This Week in Toronto (Feb. 24 – Mar. 2)

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This Week in Toronto (Feb. 24 – Mar. 2)

– Joseph So

Yefim Bronfman (Photo: Dario Acosta)
It’s now a tradition – early March at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is a time for new music. This time, the festival opens with the great Yefim Bronfman, in town already for Beethoven earlier in the week playing Piano Concerto No. 2 and 4 (Feb. 26 6:30 pm), does double duty playing the Piano Concerto No. 2 by Magnus Lindberg (Saturday Mar. 1), a piece composed for the pianist and this performance marks its Canadian premiere. This year the Festival features the works of John Adams. On the program is his Doctor Atomic Symphony, from his hugely successful opera a few years ago.  Canadian Kevin Lau, the RBC Affiliate Composer at the TSO, is premiering an as yet untitled new piece – at least on the the TSO website. Peter Oundjian conducts both performances. 
Composer John Adams
The fast rising Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta is giving a recital at the Visual and Performing Arts Newmarket, a venue new to me. The recital is on March 2 2 pm. Unfortunately I cannot find any details of the program at either the singer’s website nor the venue’s website. Steven Philcox is the collaborative pianist.
Mezzo Wallis Giunta
Pianist Stephen Hough at Koerner Hall
The wonderful British pianist Stephen Hough is in town this week for a recital at Koerner Hall – and congratulations to Mr. Hough for being awarded the CBE recently! He is giving a mixed program of interesting piano pieces not often heard, including pieces by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. Also Arnold Schonberg, Bruckner, Brahms and Chopin.
Violinist Leonidas Kavakos (photo:
Greek violin virtuoso Leonidas Kavakos and Italian pianist Enrico Pace are giving an all-Beethoven program (Violin Sonatas No. 1, 5, 7) at Koerner Hall on Friday Feb. 28 8 pm.
Music Toronto is presenting a recital with pianist Stephanie Chua on February 27 8 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre. She plays an eclectic mix of old and new – works by Haydn and Couperin together with Canadian composer/pianist Adam Sherkin and Gyorgy Kurtag – how’s that for a program!
Pianist Stephanie Chua 
Belgium-based Canadian baritone Matthew Zadow is back in town for a concert with the Toronto Classical Singers, of Joseph Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War, and Handel’s Dettingen te deum. Other soloists are soprano Sheila Dietrich, mezzo Sandra Boyes, and tenor James McLennan. The Talisker Players Orchestra is conducted by Jurgen Petrenko. Sunday Mar. 2 4 pm at Christ Church Deer Park.
Composer Gioachino Rossini
Of the 39 operas composed by the prolific Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, the most popular is undoubedly Il baribiere di Siviglia. Based on statistics from the last five performing seasons (2008 to 2013), this opera is the 7th most popular in the world, out of a total of 2,415 works! Opera York is presenting this piece on Thursday Feb. 27 and March 1, at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, on Yonge Street north of Major Mackenzie. Quebec baritone Dion Mazerolle sings the title role and David Menzies is Count Almaviva. Geoffrey Butler conducts.

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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