Classical Cabaret. Concert series conceived and established in Toronto in 1980 by pianist Ruth Morawetz, to present an eclectic mix of music theatre and opera highlights in an informal setting. Sunday afternoon presentations, normally seven each season, take place at the George Ignatieff Theatre, University of Toronto, and showcase Canadian singers, composers, lyricists, and instrumentalists. By 1990 Classical Cabaret had expanded its activities to include appearances at summer festivals (Quinte, Elora, North Bay, and Shaw) and at Expo 86 in Vancouver, and had toured to communities throughout Ontario. Classical Cabaret has commissioned and premiered Avowals for tenor and keyboards by John Beckwith and bp Nichol (1985); a musical The Saga of Rosa Brown, lyrics and music by Leslie Arden (1988); Lacrimosa by Glenn Buhr (1989); and The Gift of the Magi (1990), with music by Stephen Woodjetts and lyrics by Joanne Ruderfer. It has showcased Colette, the Colours of Love, music and lyrics by Barbara Spence Potter (1989), and Sunshine Town by Mavor Moore (1990). Well over 200 performers had appeared in the series' programs by 1990.
The series' founder, Ruth Morawetz (b Shipman) - b Toronto 30 Nov 1930, BA music education (Western) 1953 - studied piano with Margaret Miller Brown and Clifford Poole. In addition to her duties as impresario and artistic director of Classical Cabaret, she has accompanied many of the performers, with a versatility that may encompass classical, popular, contemporary or improvisatory musical styles.