Browsing: Classical

Composer John AdamsThis week marks the opening of the annual New Creations Festival at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. There will be three concerts from March 2 to 10 at the TSO featuring works by Gary Kulesha, Vincent Ho, Mason Bates, Jennifer Higdon, R. Murray Schafer and John Adams. Kicking off the festival this Wednesday are two works by John Adams, the first of which is Harmonielehre, or German for “study in harmony.” It is also the title of a book by Arnold Schoenberg. As the title suggests, this piece is an intricate interplay of Adams’ minimalism with Schoenberg’s atonality. Unlike…

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Top: Papageno and PapagenaLeft: Tamino and Three LadiesLower Left: Tamino and PaminaBottom: Queen of the Night and Pamina(Photo Credit: Michael Cooper)Mozart: The Magic FluteFebruary 17, 2011 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing ArtsBy Joseph K. SoThe Magic Flute is an opera for young audiences and young singers. It was particularly true tonight in the special performance featuring artists from COC Ensemble Studio. The popular pricing also meant the house had a larger number of young people than usual. There was a special energy and a sense of occasion that made the evening an exciting one. The whimsical, light-hearted…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehAs most fairy tales, the Canadian Opera Company’s newest production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute starts well and ends well. It’s one of the prettiest productions I’ve seen on stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Alas, it’s too bad the performance on Feb. 3 felt a little short on magic in general.Directed by Diane Paulus of the Tony-winning revival of Hair and with Myung Hee Cho’s set and costume designs, this Flute production will make an excellent first impression on just about anybody, especially children. It is predominantly held together by a lush…

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Top: Tamino and AnimalsLeft: Aline Kutan (Queen) and Michael Schade (Tamino)below left: Rodion Pogossov (Papageno)Bottom: Isabel Bayrakdarian (Pamina) and Michael Schade (Tamino) All photos by Michael CooperThe COC winter season opened on Saturday with a new production of The Magic Flute. After a controversial Aida and a thematically depressing Death In Venice, it was good to have something like The Magic Flute to lift the spirits of winter-weary Torontonians. For once, it’s good to have a Flute that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’ve seen more than my share of this opera, and sometimes the designers and stage directors take…

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By L.H Tiffany HsiehThere was an unusual stillness inside Roy Thomson Hall on Jan. 19, when Canadian violinist James Ehnes performed Mozart’s violin concertos Nos. 1, 2 and 3 with a pared down Toronto Symphony Orchestra.The sweet and tender music kicked off TSO’s [email protected] Festival with just the right amount of youthfulness from Ehnes, who shares Mozart’s birthday of Jan. 27 and who was in total control as soloist and leader.While Mozart composed his first violin concerto in either 1773 or 1775, he most certainly wrote the last four of his five violin concertos between April and December of 1775,…

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Left: Adrian Kramer (Papageno) and Simone Osborne (Pamina) with Christopher Enns (Tamino) looking on.Top Photo: Ambur Braid as Queen of the Night, Neil Craighead (Speaker) seated. Bottom photo: foreground (l. to r.) Christopher Enns (Tamino), Wallis Giunta (Second Lady), Rihab Chaieb (Third Lady), Ileana Montalbetti (First Lady); background (l. to r.) Michael Uloth (Sarastro), Neil Craighead (Speaker), Simone Osborne (Pamina)All photos: Chris Hutcheson http://chrishutcheson.com/Highlights from The Magic FluteArtists of the COC Ensemble StudioTamino, Christopher Enns, tenorThree Ladies, Ileana Montalbetti, sop., Wallis Giunta, mezzo, Rihab Chaieb, mezzoPapageno, Adrian Kramer, baritonePapagena, Jacqueline Woodley, sopranoQueen of the Night, Ambur Braid, sopranoPamina, Simone Osborne,…

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German violinist Christian Tetzlaff plays Tchaikovsky at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week (Photo: Alexandra Vosding)The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a surefire program this week – a winning combination of Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff! Back in town is the terrific Christian Tetzlaff playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major Op. 35 Also on the program is the Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 3 in A Minor Op. 44 and Wagner’s Prelude to Parsifal. British conductor Mark Wigglesworth is at the helm. The energetic Mr. Tetzlaff has great musicality and technique to burn, so this is my choice of exciting event this…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehImagine stepping into an interior courtyard of a country residence; a group of ticketholders are being treated to a private performance of a comic opera. The guests munched on chocolate bars and sipped bottled water during intermission. The year is 2010.And so opened Opera Atelier’s new production of Mozart’s beloved The Marriage of Figaro at the Elgin Theatre Saturday night, when director Marshall Pynkoski recreated the private performance of Beaumarchais’s stage comedy of the same title that took place in the home of a French nobleman prior to its official debut in Paris in 1784.Sung in English with a modern,…

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by Giuseppe PennisiMusic is the best medicine to cure cancer according to Maestro Claudio Abbado. Doctors removed much of his stomach and he can only eat small amounts at a time.“I found a new life, without a stomach,” he states. “I think differently. My senses are different.” His music-making has also changed: “I hear more lines now; I hear sounds I never heard before.”Unfortunately, the therapy has weakened him: it’s now a special occasion when Maestro Abbado conducts. At 77, Abbado has mostly turned away from the kind of grand institutions he once led — La Scala, the Vienna State…

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Baritone Nathan Gunn (Photo: Dario Acosta)The big news for voice fans this week is the first Toronto appearance of American baritone Nathan Gunn, in town on Wednesday, March 10 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall as part of its Vocal Series. Mr. Gunn is the archetypal “bari-hunk”, a term invented some years ago by person unknown to describe baritones who are as pleasing to the eye as to the ear. There is a long tradition of singers of this ilk, from Lawrence Tibbett in the 1930’s to Sherrill Milnes in the 1970’s – hunky baritones with great voices. But there…

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