This Week in Toronto (March 23 – 29)

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the week of March 23 to 29

~ Joseph So

With spring break over, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is back in business with a very interesting program of pairing Stravinsky’s groundbreaking The Rite of Spring with Dvorak’s sublime Cello Concerto. This Dvorak piece, together with the Elgar, are for me the two desert island cello concertos – I never get tired of hearing either one. And to have the wonderful Argentinean cellist Sol Gabetta here to play it is an occasion not to be missed. At the helm is the young and dynamic Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski. Performances March 27 and 28 7:30 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

Cellist Sol Gabetta (Photo:
Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski (Photo: Lena Knutli)
Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili and British pianist Paul Lewis team up for a joint recital at Koerner Hall on Friday March 27th 8 pm, playing works of Bach, Schubert, Telemann and Beethoven.   The two of them are on a NA tour that takes them to Philadelphia, Boston, Princeton New Jersey, New York as well as Toronto.
Violinist Batiashvili and pianist Paul Lewis at Koerner Hall
Among the crop of up and coming Canadian singers is Etobicoke native baritone Elliot Madore. He possess a warmly appealing lyric baritone, abundant musicality and attractive stage presence. He won the Met Auditions five years ago, and at the time I interviewed him for an article in La Scena Musicale –  Since then, he has gone on to an enviable international career, singing a very successful Don Giovanni in Glyndebourne and Lysander in the Met’s The Enchanted Island. He is also making his Munich Opera debut this season as Pelleas in a new production of Pelleas et Melisande, which I will be seeing in July. He is giving a recital under the auspices of Music Toronto on Thursday March 26th 8 pm at Jane Mallett Theatre. The centerpiece is Schumann’s Liederkreis, plus songs by Charles Ives and Poulenc.  Canadian pianist Rachel Andrist is at the keyboard. You can experience Mr. Madore in this video clip of his aria from The Enchanted Island.  For more information about the recital this week –
Baritone Elliot Madore
Mezzo Charlotte Burrage and baritone Clarence Frazer are both graduating from the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio this year. They are giving a joint noon hour recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on March 26th. Another chance to hear them will be the Ensemble Performance of The Barber of Seville on May 15th, with Charlotte as Rosina and Frazer as Figaro. The program in this noon hour concert includes songs by Schubert, Brahms and Mahler. Jennifer Szeto is the collaborative pianist.  Be sure to show up an hour early to ensure a seat. 
Mezzo Charlotte Burrage
The mandate of the Canadian Art Song Project, spearheaded by pianist Steven Philcox and tenor Lawrence Wiliford, is to promote Canadian classical songs. They will be giving a recital on Monday, March 24th 8 pm at Walter Hall on the campus of the University of Toronto. Tenor Wiliford, baritone Geoffrey Sirett, and soprano/comedienne Mary Lou Fallis will be presenting Humour, Play and the Canadian Art Song, a program that explores humour and play in contemporary Canadian vocal repertoire, including a new commission by composer/pianist Peter Tiefenbach. Pianist is Steven Philcox.
Soprano and Comedienne Mary Lou Fallis

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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