This Week in Toronto (Apr. 14 – 20)
My concert picks this week – Joseph So
Toronto Symphony Orchestra The charismatic French pianist Helene Grimaud makes a welcomed return to Toronto, as soloist in the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. Also on the program are two works to do with Easter – Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture, and Messiaen’s L’Ascension. Andrey Boreyko returns to the TSO to conduct. Performances on April 17 and 19 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. http://tso.ca/en-ca/Home.aspx
Canadian Opera Company‘s Hercules continues this week. I saw this show twice – the dress rehearsal and opening night, and I must say Peter Sellars‘ re-imagining of this baroque piece works well. It is one of the most successful examples of Regieoper attempts undertaken by the COC. The five principals are first rate, as is the orchestra under the inspired direction of Harry Bicket. Hercules is bass-baritone Eric Owens; mezzo Alice Coote sings Dejanira; countertenor David Daniels is Lichas; tenor Richard Croft sings Hyllus, and soprano Lucy Crowe is Iole. This show is an auspicious start to the COC spring season. Performances this week on April 15 and 19 7:30 pm at the Four Seasons Centre. There are also two noon hour concerts of note at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre – a piano recital by Philip Chiu on April 15. Billed as Music in the Time of War, it includes two pieces, by Bach and Pavel Haas, arranged by the pianist, plus Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 7, known as the Stalingrad, and Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel. Details at http://files.coc.ca/pdfs/concert140415.pdf The other event features well known violinist Jacques Israelievitch and pianist Valentina Sadovski in a program of exquisite Russian violin gems, thus the concert title of Violin Caviar. http://files.coc.ca/pdfs/concert140417.pdf and
This being Easter week, there is a plethora of concerts celebrating this important religious holiday. Several caught my eye. One is Toronto Mendelssohn Choir’s pairing of Durufle’s Requiem with Vierne’s Messe Solennelle on Good Friday 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s Basilica on Power Street. There is something to be said about experiencing great church music – in a great church! Here’s a clip of the Durufle with the Mendelssohn Choir under the direction of Noel Edison – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1fl-sI44ZI Quite a different kettle of fish – and very intriguing – is a “jazz-infused homage to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion” put on by Soundstreams. On Good Friday at the Trinity St. Paul Centre. http://www.soundstreams.ca/passion The Music at Metropolitan series of the Metropolitan United Church is presenting Bach’s St. John Passion, with soloists Lesley Bouza, Daniel Taylor, Christopher Mayell, James Baldwin, Charles Davidson, and Clarence Frazer. Metropolitan Festival Choir and Orchestra conducted by Dr. Patricia Wright.
If religious programming isn’t your thing, you may want to try a piano concerto. Well known Canadian pianist Andre Laplante is playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto No. 5 with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra under the baton of its music director Kristian Alexander. The concert takes places also on Good Friday April 18 8 pm, at the Markham Theatre north of the city. http://www.ksorchestra.ca/
Alternately, Opera Belcanto is presenting the ever popular Carmen. Performances on April 17 and 19 7:30 pm at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. Their website seems to be undergoing renovation – http://operabelcantoofyork.com/