Browsing: Classical Music

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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Top: (l.to r.) Allyson McHardy, Lyne Fortin, David Speers, Gordon Gietz, Daniel Okulitch in “Helas! mon coeur s’egare encore!”, the finale of the “Giulietta Act” of Les contes d’HoffmannBottom: Allyson McHardy singing Non piu mesta from La cenerentola, with the McMaster University Choir in the background and David Speers on the podiumPopera Plus!Lyne Fortin, sopranoAllyson McHardy, mezzo-sopranoGordon Gietz, tenorDaniel Okulitch, bass-baritoneHamilton Philharmonic OrchestraMcMaster University ChoirDavid Speers, conductorOverture from Luisa MillerAve Maria from Otello / FortinNon piu andra from Nozze / OkulitchHabanera from Carmen / McHardy, ChorusChanson de Kleinzach from Les contes d’Hoffmann / GietzIntermezzo from I PagliacciViens, Mallika from Lakme…

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Werther @ The Montreal Opera: two shows left on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3It’s your last chance to catch the beloved Massenet adaptation of Goethe’s Sturm und Drang masterpiece. A success since its 1892 premiere, Werther is one of the staples of the operatic repertoire. The Montreal Opera’s production is a rare treat to sample the rare baritone scoring for the lead role, which Massenet wrote himself for Mattia Battistini in 1902. It transfers the action from late 18th-century Germany to 1920s America, in a move which the Gazette’s Arthur Kapatainis suggests alludes to a Gatsby-Daisy relationship between the troubled…

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For its 100th edition, the Prix d’Europe is launching its Music Journalism Prize in honour of Claude Gingras (Prix d’Europe en journalism en homage à Claude Gingras). All articles (news/information, features including interviews, profiles and music history article, and reviews) published in English and French in 2010 will be eligible. Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2011. http://www.prixdeurope.ca/

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehShe doesn’t play nice to please the listeners, but French pianist Hélène Grimaud did that anyway by giving her all at her Toronto debut recital at Koerner Hall on January 23.Grimaud’s program — an exact replica of her latest CD, Resonances — showcases four distinctively different piano repertoires: Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 8 in A minor, K. 310, Berg’s Piano Sonata, Op. 1, Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor and Bartok’s Six Romanian Folk Dances.Her ultra-robust Mozart opened the recital with an unmistakable sense of rebellion that Grimaud is often associated with in her choice of programming and interpretation. It’s Mozart madness driven by repeated intensity…

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With the 255th anniversary of Mozart birthday on January 27, the various musical organizations are in overdrive with a huge array of performances featuring his work. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra continues its Mozart festivities this week with Peter Oundjian conducting two midweek performances. The so-called “Afterworks” Concert is on Wednesday at 6:30 pm., a time convenient to those who want to catch a concert right after work before going home. These concerts have a truncated program, and it is reflected in the reduced ticket prices. Pianist Jeffrey Kahane plays Piano Concerto No. 9. Also on the program is Symphony No.…

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By Paul E. Robinson It is always a difficult business to “educate” the classical music audience without talking down to them on the one hand or talking over their heads on the other, and while some subscribers welcome non-musical elements in a concert, others hate them.The Austin Symphony and conductor Peter Bay deserve full marks for making a valiant effort to both educate and entertain at their Long Center concert last week.In the first half of the concert, we were given some background on the piece courtesy of the Chicago Symphony’s (CSO) Beyond the Score series, a multi-media production incorporating…

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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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This morning I attended the annual Canadian Opera Company press conference announcing plans for the upcoming season. Thanks to modern technology, the event is now webcast and undoubtedly some of the more tech-savvy opera fans watched it in the comfort of their own computer chairs. For those who missed it, it’s been archived for on-demand viewing at http://www.coc.ca/AboutTheCOC/COCInTheNews.aspx?EntryID=11649 The press release can be found on the Scena Newswire at http://newswire.scena.org/2011/01/canadian-opera-company-announces-2011.html In all its promotional material, the COC has opted for the English translation of the original opera titles wherever appropriate. Purists may not be too thrilled by this, but it…

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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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