The wonderful British baritone Sir Thomas Allen is in Toronto this week, to give a recital – which I heard last night – and to give a masterclass this morning at 10 a.m. at Walter Hall, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. A truly consummate singer of the first rank, Sir Thomas made his debut in 1969 and 42 year later continues to charm audiences around the world. A great exponent of the song literature, Sir Thomas gave a wonderful recital last night of Schumann’s Dichterliebe followed by groups of Schubert, Peter Warlock, Michael Head, and Frank Bridge. At 67, the voice is still in marvelous condition, and last evening, he chose his repertoire carefully and there were no compromises. As an encore, he sang a melancholy, deeply felt September Song. As if that’s not enough of a surprise, his second and last encore was, are you ready – Cole Porter’s Miss Otis Regrets! A great lieder singer letting his hair down in a truly wonderful interpretation of these American standards. I do hope some of you will make it to his masterclass – I can listen to him all day! Here is a 6-part interview Sir Thomas gave two years ago – enjoy!
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.