Browsing: This Week in Toronto

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of Dec. 15 to 21 Joseph SoNow that we’re in mid December, Holiday Season programming is in full swing. Recently I was asked if I have a favourite Messiah. Well, it’s like asking someone pick one’s favourite child! When I am in the mood for a grand production, I go to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah – there’s just something majestic in hearing a full orchestra with modern instruments, together with a huge choir, in this glorious music. However, I wouldn’t want to go without the more intimate and evocative Messiah by the Tafelmusik…

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My Toronto concert picks for the week of Dec. 8 to 14 – Joseph SoDonnell Leahy and Family in a Celtic ChristmasFor those interested in classical but lighter fare this Holiday Season, try Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Celtic Christmas: Donnell Leahy and Family, billed as an evening of fiddling, dancing, and story-telling. Juno winning Donnell Leahy is joined by his family and special guest Natalie MacMaster. TSO pops conductor Steven Reineke is at the helm; choral forces supplied by the Etobicoke School for the Arts Chorus. Tuesday Dec. 9 at 8 pm, and Wednesday Dec. 10 at 2 and 8…

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My Toronto concert picks for the week of Dec. 1 to 7 – Joseph SoEarly December is arguably the busiest time on the classical music calendar in Toronto. It’s a time when one can catch “regular” programming as well as works geared to the Holiday Season. (By mid December however, the concerts are predominantly religious-themed.) Top on the list for voice fans is the concert performance of Rossini’s William Tell conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and the whole orchestra and chorus of the Teatro Regio di Torino. It is being presented by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as part of its Masterworks…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the week of Nov. 24 to 30 – Joseph So Conductor Andrey Boreyko (Photo: Christoph Rattger)At the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week, Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko makes a welcome return to conduct an interesting program of Stravinsky – Petrouchka and Pulcinella – juxtaposed with the classical Haydn. Guest soloist is Argentinean pianist Ingrid Fliter. Since she burst onto the scene winning second prize – to Yundi Li’s first – at the 2000 Warsaw Competition, she has built an enviable career on the stages of the major concert halls of the world. If you missed her appearance…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of Nov. 10 to 16 – Joseph SoJan Lisiecki (Photo: IMG Artists)Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki certainly has one of the highest profiles among Canadian classical artists today, and he’s still only 19 years old! I remember sitting in on a recording session of his at Koerner Hall in January of 2013 and interviewing the young man afterwards. His maturity towards his art was remarkable, yet he was still at the time very playful with people dear to him, and naturally a fun-loving teenager. You can read my interview with him here – http://www.scena.org/lsm/sm18-7/sm18-7_lisiecki_en.html…

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My Toronto Concert Picks for the week of Nov. 3 to 9 – Joseph SoAmerican pianist Jeremy Denk (Photo: Jennifer Taylor)Toronto piano fans are truly blessed this fall, with the appearances of a string of pianists of the top rank. A couple of weeks ago, we had the brilliant Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz, and this week it’s the visit of the terrific American Jeremy Denk at Koerner Hall on Nov. 9 3 pm. The program includes works by Haydn, Schubert, Janacek, Mozart and Schumann’s Carnaval Op. 9. https://performance.rcmusic.ca/event/jeremy_denk First Prize winner Chinese pianist Yang Liu (Photo: Andrew Lee)(l. to r.) Rachel…

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My concert picks for the week of October 27 to November 2 – Joseph SoOpera Atelier’s Alcina (Wallis Giunta, Allyson McHardy, Meghan Lindsay) Photo: Bruce ZingerThe big news in opera this week is Opera Atelier’s Alcina, which opened last Thursday at the Elgin Theatre. Given OA’s specialty is baroque opera, it doesn’t seem possible that this is OA’s first staging of a Handel opera. Well, apparently it is, but better late than never! I attended the opening night last Thursday Oct. 23, and it was a knockout of a production. For the first time, OA is using video projections to…

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My Concert Picks for the Week of October 20 to 26- Joseph SoSoprano Meghan Lindsay and seven men in OA’s Alcina (Photo: Bruce Zinger)Opera Atelier, Canada’s premiere Baroque opera company is staging Handel’s Alcina as its fall season presentation. According to OA’s publicity material, this marks the first time the Company has used film to enhance traditional painted backdrops so expertly executed by Gerard Gauci. I have not yet seen any production photos – not available until Oct. 22 – but you can get a taste of the creative process in this Youtube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUaUyfZxBbk The cast includes…

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This Week in Toronto (Oct. 6 – 12) – Joseph SoOn the heels of a spectacular season opening Falstaff, the Canadian Opera Company unveils its second opera of the fall season this week, the tried and true Madama Butterfly production directed by Brian MacDonald first seen more than twenty years ago. The spartan yet poetic and evocative production has held up well, and it’s probably the most revived production at the COC. The Puccini warhorse with its tragic, East meets West love story always sells well in multicultural Toronto. There will be a total of twelve performances for this run, with all…

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This Week in Toronto (Sept. 29 – Oct. 5)Joseph SoBass-baritone Gerald Finley (Photo: Sim Canetty-Clarke)Opera fans rejoice – the Canadian Opera Company’s 2014-15 season is finally upon us! The first of two productions, Falstaff, marks the return to the COC of the great Canadian baritone (or bass-baritone as he is now billed) Gerald Finley. I would say he is currently the top Canadian baritone in the world today, combining an exceptionally beautiful voice with consummate artistry. This Robert Carsen directed show is a co-production with Covent Garden, La Scala, the Met, and the Netherlands Opera. The COC cast is proudly…

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