Festival Highlights/Les Festivals d’été

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Singing Valentines / Valentins chantants

Atlantic Festivals Preview

By David Podgorski

If you’re going to spend your
summer on the Rock, there’s plenty of great music to enjoy through
July and August. The Gros Morne Summer Music Festival (July 16-August
17) features classical and jazz, but also the traditional music of Newfoundland,
Cape Breton, and Quebec. Highlights of this festival include a concert
of Bach, folk music, and Steve Reich, and an all Early Music programme
with violinist Mintze Wu, violist Yoko Okoyazu, cellist Diederik
van Dijk, and pianist David Maggs August 6, 7, and 8.

The Tuckmore festival runs from
August 11-24 in Saint John’s, Newfoundland. As well as regular
concerts, there will be a variety of masterclasses and student concerts.
Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio will be giving a violin masterclass August
18, and if you’re interested in playing chamber repertoire, you can
attend a masterclass with the Duke Trio on August 13, or the Miro Quartet’s
masterclass on August 21.

Fans of Early Music may want to
spend the summer in the Maritimes, as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
have three Early Music festivals between them. The venerable Lamèque
Festival returns for a twelfth straight season from July 24 to 27. Montréal’s
Ensemble La Rota
will kick off the festival will a concert of medieval
music on July 24, while Francophiles will want to hear flautists Anne
Thivierge and Grégoire Jeay’s all-French Baroque concert featuring
the music of Marais, Sainte-Colombe, Machy, and Forqueray on July 25.
Harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour will join violinist

Pascale Giguère for an all-Bach programme on July 26, and Toronto’s
I Furiosi
will wind the whole thing down with a concert of love
songs by Dowland, Couperin, Handel, Tartini, and Rossi on July 27.

The Fredericton Baroque festival
runs June 6 through 8 and will feature the up-and-coming artists of
the Early Music world. The York Early Music Ensemble will play a concert
of Biber, Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi June 6, while the Seasons Baroque
Ensemble will give a concert featuring music from the Seven Years War
on June 7.

Lunenburg Nova Scotia plays host
to the Boxwood Festival, which runs from July 19 to 25 and will be dedicated
to baroque and traditional flute and pipe music. East Coast flute master
Chris Norman will be joined by guest artists David Greenberg, Adrienne
Greenbaum, Brian Finnegan, David McGuinness, Gilles Plante, and Betsy
MacMillan.

If you’re in the mood for something
completely different, Sackville New Brunswick’s OK.Quoi?! Festival
(yes, it really does use that punctuation) celebrates five days of contemporary
art from July 28 to August 2 and holds the record for the best title
of any music festival anywhere. Ken Gregory will be leading a two-day
workshop on acoustic kite-making July 30 and 31, while the Motion Ensemble
will be leading a “Honk Symphony” in downtown Sackville on August
1. For a more conventional concert, be sure to catch “The Very Last
Chance for Summer Romance,” a barbecue and musical evening featuring
artists Bette & Wallet, Kim Barlow, Laura Barrett, and Superfantastics.
Halifax hosts the Scotia Festival of Music, an annual two-week chamber
music festival that runs from May 27 to June 8. Don’t miss the Super
Nova Quartet in a concert of Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Schnitke May 29
with Simon Docking playing Messaien’s Catalogue d’oiseaux,

May 30, and the Evergreen Gamelan Ensemble on June 4.

Opera buffs will want to catch
the Lunenburg Summer Opera Festival,which features a concert version
of Bizet’s Carmen on June 13, 15, 19, and 21 and an evening
of Broadway show tunes featuring Jenna Barry on June 20.

Prince Edward Island hosts the
Indian River Festival, which runs from July 4 to August 4. Their opening
extravaganza promises many pyrotechnics, as Canadian soprano Mary
Lou Fallis will join pianist and host Peter Tiefenbach along with the
Summerside Community Choir and the Indian River Festival Chorus for
a concert and fireworks display. You can also catch the People’s Gospel
Choir of Montreal on July 14, a tango concert on July 27, and a tribute
to Django Reinhardt on August 8.

LES FESTIVALS DU QUÉBEC

By Philippe Gervais, Caroline Louis,
Julie Roy, Laura Bates

Concerts aux Îles du Bic
– festival de musique de chambre

La septième saison du festival
de musique de chambre Concerts aux Îles du Bic offre une programmation
particulièrement prestigieuse débutant par une soirée avec l’Orchestre
de chambre I Musici de Montréal et son chef Yuli Turovsky. Mentionnons
également que le festival inaugure cette année un concert-gala réunissant
tous les artistes participants dans un concert d’envergure magistrale
animé par François Dompierre, le samedi 9 août. Notons entre autres
la participation des chambristes Élise Lavoie et James Darling, fondateurs
du festival, de Pascale Giguère, André Moisan, Mathieu Lussier, Ethel
Guéret et plusieurs autres virtuoses.

De Messiaen à Beethoven, de Mozart
à Prokofiev, les artistes invités vous interpréteront une programmation
conçue autour de la musique de chambre avec clarinette.

Venez faire le plein et goûtez
l’esprit intime et chaleureux de ce rendez-vous musical annuel dans
les lieux enchanteurs des sites patrimoniaux de Bic/Saint-Fabien et
du Parc National du Bic ! Du 1er au 10 août 2008, www.bicmusique.com

Le Domaine Forget fête ses 30 ans !

Situé dans le cadre majestueux
de Charlevoix, entre les montagnes et le fleuve Saint-Laurent, le Domaine
Forget occupe une vaste propriété historique qui propose aux visiteurs
une expérience culturelle à nulle autre pareille en Amérique du Nord.

Le Domaine Forget offre une programmation
artistique étalée sur 9 mois. De la mi-juin à la fin août, il réunit,
dans le cadre de son Festival international, des artistes de renom provenant
de partout à travers le monde et présente une trentaine de concerts
de musique classique, jazz et musique nouvelle et des spectacles de
danse.

En plus des activités de l’Académie
et des Brunches-Musique du dimanche, le Festival accueillera des ensembles
tels que Les Violons du Roy et leur chef Bernard Labadie,
La Chapelle de Québec,
l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec avec
les chefs Yoav Talmi et Jean-François Rivest ainsi que le Choeur et
l’orchestre du Theater of Early Music et leur directeur Daniel
Taylor. L’Ensemble Constantinople, l’Ensemble Caprice et le Quatuor
à cordes de Moscou participeront à cette grande fête musicale. Des
artistes de réputation internationale seront invités à se produire,
en solistes ou comme chambristes. Nous aurons le plaisir d’entendre
Marc-André Hamelin, Louise Bessette, Régis Pasquier, James Dunham,
Alexandre Da Costa, Wonny Song et plusieurs autres.

Le 16 juillet, le fabuleux quatuor
vocal britannique Cantabile propose un voyage musical éclectique, en
alliant l’humour « British » à la virtuosité musicale, mélange
décapant qui fait son succès. Coté jazz, notons le concert du 22
août avec Tiger Okoshi, Lorraine Desmarais, Michel Donato et Camil
Bélisle se produisant avec leurs étudiants. Stacey Kent sera accompagnée
des musiciens Jim Tomlinson, Art Hirahara, Dave Chamberlain et Matt
Skelton le 26 juin prochain dans le cadre de la série des Concerts
Jazz Industrielle Alliance. Le 30 août, cette même série présente
Denzal Sinclaire en trio pour le plaisir des amateurs de jazz. Cinq
séries éclatantes à découvrir pour le plus grand bonheur musical
de tous ! www.domaineforget.com

FESTIVAL DE LANAUDIÈRE

Destination incontournable pour
les amateurs de musique classique, le Festival de Lanaudière propose
une soirée grandiose pour donner le coup d’envoi à la 31e saison
: 200 instrumentistes et choristes sur la scène de l’Amphithéâtre
dans les spectaculaires Carmina Burana de Carl Orff.

À l’orchestre se joignent quatre
chœurs et les solistes Erin Wall, soprano, Frédéric Antoun, ténor
et James Westman, baryton. Cette grande soirée d’ouverture comprend
également le tempétueux Concerto pour piano no 2 de Prokofiev,
un défi pianistique assumé par la virtuose Valentina Lisitsa.

Le Festival célèbre le centenaire
de la naissance d’Olivier Messiaen avec Le Grand Bal des oiseaux,
une série d’activités dédiée au thème des oiseaux dans la musique.
Le chef Jean-Marie Zeitouni dirigera l’Orchestre du Festival
dans l’Oiseau de feu de Stravinsky. Le pianiste Stewart Goodyear
se joindra à eux dans les Oiseaux exotiques de Messiaen, et
la soprano Aline Kutan dans des airs de Gounod, Saint-Saëns et Handel.
Le concert offre aussi la création de Joie des Grives, une œuvre
du compositeur Antoine Ouellette.

Un foisonnement d’activités
musicales à ne plus savoir où donner de la tête !

Le chef d’orchestre Jean-Marie
Zeitouni dirigera l’Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand
Montréal le vendredi 18 juillet pour un trépidant parcours astronomique
et musical à travers Les planètes de Holst avec projection de
photos de la NASA.

Ambassadeur artistique du Festival,
Alain Lefèvre a voulu consacrer le 19 juillet « Journée des jeunes
et du piano » ! En soirée, pas moins de huit excellents pianistes
partageront la scène avec Alain Lefèvre et l’Orchestre du Festival
dans des œuvres pour deux, trois et quatre pianos de Bach et Mozart,
sous la direction du chef Daniel Myssyk.

Notons également la participation
au festival de l’Orchestre baroque de Freiburg. Une soirée tout Mozart
avec le baryton Christian Gerhaher, vendredi le 1er août.

Une magnifique conclusion ! Kent
Nagano dirigera l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal dans le célébrissime
Requiem
de Verdi. Quatre solistes, Sondra Radvanovsky, soprano,
Elena Maximova, mezzo-soprano, Arturo Chacon-Cruz, ténor et John Relyea,
basse, participeront à cette œuvre légendaire du répertoire lyrique.
www.lanaudiere.org

FESTIVAL MONTRÉAL BAROQUE : SIROP,
SOIE, SAFRAN

Pour sa sixième année, le festival
Montréal Baroque choisit de s’orienter vers les musiques du monde
dont les liens avec les musiques anciennes d’Occident sont nombreux.
À côté d’événements résolument baroques (les Pièces de clavecin
en
concert de Rameau par l’ensemble Masques, deux cantates
de Bach…), d’autres veulent jeter des ponts entre des traditions
diverses. Ainsi, les Voix Humaines et l’ensemble Tsuni Shou
proposent un récital où alterneront chansons d’amour françaises
et chinoises du XVIIe siècle, tandis que le spectacle de clôture,
intitulé Versailles Vaudou, rien de moins, mêlera danses françaises
(les Sauvages de Rameau, assurément) et danses haïtiennes,
en plus d’offrir un concerto pour violon du Chevalier de Saint-George,
compositeur noir né à la Guadeloupe. Intrigante, également,
la visite d’un virtuose indien du tabla et celle d’un groupe de
musique klezmer jouant sur des instruments du XIXe siècle ! Décidément,
la musique baroque mène à tout, dès qu’on en sort… On regrette
néanmoins la disparition (temporaire, espérons-le) du concours Étoiles
Galaxie de Radio-Canada lequel permettait à de jeunes interprètes
de musique baroque de se faire connaître.

De l’envoûtant orient à l’enchanteur
occident, les musiques baroques de toutes les cultures animeront les
rues du Vieux-Montréal des 20 au 23 juin ! www.montrealbaroque.com

FESTIVAL ORFORD

Situé au cœur du parc national
du mont Orford, au pied de la montagne, le Centre d’arts Orford est
un espace où nature et culture sont en symbiose dans un cadre propice
à l’épanouissement artistique.

Pour lancer les célébrations
du Festival Orford 2008, le vendredi 20 juin, Vic Vogel et Le
Jazz Big Band rendront un vibrant hommage à un de nos grands jazzmen
disparus récemment, Oscar Peterson, dans un concert enlevant intitulé

Merci Monsieur Peterson.
Tout au long de cette saison 2008, une pléiade de grands noms participeront
à la fête. Le samedi 21 juin, André Laplante au piano et Brian Manker
au violoncelle brilleront lors du concert En présence des grands
maîtres
. Le vendredi 27 juin, Angèle Dubeau et La Pietà célèbreront
leur 10e anniversaire. Le vendredi 4 juillet, Les Violons du Roy sous
la direction de Bernard Labadie présenteront Les Variations Goldberg.
Le samedi 5 juillet, le retour remarqué du pianiste Anton Kuerti pour
un concert intitulé Les choix de Kuerti.
Louis Lortie présentera trois concerts exceptionnels lesquels nous
transporteront dans les grandes villes musicales d’Europe. Prague,
Venise et Vienne seront à l’honneur, le 2, 8 et 10 août prochain.

Notons de plus pour cette édition
2008 la présence de Stéphane Lemelin, d’Augustin Dumay, de Maria
Belooussova, de Michel Strauss, du New Zealand String Quartet, et plusieurs
autres artistes de renommée internationale.

Une place de choix sera réservée
à l’Orchestre Mondial des Jeunesse Musicales avec trois concerts.
Vous seront présentés le samedi 9 août le Double concerto de Brahms

sous la direction de maestro Franz-Paul Decker
et les artistes invités Laurence Lesser au violoncelle
et Masuko Ushioda au violon, et le vendredi 15 août, le Concerto
en sol de Ravel
sous la direction de maestro Josep Vicent et l’artiste
invité Ivàn Martin au piano. Enfin, la soirée de clôture brillera
de tous les feux de Viva España ! en présence de la soprano
Marianne Fiset.

Rendez-vous à Orford du 20 juin
au 16 août prochain, pour cette nouvelle cuvée de concerts 2008 laquelle
promet à tous de brillantes prestations musicales. www.arts-orford.org

FESTIVAL BEL CANTO

In his tenure as Music Director
of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano has shown himself
to be a masterful conductor in all genres, excelling particularly in
operatic repertoire. His latest stamp on the OSM is his creation of
Festival Bel Canto, presented along with Rome’s Accademia Nazionale
Santa Cecilia. This big new Canadian festival will take place in the
historic town of Knowlton, Québec over two weekends from August 15-24.
Featured vocalists include Jennifer Larmore, June Anderson, Sumi Jo
and Gino Vannelli. The highlight will be performances of Bellini’s
opera Norma in a concert version with the OSM. Concerts will
be given in a tent that accommodates up to 600, so get your tickets
early! www.osm.ca

SOUTHERN ONTARIO FESTIVALS PREVIEW

By Laura Bates, Joseph So

There was a time when Torontonians
had to go outside the city for that special musical fix during the lazy
hazy days of summer. Happily this is no longer necessary. From June
6-15, Toronto hosts the second annual Luminato
– Toronto Festival of Arts + Creativity
. The inaugural festival
last year attracted over one million participants. This year’s festival
holds true to its key principles of collaboration, accessibility and
diversity, by showcasing collaborative efforts that cross the boundaries
of culture and genre: many free events to ensure accessibility; a celebration
of the multicultural diversity that is Toronto. There is a rich mix
of events in music, dance, film, visual arts, literature, theatre, and
illuminations. While opera fans and classical music fans may be disappointed
that there is no repeat of Luna, last year’s opera gala, there
are plenty of other offerings that will prove interesting. www.luminato.com

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra
season continues through June, with cellist Enrico Dindo playing
Prokofiev’s Sinfonia concertante under the baton of principal
conductor Peter Oundjian. The ever-popular virtuoso pianist

Jean-Yves Thibaudet returns in an eclectic program of Shostakovich,
Prokofiev, and Gershwin. The TSO wraps up its season with Last Night
of the Proms
with conductor Bramwell Tovey. www.roythomson.com

Regrettably, the Canadian Opera
Company
no longer puts on the Altamira Concerts at Harbourfront.
However, opera audiences will get a rare chance to see a production
of Don Giovanni by Italian Baroque composer Giuseppe Gazzaniga,
paired with Stravinsky’s comic burlesque, Renard

(June 16-22). This twin bill features the talented artists of the COC
Ensemble Studio, conducted by Steven Philcox and Derek Bate.
www.coc.ca, (416) 363-8231

An extremely interesting undertaking
this summer is the Toronto Summer Music Festival
(July 22-Aug. 17), which runs concurrently with the Toronto Summer
Music Academy
, both under the artistic directorship of Agnes
Grossmann
. It gives young musicians an opportunity to study with
well-known professionals through workshops, master classes, coaching,
and opera performances. The theme this year is In the Fire of Conflict,
an exploration of the myriad ways artists shed light on all aspects
of society. On the program are over sixty Canadian and international
artists in concerts, eight student concerts, workshops, lectures, and
a fully staged opera. The Festival Opening event has pianist

André Laplante in a concert of Chopin and Liszt (July 22). Other
recitals or lectures/workshops include violinist Mayumi Seiler,
pianists Menahem Pressler and Anton Kuerti, cellist
Denise Djokic
, the Gryphon Trio, and the Leipzig String
Quartet
. Of particular interest is Richard Strauss’s Ariadne
auf Naxos
, with former COC Ensemble soprano Melinda Delorme

in the title role (Aug.14-17). www.tsmaf.ca, (416) 597-7840

The venerable Elora Festival
opens with Handel’s Solomon, starring soprano Karina Gauvin,
countertenor Robin Blaze, tenor Lawrence Wiliford, and
baritone James Westman, with the Elora Festival Singers and Orchestra
under the direction of Noel Edison (July 11). An extremely high-profile
event is the already sold out recital by Kiri Te Kanawa

on July 13. Other classical artists appearing this season include
André Laplante
(July 18), Choir of Trinity College Cambridge
(July 25), tenor Colin Ainsworth singing Die schöne Müllerin
(July 19), and concerts celebrating the 50th anniversary of the death
of Ralph Vaughan Williams (July 17, 24, 31). There are also jazz, chamber
and choral concerts. www.elorafestival.com

Many established stars – Ben
Heppner comes to mind – as well as stars of tomorrow have appeared
with Stratford Summer Music, and this year is no exception.
Soprano sensation Marianne Fiset, who swept all the top prizes
at the 2007 Montreal International Musical Competition, is soloist with
l’Orchestre de la francophonie canadienne, conducted by Jean-Philippe
Tremblay
(July 27). Superstar soprano Measha Brueggergosman

returns to give four recitals with German collaborative pianist Justus
Zeyen
, in a program of Britten, Schoenberg, Poulenc, Bolcom and
Satie (Aug. 7-10). Canadian composer Mark Richards has adapted
Shakespeare’s Hamlet into a new full-length opera, which will
receive a week of workshops culminating in a concert reading on August
16. Soloists include Andrew Tees, Catherine Gardner, Meghan Fleet,
and Joseph Schnurr as Hamlet. The Festival ends with a duo recital
featuring two of Canada’s best voices, tenor Roger Honeywell

and baritone James Westman,
in a program of arias and duets from Carmen, La
bohème
, and La Forza del destino. As a bonus, Stratford
resident/distinguished bass-baritone Gary Relyea will be their
guest, singing Gremin’s aria from Eugene Onegin (Aug. 17).
www.stratfordsummermusic.ca

Since 2003, Festival of the
Sound
, under the artistic directorship of James Campbell,
has been performing in the 480-seat, architecturally striking and acoustically
friendly Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts. The program
this year combines chamber, jazz, choral, and instrumental concerts
featuring Canadian and international groups the likes of Penderecki
String Quartet
, Trinity College Choir, Gryphon Trio,
and the Elmer Iseler Singers. Of interest to voice fans is baritone

Kevin McMillan in a recital of lieder by Mendelssohn and Wolf (July
31), and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer (Aug. 1). The Festival
concludes with Carmina Burana, with soloists Leslie Fagan,
Mark DuBois, Peter McGillivray
, and the Elmer Iseler Singers
(Aug. 10). (866) 364-0061, www.festivalofthesound.ca

Further to the east is the Highlands
Summer Festival
. Situated in picaresque Haliburton, HSF performs
in the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion. Its summer offerings
combine drama and musical theatre with three evenings of opera featuring
young artists honing their skills under the tutelage of Canadian tenor

Richard Margison and opera director Valerie Kuinka at their
Highlands Opera Studio
(Aug. 25, 27, 29). www.highlandssummerfestival.on.ca

Similarly, Westben’s Concerts
at the Barn
, located in Campbellford in eastern Ontario, is well
worth a visit for its mix of classical and popular music. The operetta
this year is Die Fledermaus, with singers from the University
of British Columbia Opera Ensemble under the direction of Nancy Hermiston
(July 4-6). On July 26 is Saturday Night at the Opera,
starring Monica Whicher, Elizabeth Turnbull, Keith Klassen,
Gary Relyea
, and Brian Finley. For lighter fare, don’t
miss Lerner & Loewe on Love, with Donna Bennett, Laura
Pudwell, Colin Ainsworth, Curtis
Sullivan

and Brian Jackson, singing hits from Camelot, Paint Your Wagon,
Brigadoon
, and My Fair Lady (July 22-27). www.westben.on.ca

Last but not least is the return
of a revitalized Music at Sharon Concert Series.
Soprano Suzie LeBlanc opens the festival with Songs of Earth
and Heaven
, featuring songs by Mozart, Poulenc, Fauré, Debussy,
Messiaen, and Weill, with Robert Kortgaard at the piano. www.sharontemple.ca

BROTT SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL

For 21 years the Brott Summer Music
Festival has delighted audiences of the Hamilton area and beyond with
its commitment to exposing audiences to a wide array of concerts throughout
its festival season. The festival is not light on orchestral programming.
This year Maestro Boris Brott will take listeners on a journey from
the familiar to the unexplored with their ensemble in residence, the
National Academy Orchestra of Canada.

An impressive line-up of symphonic
classics (including many Beethoven symphonies, Berlioz’s Symphonie
Fantastique
, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Stravinsky’s
Firebird
and Mahler’s massive “Resurrection” Symphony

as a finale) are contrasted by intimate chamber music performed by the
NAOC’s musicians. And let’s not forget the traditional pops concerts
done with all of the pomp and circumstance to be expected. Guest artists
include Grammy award-winning violinist James Ehnes, who will perform
Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto on June 14 at Melrose United
Church. 888-475-9377 or 905-525-7664.
www.brottmusic.com.

WEST COAST Festivals Preview

By John Defayette, David Podgorski

ALBERTA AND SASKATOBA

With a bone-cold winter giving
way to a blazing summer, Westerners can open their doors to a wide array
of cultural events. The Clear Lake Chamber Music Festival offers a four-day
musical bash in Onanole, Manitoba, from August 1-4 running the gamut
of musical styles from Mozart to klezmer. T. Patrick Carrabé hosts
a grand opening that features Mozart, Schubert, and Szymanowski. Then
on August 2, clarinettist Jocelyn Colquhoun and saxophonist Greg Gatien
get together for a night of tango and cabaret that includes the music
of Frederick Lowe and Saul Irving Glick. Die-hard classicals won’t
want to miss the concerts on August 3, which feature the music of Tchaikovsky,
Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Franck. The finale, a cruise in Riding Mountain
National Park featuring jazz chanteuse Katherine Penfold, promises
to be a hit.

The Banff Summer Arts Festival
started on May 1 and runs all the way to September 2. Highlights include
the Gryphon Trio playing Beethoven and Brahms on June 13, a jazz concert
every Saturday night, and a Jon Kimura Parker playing Beethoven’s
Emperor Concerto on July 5.

Finally, Saskatchewanians should make
a point of seeing the Regina Folk Festival, which runs from August 8-10.
The organizers have an expansive definition of folk music, but coughing
up a mere $75 to see Final Fantasy, Broken Social Scene, Wood Pigeon,
The Weakerthans, Polymaths, and Belà Fleck would still be worth it
if they advertised it as a weekend-long tribute to the art of funerary
violin music.

BRITISH COLUMBIA

British Columbia has no shortage
of great music over the summer months, but the biggest event is still
Festival Vancouver, which returns this year for an eighth outstanding
season. It’s sure to be the mega-event of the summer on the west coast
with over fifty shows in the space of two weeks. Ellen Hargis and La
Cetra kick things off on August 3 with Music from the Hall of Mirrors,
featuring a concert of Italian Baroque music from Monteverdi’s

Mantua. Then on August 5, Jeunesses Musicales winner Marianne Fiset
joins Mario Bernardi and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for a gala
opera evening. And be sure to catch a rousing revival of Rameau’s
Pygmalion
directed by Alex Weimann and starring Suzie LeBlanc on
August 14. Other headliners include a tribute to Oscar Peterson featuring
pianists Tilden Webb, Ross Taggart, and Miles Black on August 6, tango
harmonicist Franco Luciani August 9, and a string quartet marathon on
August 10 featuring the Borealis, Alcan, and Lafayette String Quartets.
The Vancouver Early Music Festival is another must-see this summer,
and features everything from medieval music from the Middle-East to
the French Baroque. Be sure not to miss Japp ter Linden playing the
Bach Cello Suites and Carissimi’s Jepthe.

The Hornby Festival offers nine
days of diversion for those who either want to get away from the big
city for the summer, or just never wanted to live there in the first
place. Hornby is a picturesque island that is accessible only by ferry
from Vancouver Island. They’ll be celebrating nine days of jazz, classical,
world beat, film, dance, and spoken word, from July 31 to August 9 (but
don’t take the ferry there on Wednesday, August 6, apparently they’re
taking that day off.)

If you’re too busy this summer
to take off a full week to go hear classical concerts, check out the
Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival, which features six concerts on
the weekend of August 15-17, or check out the Vancouver Island Symphony
Orchestra’s annual “Symphony in the Harbour” concert on August
9 in Maffeo Sutton Park, Nanaimo, or the Victoria Symphony Splash on
August 3, in which they’ll be performing on a floating stage in Victoria’s
Inner Harbour.

VICTORIA SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL

The City of Victoria comes alive
in the summer with the sound of music. In addition, there are flowers
everywhere — hanging from lampposts and in the many gardens. For years
Ottawa has enjoyed almost the sole chamber listening spot, but this
year we too will have Chamber Music, from July 22 to August 1. Many
of the concerts will be held at the University of Victoria School of
Music P. T. Young building at 7.30 PM. There is lots of parking, and
the B.C. Transit bus has many routes to the campus.

Trio Accord offers Bach’s Goldberg
Variations on July 24, followed by the Emily Carr String Quartet on
July 26, and on July 29, we are fortunate enough to have Mark Weiger
oboist. www.islandnet.com

The 21st season of the Eine Kleine
opens on June21 with the Tokyo String Quartet playing with a matched
set of Stradivari instruments. The Golden Trio programme includes Brahms-B
major trio, Beethoven-Kakadu variations and Kenji Fuse-Trio on June
28. These concerts are held at the First Unitarian Church on the West
Saanich road, which is a pleasant short drive North of the city.

Every year the Victoria Conservatory
of Music has an extensive selection for all tastes in the summer. The
first is the Victoria Jazz Fest from June 25 to July 19 with a Big Band
Ian McDougall, conductor plus the Don Thompson Nonet. An added bonus
is the opportunity to attend 11 workshops. The Summer String Academy
has 4 days of music starting on August 5 and includes the Lafayette
String Quartet. This is the seventh year that Joanne Hounsell, artistic
director, has hosted the Summer Vocal Academy, which attracts many young
vocalists June 27-July 12.There is also a Viva Voice for Teens offered
from July 19-26. www.vcm.bc.ca

More than 30,000 music lovers congregate
at the inner harbour on August 3 for the free Victoria Symphony Splash.
If you prefer different music, then the Festival Mexicana is on July
4-6. www.1415broad.ca. Or the Victoria Electronic Festival is being
held on August 2-3. British Columbia celebrates 150 years August
8-9 with BC 150 years of Chinese Canadian culture and music at the McPherson
Playhouse. www.150goldenmountain.ca. The Latin Caribbean Music Festival
is July 21-29. www.vires.bc.ca. Passion for Tango Festival takes place
August 22-24 www.passiontango.ca, and August 29-September is the Vancouver
Island Blues Bash. www.jazzvictoria.ca.

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About Author

Joseph K. So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, but his first love is music, which he studied as an undergraduate student at the State University of New York. Since seeing his first live opera – La Gioconda with Renata Tebaldi at the Met in 1967, the singing voice became his lifelong favourite instrument. In addition to his longtime contributions to La Scena Musicale and The Music Scene, he is Associate Editor of Opera Canada and a frequent contributor to Musical Toronto.

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