Browsing: This Week in Toronto

Stormy Landscape, painting by Nicolas Poussin that inspired Barbara Monk Feldman’s Pyramus and Thisbe Two big news on the operatic front this week.  First is the opening of Pyramus and Thisbe at the Canadian Opera Company, the first mainstage Canadian opera since Randolph Peters’ The Golden Ass, with libretto by Canadian literary icon Robertson Davies, way back the last Century! Yes, it was 1999 when the COC was still performing in the Hummingbird Centre, previously known as the O’Keefe.   It starred the beloved Canadian mezzo Judith Forst. I recall enjoying the show. Sadly my positive reaction wasn’t shared by…

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COC La traviata (Photo: Michael Cooper) Monday being Canadian Thanksgiving, there’re very few major concert events, with everything starting the next day (Oct. 13), including the COC La traviata. The Canadian Opera Company’s fall season continues this week with its ultra-romantic, tradition-bound production of the Verdi warhorse, a few idiosyncrasies notwithstanding. I attended opening night and was very impressed by the three principals. Ekaterina Siurina was a beautiful Violetta, singing with gorgeous tone that’s warm and appealing. Her portrayal was softer and more gentle than many others, making the character more vulnerable. The high point of the evening was her…

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Soprano Barbara Hannigan conducts (Photo: www.barbarahannigan.com) The remarkable Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan makes her North American conducting debut at Roy Thomson Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 7 & 8 at 8 pm. A specialist in new music, Hannigan is a champion of contemporary works and has had many pieces composed specially for her. She was last in town for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival back in March in Benjamin’s opera Written On Skin. Now she’s back, singing and leading the TSO in a program of the familiar and the adventurous – Mozart arias and a Haydn symphony side by…

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Soprano Adrianne Pieczonka (Photo: Bo Huang) Canadian soprano and Toronto resident Adrianne Pieczonka makes a rare appearance on the Toronto recital stage on September 29th 8 pm at Koerner Hall, under the auspices of Soundstreams, an organization that specializes in the presentation of contemporary classical music.  Billed as Adrianne Pieczonka: Beyond the Aria, the soprano, together with mezzo Krisztina Szabo, sing an eclectic program that combines George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children with the Beatles.  They are accompanied by a chamber orchestra under the baton of conductor Leslie Dala.  There is a pre-concert chat at 7 pm, well worth attending…

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My Toronto concert picks for the week of September 21 to 27Joseph SoNow that we are in the third week of September, I am starting my weekly Toronto concert preview once again. Top on my list this week the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s season opener, with the great violinist Itzhak Perlman playing the Bruch violin concerto, under the baton of the TSO music director Peter Oundjian. Also on the program are Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas. This is a very popular program, plus Perlman is a perennial favourite in Toronto. I’ve heard that…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the Period of June 15 to 28~ Joseph SoThis is the last Weekly Preview of the 2014-15 concert season. Given there’s comparatively little concert activities going on right now, I’m combining two weeks into a single preview. This column will resume in mid-September. In the mean time, I’ll journey to the Munich Opera Festival to catch several Canadians performing there, and return in time for the Toronto Summer Music featuring my favourite soprano, Soile Isokoski in a masterclass, plus the great Garrick Ohlsson in recital. I wish all my readers a wonderful and musical summer.English…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of June 8 to 14~ Joseph SoSoprano Erin Wall (Photo: Tara McMullen)We’ve reached that time of year when there’s a decided lull in classical music events. The spring season has more or less ended, and the summer programming hasn’t yet started. But there are still a few interesting events like the TSO concerts going on this week, and Luminato Festival is starting next week. Mahler fans can look forward to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Mahler Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) in two performances, on Wednesday June 10 8 pm and Friday June 12 7:30 pm…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of June 1 to 7~ Joseph SoCellist Sharon Robinson and violinist Jaime Laredo (Photo: Christian Steiner)With the Pan Am Games getting ever closer, it seems that “American Programming” is front and center everywhere in town. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is bringing us All American, a program of American classics old and new, from Gershwin’s An American in Paris, to John Adams’ scintillating Short Ride in a Fast Machine, a piece that I seem to recall hearing at the New Creations Festival a couple of years back. It’s one of Adams’ most popular pieces.…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of May 25 to 31)~ Joseph SoSir Andrew DavisMusic lovers can look forward to performances this week of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, who is in town to conduct a series of performance to mark the 40th anniversary of his association with the TSO. Just last week, he led the TSO in a series of transcendent performances of the Verdi Requiem. It was music-making at its finest, but sadly attendance wasn’t what the shows deserved. Anywhere in Europe and UK, the three performances…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of May 18 to 24~ Joseph SoThe big news this week is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of the Verdi Requiem. This is such a divine work that for me totally defines the art of the great Giuseppe Verdi. A sacred piece that is at once spiritual and operatic. I first heard it in my freshman year at university and fell in love with it, and this love affair continues to this day. Sir Andrew Davis, Conductor Laureate of the TSO, is bringing with him his own fantastic quartet of soloists, soprano Amber…

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