Browsing: La Scena Online

by Paul E. RobinsonI try to get to Dallas as often as I can to bask in the glory of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the world’s great concert halls. After listening to concerts in other venues, it is always a shock to experience the Meyerson. To hear every instrument in the orchestra as it was meant to be heard, and to hear the perfectly blended sound of a fine orchestra, with a presence that is palpable, is satisfaction beyond words. Simply put, as the saying goes: “You had to be there!”Of course, the Meyerson is simply…

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by L. H. Tiffany HsiehThe Toronto Symphony Orchestra was one gorgeous band Thursday night in a lush program that opened and closed with Mahler’s Blumine and Symphony No. 1, the Titan, respectively.Music director Peter Oundjian cleverly programmed this massive work that was originally a two-part, five-movement symphonic poem, which Mahler turned into a symphony after three performances by dropping the second movement that is Blumine.From the start, Oundjian displayed total control over each nuance and climax, bringing out precision, passion and, most importantly, excitement from his more-than-capable players.Blumine, which means flower, was lovely with subtle colours throughout its lyrical form. TSO principal trumpeter Andrew McCandless…

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The great Italian baritone Giuseppe Taddei, who sang with all the opera greats the likes of Tebaldi, Callas and Pavarotti, died in Rome at the age of 93 on Wednesday (June 2, 2010), just short of his 94 birthday which would have been on June 26. A native of Genoa, he passed away at around 1530 GMT in his own house in Rome. Taddei began his career at the age of 18 conducted by Toscanini, and sang in opera houses throughout the world into his 70s. I had the great good fortune of hearing him around 1986 or so at the…

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Photo : Gunther Gampe9e Édition du concours musical international de montréal (CMIM)Débutée le 25 mai avec les épreuves quart de finale et demi-finale, l’édition Violon 2010 du CMIM se poursuit les 1er et 2 juin au Théâtre Maisonneuve. L’Orchestre Métropolitain sera dirigé par Jean-Philippe Tremblay. Le programme de l’épreuve finale consiste à interpréter un concerto en entier tiré de la liste officielle du Concours. C’est à l’issue de cette épreuve que le président du jury proclamera les lauréats qui se partageront plus de 150 000 $, dont un Premier Prix de 30 000 $, un programme de développement de carrière…

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by Paul E. RobinsonThe 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death is in 2011, but conductors and orchestras are already programming his music at every opportunity – Symphony No. 2 with Jaap van Zweden in Dallas at the end of May, for example; and more recently, Symphony No. 1 with Peter Bay leading the Austin Symphony.Mahler’s Long Lost Blumine Blossoms on its OwnMaestro Bay opened the evening’s programme with Blumine, which began its life as part of the Symphony No. 1 until Mahler decided it didn’t belong there after all.At the first three performances of the Symphony No. 1 in the 19th…

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May 29 marks the 113th anniversary of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s birth. He was born to a Jewish family in Brno, the Czech Republic on May 29, 1897. A child prodigy, Korngold studied with Zemlinsky, and composed a ballet at 11 and his first orchestral work at 14. Among his most popular works is the opera Die Tote Stadt, which he composed when he was all of 23. Today this is considered his masterpiece, together with his violin and cello concertos. But as classical music increasingly moved away from late-Romantic sensibilities to the more hard-edged, angular style of serialism during his lifetime,…

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Pianist Ingrid Fliter (Photo: Sussie Ahlburg)The concert pick for me this week is the appearance of Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She is playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21. She won the Silver Medal in the 2000 Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the same year that the Chinese pianist Yundi Li – now re-branded as Yundi – won the Gold Medal, the first time that prize was awarded for many years. Despite coming in second, Ms. Fliter has gone on to a highly respectable career. A glance at her 2010-11 season on…

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On Monday May 24, the opera world lost a fine singer in soprano Anneliese Rothenberger, who passed away in Munsterlingen, Switzerland after a brief illness. Rothenberger had a high soprano of crystalline beauty, ideal in soubrette and light lyric roles of Mozart and Strauss. She also was highly regarded in operettas as well as contemporary music, venturing into the works of Henze, Berg, Hindemith, Orff and Pfitzner. A beautiful woman and a fine actress, her Lulu was considered a sensation. Born in Mannheim, Germany, Rothenberger studied with Erika Muller and made her debut in Koblenz in 1943. Later she joined…

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by Paul E. RobinsonBach’s St. Matthew Passion is one of the great masterpieces of Christian music; its music is sublime and inspiring, and its structure is one of its great strengths. Crowd reaction to Christ’s suffering is built into the telling of the story, and chorales in which the congregation is expected to participate, are also integral to the piece. A few years ago, American composer David Lang appropriated this structure as the inspiration for a work of his own, The Little Match Girl Passion, based on the well-known story by Hans Christian Andersen. Conspirare’s superb Company of Voices recently…

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Photo: Igor StravinskyThere are a number of high profile concerts this week. For voice fans, the disappointment is the postponement of Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja’s Roy Thomson Hall Vocal Series recital to November 19th. Originally scheduled for mid November 2009, it was postponed once already, to this coming Friday. A few days ago, I got word that Mr. Calleja decided to postpone the Toronto recital yet again, due to a “minor surgical procedure” he was going to undertake on his nose. For singers, anything to do with the face – especially the nose – is not to be taken lightly,…

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