Browsing: Classical Music

Canada Night at the Bavarian State Opera (l. to r.: Gerald Finley, Erin Wall, Joseph Kaiser, Phillip Ens)by Joseph K. SoMozart: Don GiovanniBayerische StaatsoperJuly 17, 2011 6:00 pm.Conductor: Constantin CarydisGerald Finley (Don Giovanni)Phillip Ens (Commendatore)Erin wall (Donna Anna)Joseph Kaiser (Don Ottavio)Veronique Gens (Donna Elvira)Alex Esposito (Leporello)Laura Tatulescu (Zerlina)Levente Molnar (Massetto)This production of Don Giovanni by stage director Stephan Kimmig premiered to divided opinions in October 2010. It’s one of those shows that puts one’s Regietheater quotient to the test. DG has always been fodder for the Regie approach, going back to Peter Seller’s Harlem DG in the 1980s. Of course…

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Soprano Emily Magee as the new Ariadne in Munichby Joseph K. SoIt’s always a pleasure to return to the beautiful Bavarian State Opera every July for the Festival. This year’s program is particularly interesting for me – six evenings of five operas (Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Giovanni, Rusalka, Der Rosenkavalier, Mitridate re di Ponto) and a Michael Volle Liederabend. Last evening was Ariadne auf Naxos, which I had previously seen in its premiere three years ago at the Prinzregenten-theater. Now it has moved to the larger space of the National-theater. Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, who sang the premiere of this…

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Strings of Summer / Songs of SummerToronto Summer Music Festival’s new Artistic Director Douglas McNabney talks about his vision for the future Joseph K. So Toronto-born violist Douglas McNabney is a man on a mission. Last September, he took over as Artistic Director of the Toronto Summer Music Festival replacing Agnes Grossmann, who had led the fledging organization since 2006. In the few short years under Grossmann, TSMF and its accompanying Academy have developed a loyal following in a city not exactly brimming with summer classical music. Now as her successor, it’s McNabney’s mandate to continue its tradition of excellence,…

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by Paul E. RobinsonEvery summer Marita and I drive from Austin, Texas back to our native Canada, varying our route each year according to events of particular interest on the road and the availability of friends we enjoy visiting.This year we decided to make a stop in Charlottesville, Virginia, a favourite place we hadn’t visited in too many years. This charming, lively, petite (pop: 40,000) mountain town is home to the University of Virginia where we fondly recalled once having inspected the tiny room inhabited by Edgar Allen Poe during his short tenure as a student here. The literary stature…

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By Rona NadlerThe Canadian Music Competition has announced its 2011 Grand Prize winners. Over two hundred young musicians from all over the country competed in the finals, held in Montreal from June 20-July 4. Grand Prizes for each age category were awarded to Kirsten MacKinnon, soprano (Burnaby, BC), Jason Kangsan Lee, piano (Missisauga, ON), Nicole Li, violin (Toronto, ON), Stephen Nguyen, piano (Calgary, AB), and Tiffany Yeung, violin (Richmond Hill, ON). The winners will give three performances with the Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Alain Trudel: a gala concert on July 14 at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, at Parc La Fontaine…

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Crystal Chan Composer Malcolm Forsyth passed away in Edmonton on July 5th. He was 74 and had been battling cancer. His compositions won him three Junos, several other recognitions, and the title of the Canadian Music Council’s Composer of the Year in 1988. Forsyth was also a trombone player who performed with the Montreal, Cape Town and Edmonton symphony orchestras and taught the instrument for many years, including at the University of Alberta until his retirement nine years ago, one year before he received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and was named a member of the Order of Canada. His…

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by Paul E. RobinsonRoberto Sierra (photo: above) was born in Puerto Rico and studied with György Ligeti in Germany. Since 1992 he has been a member of the faculty of music at Cornell University, and is widely recognized as one of the leading composers of his generation.Sierra’s Missa Latina “Pro Pace” (For Peace) was commissioned by Washington’s National Symphony and the Choral Arts Society, and Leonard Slatkin conducted the premiere with those combined ensembles in 2006. Since that time the work has been performed in major cities around the United States, each time with great success.Craig Hella Johnson (photo: right)…

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Conductor Lorin Maazel brings his Castleton Festival Orchestra to the Black Creek Summer Music FestivalDame Helen Mirren (photo: Giles Keyte)Jeremy Irons”Music Inspired by Shakespeare”Prokofiev – Excerpts from Romeo and JulietTchaikovsky – Romeo and Juliet Fantasy OvertureMendelssohn – Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream Op. 21 & Op. 61Castleton Festival OrchestraLorin Maazel, conductorDame Helen MirrenJeremy IronsJoyce El-Khoury, sopranoTharanga Goonetilleke, sopranoWomen’s Voices of the Castleton Festival ChorusJune 29th 2011 8 pm, Rexall Centre, TorontoBy Joseph K. SoFollowing the blockbuster opening with Domingo and Radvanovsky, Black Creek presented its second classical event last evening, starring three big names – conductor Lorin Maazel,…

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Review by Joseph SoJessye Norman captivating the small but enthusiastic audience (Photo: Joseph So)Jessye Norman accompanying herself in “Amazing Grace” (Photo: Joseph So)Soprano Jessye Norman and pianist Mark Markham (Photo: Lawrence Lock)A Celebration of the American Musical TheatreJessye Norman, sopranoMark Markham, pianoKoerner Hall June 28, 8 pm.Somewhere – West Side Story (Bernstein)You’ll Never Walk Alone – Carousel (Rodgers & Hammerstein)But Not For Me – Girl Crazy (Gershwin)I Got Rhythm – Girl Crazy (Gershwin)The Man I Love – Lady, Be Good (Gershwin)Sleepin’ Bee – House of Flowers (Arlen)Climb Ev’ry Mountain – Sound of Music (Rodgers & Hammerstein)Lonely Town – On The…

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Last Night Of the Proms This being the final week of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra season, it’s offering its own Last Night Of the Proms. I don’t quite remember when this tradition started at the TSO, but it’s been at least a dozen years. Given the recent nuptials of Will and Kate, the ever-enterprising TSO is offering its own Royal Wedding Celebration! The usual program of British music that always ends with Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Brittania – and plenty of flag waving. Conductor Bramwell Tovey leads the TSO forces and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir under choirmaster…

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