This Week in Toronto (Nov. 30 – Dec. 6)

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Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky
Top vocal news this week is the recital by Canada’s “Bel Canto Queen” Sondra Radvanovsky, under the auspices of Show One Productions. The American-born soprano makes her home a stone’s throw from the GTA. So far we’ve enjoyed her Aida and Elisabetta, as well as her first Four Last Songs with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and a couple of recitals. This Friday Dec. 4th 8 pm at Koerner Hall, she’ll be giving a recital with her regular pianist, Anthony Manoli, in a program of songs by Vivaldi, Bellini, Strauss and Liszt. This is a great opportunity to hear Radvanovsky, until her next opera engagement in town, which I understand is coming soon!
For the inveterate voice fans, there’s another opportunity to see Sondra Radvanovsky – in action as a teacher. She is giving the Riki Turofsky Masterclass in Voice on Tuesday Dec. 1st 2 pm at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building on the campus of University of Toronto. She’ll be putting the U of T Opera Program students through their paces. I attended her last masterclass there about three years ago, and I find her to be an excellent teacher – insightful and cogent in her comments, and always kind and encouraging. This is a free event. For the list of masterclass participants, go to
TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow (Photo: Sian Richards)
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a real “Heart of the Repertoire” program this week, an All-Tchaikovsky evening of his Violin Concerto with TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow as soloist, Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, and Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique” – talk about “meat and potatoes” programming!  Performances on Dec. 2, 3, and 5.The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra is adding to the symphonic forces in the Onegin selections on Dec. 2 and 3. Peter Oundjian conducts.
Pianist Jan Lisiecki
Arguably the hottest young Canadian pianist today, Jan Lisiecki is making waves on both sides of the Atlantic. He is giving a recital at Koerner Hall on Sunday Dec. 6 at 3 pm. On the program are works by Chopin, Mozart, Liszt and Mendelssohn. The recital is already sold out but do check with the box office for returns.
Pianist-lawyer Linda Ippolito is giving a noon hour recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on December 1st. Billed as Preludes and Pralines, Ippolito is playing some of her favourite works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Prokofiev and Billy Mayerl. Here’s the link to a pdf file of her complete program –  Be sure to line up ahead of time to ensure a seat.
Tafelmusik Director Ivars Taurins
This being December, we can expect a plethora of Christmas programming. Here are three that caught my eye.  Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is presenting Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, with soprano Jana Miller, countertenor Benno Schachtner, tenor James Gilchrist, and baritone Peter Harvey, under the direction of Ivars Taurins. Dec. 3, 4, 5th 8 pm at Trinity St Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West. There’s a matinee on Dec.6th.
Baritone Matthew Zadow
Elmer Iseler Singers, joined by the Amadeus Choir under the direction of Lydia Adams, is presenting Handel’s Messiah. Soloists are soprano Meredith Hall, mezzo Laura McAlpine, tenor Bud Roach and baritone Matthew Zadow. Performance takes place on Dec. 4th 8 pm at the Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen Street East in downtown Toronto.
Pax Christi Chorale conductor Stephanie Martin
For a departure from English Canada’s favourite Christmas piece of Messiah, why not attend the Pax Christi Chorale’s presentation of Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ under the direction of Stephanie Martin. Soloists are soprano Nathalie Paulin, tenor Sean Clark, baritones Olivier Laquerre and Matthew Zadow, and bass Alain Coulombe. Dec. 6th 3 pm at Grace Church on the Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road.

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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