-tapping action is of course left to the dancers well supported by Torke’s score, the music gets a special moment to shine when one of the characters transforms into a violin virtuoso before our eyes. The change is dramatically well paced without overdoing the spectacle. Based on the fantastic black and white costuming on display in the production photographs included in the CD booklet, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for a live production in my town.