Highlights | Canadian Ensembles Announce 2024-2025 Seasons

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Welcome to La Scena Musicale’s weekly Highlights, a roundup of classical music news from Canada and beyond. Many Canadian ensembles, from Club musical de Québec and Sinfonia Toronto to Vancouver Opera and Ensemble ArtChoral, are announcing their 2024-2025 seasons. Several Montreal musicians are releasing new albums this year, and Ravel’s Bolero may leave public domain in the summer.

Singing Valentines

La Scena Musicale just wrapped up its 14th annual Singing Valentines by giving free personalized serenades to seniors and paid serenades to those under 65, and in the process spreading joy and love. Free orders are closed, but paid orders are still open at https://myscena.org/serenades.

2024-2025 Seasons

Vancouver Opera is celebrating its 65th anniversary with four October and November 2024 Die Fledermaus concerts, three February 2025 Flight concerts, and five April and May Madama Butterfly concerts.

Vancouver Opera’s production of Turnadot (Photo provided by Vancouver Opera)

For the 2024-2025 season, Club musical de Québec is traveling the world through music! Its November 2024 concert is a foray into Bach music, starring Leonidas Kavakos on the violin, quickly followed by Israel Chamber Project that same month. Great Britain’s Tallis Scholars follow in December 2024. French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and clarinetist Martin Fröst star in their own concerts in March of the new year, while American baritone Thomas Hampson and German pianist Wolfram Rieger partner up to finish the season in April 2025.

Ensemble ArtChoral is hosting its 2024-2025 season at Montreal’s Maison symphonique under director Matthias Maute. The ensemble’s four concerts will reflect the season in which they’re being performed, with one in November 2024, and one each in January, March and May 2025.

Sinfonia Toronto’s 26th season includes 7 performances as part of the 2024-2025 Masterpiece Series, covering music by everyone from Mozart, Chopin, and Shostakovich to Astor Piazzolla and Barbara Assiginaak.

Sinfonia Toronto

Toronto-based Mirvish Productions is adding a production of Mamma Mia! (Globe and Mail) to its 2024-2025 season, with a seventh subscriber show yet to be announced. Previously announced performances include Disney’s The Lion King, Beetlejuice, and Back to the Future: The Musical.

Outside Canada, Opera Philapelphia, Sarasota Opera and Princeton Festival (all according to Opera Wire) have announced their 2024-2025 concert lineups.

Recent and Upcoming Shows

In her review of The Cunning Little Vixen (Opera Canada), performed by the Canadian Opera Company, Jane Forner calls the show “charmingly absurd.”

According to reviewer Janet Smith, Vancouver Opera’s performance of Don Pasquale (Stir) is “easy on the ears, and, as you watch the set’s sky turn from bright sun to pinky-purple dusk over the crooked TV antennas, lights glowing in all the apartment windows, this Don Pasquale more than pleases the eyes, too.”

On Feb. 14 and 15, Les Violons du Roy performed Fauré and Duruflé’s Requiems at Palais Montcalm under Christine Brandes, who took the place of Bernard Labadie for health reasons. The ensemble will travel to Montreal for a Feb. 18 concert at Maison symphonique.

Christine Brandes. Photo: Henry Dombey

On Feb. 16 and 17, Montreal-based folk singer and instrumentalist Séan Dagher, also a member of La Nef, will play sea shanties alongside Chor Leoni (Stir).

Poised to perform with the String Ensemble of the Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal (ECO) on Feb. 17, Yannick Rieu and Marianne Trudel sat down with La Presse to discuss their jazz careers and the Opus Prize Trudel recently won.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra will play Stravinsky’s Pulcinella at Roy Thomson Hall Feb. 24 and 25.

Alexandra Stréliski will appear at the Maison Symphonique (La Presse) on July 2 as part of the 44th Festival de jazz de Montréal. Tickets are now available.

Recordings and Debuts

The NAC has released Truth in Our Time, a musical tribute to late ABC World News anchor Peter Jennings and the fight against ‘alternative facts.’ The album includes a world first recording of Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 13 and Canadian composer Nicole Lizée’s Zeiss After Dark.

Montreal-based Swedish singer and composer Erika Angell is releasing her debut solo album, The Obsession With Her Voice, on March 8. Three tracks are already available for previewing: “One,” “Dress of Stillness,” and “Up My Sleeve”.

Montreal tabla performer Shawn Mativetsky, “a pioneer in bridging the worlds of Western and Indian classical music” according to his website, has released a single from his upcoming album, Temporal Waves. “Cortical Network Oscillations” is available on Spotify, with the full album launching April 12.

British guitarist Alexandra Whittingham has been signed onto Decca Records. The first of 10 tracks she’s recording for the label, Estrellita, is already out.

Orchestra and Ensemble News

Liviu Prunaru, a Romanian violinist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, has resigned from his position as concertmaster (The Violin Channel). He has held the position since 2006.

Opera and Choral News

This February, Opéra National de Paris is dedicating a space at the Opéra Bastille to Kaija Saariaho (Opera Wire). The composer’s 2006 work “Adriana Mater” was commissioned and premiered by the company.

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has announced the appointment of Daniela Nardi as their new Executive Director.

Instrument News

The Lyon International Chamber Music Competition has named the 10 string quartets that will compete from April 23 to 26, including Montreal’s Horatio Quartet. They will compete for a prize pool of €25,000 (around $36,000 CAD) and “a range of career development opportunities,” according to The Violin Channel.

The Joseph Joachim Violin Competition is open for applications (The Violin Channel) from now until March 31, with the competition taking place Sept. 16 to 28 in Hanover, Germany. Violinists who are applying must have been born between Sept. 29, 1991 and Sept. 16, 2008. The winner can expect to receive a €30,000 ($43,000 CAD) prize, with each finalist earning a third that amount.

Business and Politics in the Arts

According to The Violin Channel, the 2023 UK Musicians’ Census found that more than 37 per cent of LGBTQ+ musicians have “experienced or witnessed sexuality-based discrimination in the industry.” Only 27 per cent of respondents felt able to report this discrimination.

Ravel’s highly influential Boléro entered the public domain in 2016, but it may have its copyright reinstated until 2039 according to La Presse. The Paris-based Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM) will decide whether the work is a collaborative piece between Ravel and potential coauthor Alexandre Benois on June 24, which will impact co-author rights. This claim has been supported by the work’s sole living rights holder, Evelyne Pen de Castel (Crescendo Magazine), for over half a decade.

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