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Monday, 15 September 2014

Cette semaine à Montréal : le 15 au 21 septembre



Le retour de Tharaud aux Violons Du Roy
Pour son retour en compagnie de ses complices dans la série des Grands Rendez-vous des Violons du Roy, le pianiste Alexandre Tharaud interprétera Beethoven et Mozart. Du premier, le Concerto pour piano no 2, et du second, le Rondo en la majeur. Le choix du chef : Thomas Rösner. Maison symphonique, 17 septembre, 14 h et 20 h. www.violonsduroy.com
 - Renée Banville

L’Ensemble Caprice reçoit Shannon Mercer
Pour lancer sa saison, l’ensemble Caprice rend hommage à une époque méconnue, celle de la cour impériale de Rodolphe II qui s’est établie à Prague à la fin du XVIe siècle. Grand protecteur des arts, l’empereur a permis l’émergence de plusieurs compositeurs de la Renaissance.
Ce premier concert, intitulé L’Or en musique, fera découvrir aux auditeurs des œuvres vocales et instrumentales des compositeurs flamands Philippe de Monte, Jacob Regnart et Charles Luyton ainsi que de l’Italien Aurelio Bonelli. Matthias Maute, directeur artistique de l’ensemble Caprice, a fait appel à la soprano Shannon Mercer.
Présenté en avant-première d’un concert qui sera donné en janvier prochain au Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York. 20 septembre – Salle Bourgie du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. www.ensemblecaprice.com
 - Justin Bernard

Nabucco à l’Opéra de Montréal
La 35e saison de l’Opéra de Montréal s’ouvrira avec Nabucco, premier opéra à avoir véritablement lancé la carrière de Giuseppe Verdi. La première aura lieu le samedi 20 septembre 2014 et trois autres représentations sont prévues les mardi 23, jeudi 25 et samedi 27 septembre.
www.operademontreal.com
 - Justin Bernard

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

This Week in Toronto (September 15 - 21)


While we in Toronto lament the end of an all too brief (and cool!) summer, we can look forward to a real silver lining - the start of the 2014-15 musical season!  It's a pleasure to report that this morning (Sunday Sept. 14 as I write) it was announced that Canadian tenor Andrew Haji won the Grand Prize at the 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition in the Netherlands, and with it 5,000 Euros and a Trophy. Haji is also the winner of the Press Prize (1,250 Euros) and the Jury Prize (500 Euros).  The IVC (as this competition is known) may not be the richest in monetary value among the many competitions around the world, but it's extremely prestigious and this win really bodes well for Andrew Haji in his future career.
Andrew Haji about to receive his Grand Prize at Awards Ceremony (Photo courtesy of 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition)


2014 marks the 50th anniversary of this august competition, and many of the winners of the past have gone on to significant careers. All eleven finalists have beautiful voices and abundant musicality, so it's a real feather in the Canadian's cap to be awarded the Grand Prize.  It was a very high powered jury, headed by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, as well as the great Heldentenor Siegfried Jerusalem, contralto Anne Gjevang, conductor Kenneth Montgomery, and former Vienna State Opera Intendant Ioan Hollaender. My warmest congratulations to Andrew Haji.  We can all look forward to his appearances this coming season as a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio.
Canadian tenor Andrew Haji with Chair of the Jury Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Photo courtesy of 's-Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition)

After a successful European tour - first in 14 years- the Toronto Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 2014-15 season on Thursday September 18th with the ever popular violinist Joshua Bell in Lalo's Symphonie espagnole.
Violinist Joshua Bell (Photo: Eric Kabik)

Also on the program are Capriccio espagnole by Rimsky Korsakov and Roman Carnival Overture by Berlioz. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts. Curtain is 7 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. On Saturday  8 pm at RTH and Sunday 3 pm at George Weston Hall, TSO's own brilliant violinist-concertmaster Jonathan Crowe is soloist in a mixed program called Arabian Nights, featuring the Firebird Suite (Stravinsky), Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov), and the exciting Bolero (Ravel). http://tso.ca/en-ca/Home.aspx

TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crowe (Photo:www.tso.ca)

 The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra's new season begins with four performances of Handel Fireworks with violinist Rodolfo Richter as Guest Director. The concert features works by Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, Heinichen, and Telemann. Concerts at 8 pm on Sept. 18, 19, 20, 21 - this last a matinee at 3:30 pm, all at Koerner Hall.
Violinist Rodolfo Richter gives masterclass (Photo:www.tafelmusik.org)

Maestro Richter will be giving a masterclass on September 20, from 1 to 3 pm at Room 330 Edward Johnson Building at the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $10. http://www.tafelmusik.org/


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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Cette semaine à Montréal : le 8 au 14 septembre

Berlioz à l’honneur au concert d’ouverture de l’OSM
Pour la deuxième saison consécutive, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal a choisi de commencer par Berlioz. Après La Damnation de Faust l’année dernière, une autre œuvre pour orchestre, solistes et chœur sera interprétée à la Maison symphonique: Roméo et Juliette, d’après la pièce de Shakespeare.
Kent Nagano dirigera l’OSM et le Chœur de l’OSM qui joue le rôle de la foule dans cette tragédie opposant deux familles, les Capulet et les Montaigu. Isaiah Bell, ténor, et Clémentine Margaine, mezzo-soprano, incarneront les deux jeunes amoureux. Le baryton-basse Philippe Sly aura l’occasion de s’illustrer, quant à lui, dans le rôle du Frère Laurent. 10, 11 septembre 2014 – Maison symphonique de Montréal. www.osm.ca
 - Justin Bernard

Programme de choix pour la 45e saison de Musica Camerata Montréal
Musica Camerata est reconnu comme l’un des bons ensembles de musique de chambre canadiens. Le premier concert de la nouvelle saison propose des quintettes insolites pour piano, violon, alto, violoncelle et contrebasse. Au programme figure un quintette de l’un des géants de la musique anglaise du 20e siècle, Vaughan Williams, regorgeant de belles mélodies. On y découvrira aussi un quintette de Louise Dumont-Farrenc, qui vécut en France au 19e siècle et dont les œuvres révèlent l’influence de Mendelssohn. Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, 13 septembre, 18 h. www.cameratamontreal.com
 - Renée Banville

Bach à Salle Bourgie
Les 13 et 14 septembre, sous la direction de Kent Nagano, l’OSM jouera également le concert d’ouverture de la Fondation Arte Musica. Celui-ci marque le lancement de la série « Intégrale des cantates de Bach » qui aura lieu tout au long de la saison à la salle Bourgie. Cet automne, deux autres concerts sont prévus, le 26 octobre et le 30 novembre. Pourront être entendus les sopranos Jana Miller et Aline Kutan, la mezzo-soprano Maude Brunet, le ténor Jacques-Olivier Chartier et le baryton Nathaniel Watson.
www.osm.ca
- Justin Bernard

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Monday, 8 September 2014

In Memoriam: Magda Olivero (March 25, 1910 - September 8, 2014)

In Memoriam:  Magda Olivero (March 25, 1910 - September 8, 2014)


The Last Verista:  Magda Olivero

Twenty fourteen has not been kind to the opera world.  This summer in particular, we've had in quick succession the passing of great tenor Carlo Bergonzi, the beloved soprano Licia Albanese, and now the legendary Magda Olivero in a Milan hospital after she had suffered a stroke earlier. Yes, they all lived to a grand old age, but for the living, their passing can only bring sorrow and pain.  A divine Liu, a dramatically intense Tosca, and a glorious Adriana, Olivero left an indelible mark on the operatic stage. She sang little in North America, and her appearance at the Met was limited to the single role of Tosca, a total of three performances in Lincoln Center in 1975 and seven on tour in 1979. By 1979, Olivero was near 70, an age when practically every other soprano have long retired or are only singing character roles. But the Olivero voice, her powerful sense of drama, indeed her remarkable artistry, remained intact.  Born in Saluzzo in northern Italy in 1910, Olivero studied voice in Torino and made her debut in 1933. She came into prominence in 1938 as Liu in the first complete recording of Turandot, opposite Gina Cigna as the Princess. Her career was cut short in 1941 when she got married and left the lyric stage.  She was persuaded to resume her career in 1951 by composer Francesco Cilea, in the title role of Adriana Lecouvreur, the role most associated with her for the rest of her career.  Her last formal operatic performance was as the woman in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine, but she continued to sing and even made recordings.  Many are available in private labels and now on the internet, particularly Youtube. In 1993 at the age of 83 (!), Olivero recorded arias and scenas from Adriana Lecouvreur.  She remained active in the opera scene in Italy to the end. Requiescat in pace, Magda Olivero.     

Here is the news report from La Repubblica:

http://www.repubblica.it/spettacoli/musica/2014/09/08/news/morta_magda_olivero_grande_soprano_milanese_aveva_104_anni-95289892/

And a more extended report from Quotidiano

http://www.quotidiano.net/magda-olivero-musichiere-1.192264

Here is a video documentary of Olivero on occasion of her 100th birthday:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTQHs1Ph7rA

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Lion King reigns in Montreal

....and banks a record breaking billion bucks on Broadway 
By Naomi Gold



The touring production of that upROARiously entertaining musical, The Lion King takes up residence in Montreal's Salle Wilfrid Pelletier this fall.  Evenko and Disney Theatrical Productions are reprising the show at Place des Arts, after a hugely successful 2011 run. This timeless, multimedia extravaganza is based on Disney's animated tale of Prince Simba, a precocious lion cub, who learns some of life's lessons along his destined path.  Elton John's music combined with the libretti of Tim Rice produced two mega-hits: "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", the latter of which won a 1994 Academy Award for Best Original Song.   The Lion King debuted on the Great White Way in 1997 -- garnering six 1998 Tony awards -- and it's the seventh longest running musical in Broadway history.  It has been seen by 70 million viewers in eighteen countries. Sets, costumes, lighting, staging, special effects and titanic puppetry complement the performances to offer great family viewing fare.  Children will be mesmerized throughout this two and a half hour production.  French surtitles are projected throughout the play, which runs from August 19th to September 9th.  For tickets and information, call PdA's box office or order online:  514-842-2112www.placedesarts.com. Prices start at $50.00.

The Lion King is currently making headlines around the world with a viral video, shot on a subway car in New York City's Manhattan Transit Authority. Broadway cast members broke into an (ostensibly) 'spontaneous' rendition of Elton John's chart-topping "Circle of Life", (a cappella of course), to the sheer delight of New York straphangers. The subway troupe of some 30 singers - comprising soloists and choristers - flash mobbed unsuspecting "A" train passengers on June 28th.  Weary NYC "workin' stiffs" were treated to an enthralling, inspirational performance as they traveled home from Manhattan's 59th Street/Columbus Circle station. Footage of the spectacle was posted online -promptly generating millions of youtube hits. Since MTA ridership reached one billion last year, the idea was to celebrate Broadway's first ever billion dollar show with a PR stunt to boast and further bolster the show's bottom line. 

Catch Lion King fever yourself by clicking this link.......and if you spot a roarin' lion roamin' around the metro, tell him to get off @Place des Arts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9QMM_nTuC4

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

This Week in Montreal: August 18 to 24



The McGill International String Quartet Academy (MISQA)


Seeking to promote the grand string quartet tradition, the MISQA presents eight concerts and ten masterclasses from August 10- to 23. Performances include the Keller String Quartet at the opening concert, and the Arcadia String Quartet at the closing one. Other participating string quartets include Calidore, Excelsa, Jubiliee, and Mucha (14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7 pm). Three young-and-upcoming quartets, Amber, Benten, and Penfield will arebe on stage August 16 and 23 at 2 pm. Nine professors emeritius have been invited to share their wisdom with the young ensembles. Concerts take place at Pollack Hall at 7 pm, save for the fledgling quartets, presented at 2 pm at Tanna Schulich Hall. www.misqa.com
 - Renée Banville

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

This Week in Montreal: August 11 to 17

The OSM’s Classical Spree – An Expanded Program

The third edition of the OSM’s Classical Spree (Virée classique) takes flight on August 14 with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, a huge free concert that brings together 1,000 singers at the Parc Olympique to perform under the baton of Kent Nagano. August 15 and 16, music lovers will have the choice of 30 different 45-minute concerts at low prices, presented in four halls, including the Maison Symphonique. Expect performances by world-class artists and a great variety of free activities for the whole family. www.osm.ca
 - Renée Banville

Arcadia String Quartet

The McGill International String Quartet Academy (MISQA)


Seeking to promote the grand string quartet tradition, the MISQA presents eight concerts and ten masterclasses from August 10- to 23. Performances include the Keller String Quartet at the opening concert, and the Arcadia String Quartet at the closing one. Other participating string quartets include Calidore, Excelsa, Jubiliee, and Mucha (14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7 pm). Three young-and-upcoming quartets, Amber, Benten, and Penfield will arebe on stage August 16 and 23 at 2 pm. Nine professors emeritius have been invited to share their wisdom with the young ensembles. Concerts take place at Pollack Hall at 7 pm, save for the fledgling quartets, presented at 2 pm at Tanna Schulich Hall. www.misqa.com
 - Renée Banville

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sondra Radvanovsky Offers Spectacular Toronto Summer Music Recital

Sondra Radvanovsky Offers Spectacular Toronto Summer Music Recital (Review)

- Joseph So

Koerner Hall / Thursday July 31st 2014 7:30 pm
Sondra Radvanovsky, soprano
Anthony Manoli, piano

Beethoven / Ah! Perfido  
Verdi / In solitaria stanza; Perduta ho la pace; Stornello
Rachmaninoff / A Dream; Oh, never sing to me again; How Fair this Spot; Spring Waters
Cilea / Io son l'umile ancella
Duparc / Chanson triste; Extase; Au pays ou se fait la guerre
Massenet / Pleurez, pleurez mes yeux
Copland / Simple gifts; Long time ago; At the river
Verdi / Pace, pace mio Dio

Encores: O mio babbino caro; I could have danced all night 


Radvanovsky and Manoli at Koerner Hall


One of the most anticipated events of the 2014 edition of the TSMF is the appearance of soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in recital. The Illinois-born soprano is arguably the greatest gift America has given to Canadian opera fans - an artist with an exceptional voice, a surfeit of dramatic acuity, abundant musicality and powerful stage presence. At one point in the evening, she revealed to the audience that she's been living in Canada, not far from Toronto, for the last 14 years, as she's married to a Canadian.  Yet her appearances here had been rare in the first ten of those years - I could only recall a guest appearance in Luna, the opera gala at Roy Thomson Hall that was part of the Luminato Festival in 2007.  If memory serves, she sang a terrific "Casta Diva" on that occasion. There was also a duo recital with Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky about three or four years ago. Her first big splash locally was Aida at the Canadian Opera Company in fall of 2010. It really gave Toronto opera fans a true taste of her voice.  This past spring, she sang her first Vier letzte Lieder with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. 

Radvanovsky's voice is comparatively rare among sopranos. It's a genuine lirico-spinto, with excellent agility and dramatic soprano aspirations for the future, as a voice typically darkens with age. The timbre is beautiful, particularly in the quieter moments, plus a great reserve for the climaxes. When high drama is called for, she can outsing anyone in pure decibels. Her technique is absolutely rock solid - there's never any fear that she might not make a high note. It's a huge voice, yet capable of the most delicate pianissimi that rival the legendary Zinka Milanov and Montserrat Caballe. I first heard Radvanovsky in La traviata at Santa Fe Opera around 2002. The voice then was much lighter, more lyrical compared to now. I believe Violetta is no longer in her active repertoire, having been replaced by other great Verdi heroines the likes of the Trovatore Leonora, Elisabetta in Don Carlo, Amelia in Ballo, Elena (Vespri), Aida, Puccini's Tosca, as well as the bel canto roles like Norma and the Donizetti's Three Queens.  In fact, it was her Elisabetta from Roberto Devereux earlier this year that gave Radvanovsky the complete triumph in Toronto that she so deserved. (Her Aida four years ago was superbly sung, but that nearly universally disliked production did her no favours.) In the intervening years, her voice has gotten darker while losing none of its flexibility, making her ideal in the heavier Verdi and Bel Canto operas. At the time of her COC Aida, I had the pleasure of interviewing Radvanovsky when she appeared for a noon hour concert at 96.3 FM, the interview of which is archived at http://blog.scena.org/2010/03/interview-sondra-radvanovsky-at-new.html  

It was a real coup for Toronto Summer Music to bring her on board for a concert on July 31.  With her was her long time collaborator and coach, pianist Anthony Manoli. Koerner Hall was nearly sold out with only the odd empty seat here and there. There was palpable excitement in the air, a kind of buzz that's reserved for the great divas and divos. She began with Beethoven's great concert aria "Ah! Perfido." Taken very slowly - especially the Adagio section - she brought out all the nuances of the music, making the expansive lines sounding almost like the cantilena in a Bellini aria.  Even at this slow tempo, the very long slow section held together well, thanks to the excellent work of pianist Anthony Manoli.  This was followed by three Verdi songs, all very well known, especially "Stornello." In these songs you can hear snippets of melodies which Verdi later recycled, with modifications, for his operas.  The four Rachmaninoff songs were from his Six Romances Op. 8 and Twelve Romances Op. 14 and 21, including two of my favourites, 'Ne poy krasavitsa' ("Do not sing to me again") and 'Spring Waters.'  Radvanovsky sang the 'Ne poy' with a ravishing half voice.  On the other hand, 'Spring Waters' requires plenty of volume and an ecstatic quality in the delivery. The soprano had plenty of both, using her huge voice and exuberant personality to let it rip and the effect was stunning. Kudos to Manoli for his fabulous virtuoso piano in what is arguably the flashiest of piano accompaniments. The first half ended with 'Io son l'umile ancella' from Adriana Lecouvreur. I grew up listening to Tebaldi singing this, so in my mind the bar is set very high. Radvanovsky sang with great dynamic shading just as it's intended by Cilea. It was a hugely satisfying reading of this beautiful aria. 

The second half opened with three Duparc melodies, all very familiar to the song enthusiast. These are delicate pieces and perhaps more suitable for smaller voices, but Radvanovsky sensibly scaled everything down so as not to overwhelm these gems. Then came for me the highlight of the evening, "Pleurez, pleurez mes yeux" from Massenet's Le Cid, an absolutely gorgeous aria, sung with refulgent tone, veritably dripping with pathos. I've always loved Caballe in this, and also the French soprano Francoise Pollet in her 1989 Erato recording. For me, Radvanovsky surpassed both ladies in this performance. As a nod to her American roots, Radvanovsky sang three of the most popular "Old American Songs" by Aaron Copland, often performed by the likes of Thomas Hampson, Marilyn Horne and Frederica von Stade.  The Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" is set to very moving text by Elder Joseph. The soprano got all teary eyed singing "Long Time Ago."  The formal part of the concert ended with a powerhouse rendition of "Pace, pace, mio Dio."   The opening line was sung as Verdi intended - beginning with the softest attack, swelling on a big crescendo and followed with a diminuendo, a very sustained line that requires a lot of breath and steady intonation.  For her it was a piece of cake. The long aria ended in a shattering climactic high B natural that brought down the house.  After many standing ovations, the soprano rewarded the audience with "O mio babbino caro" - personally I would have preferred something meatier, but it was beautiful just the same. Still the audience would not let her go.  She then sang "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady, complete with an interpolated high C at the end. I think the only diva who used to do that was Birgit Nilsson, notably in the party scene of the Decca 1960 Karajan recording of Die Fledermaus.  Well, now there are two of them! 

The audience went home happy.




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This Week in Montreal: August 4 to 10

National Youth Orchestra at Notre-Dame Basilica

The Frontenac Cultural Centre and its series Les Lundis d’Edgar celebrate 25 years with a performance of the touring National Youth Orchestra under Emmanuel Villaume in a program of Mahler, Strauss and Neal Gripp. Edgar Fruitier provides introductions. In partnership with the Théâtre de Verdure (closed this summer due to renovations). Aug. 4. www.accesculture.com
 - Renée Banville

Montreal International Tango Festival (August 5-10)

The 12th annual festival, as usual, brings together musicians from Argentina and Quebec, and hosts 12 internationally acclaimed master dancers presenting over 50 workshops for fans of tango. There are six dance evenings with orchestra (milonga) and free outdoor concerts. www.fitm.ca
 - Hassan Laghcha

Metropolitan Orchestre at the Mount-Royal Chalet

As part of the Campbell Concerts, the Metropolitan Orchestra, led by the charismatic Yannick Nézet-Séguin presents an enchanted evening at the spectacular Mount-Royal Chalet. On the program: Beethoven and Wagner. August 7, 7 PM. www.concertscampbell.accesculture.com
 - Renée Banville

The McGill International String Quartet Academy (MISQA)


Seeking to promote the grand string quartet tradition, the MISQA presents eight concerts and ten masterclasses from August 10- to 23. Performances include the Keller String Quartet at the opening concert, and the Arcadia String Quartet at the closing one. Other participating string quartets include Calidore, Excelsa, Jubiliee, and Mucha (14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7 pm). Three young-and-upcoming quartets, Amber, Benten, and Penfield will arebe on stage August 16 and 23 at 2 pm. Nine professors emeritius have been invited to share their wisdom with the young ensembles. Concerts take place at Pollack Hall at 7 pm, save for the fledgling quartets, presented at 2 pm at Tanna Schulich Hall. www.misqa.com - Renée Banville

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

This Week in Montreal: July 28 to August 3



Concerts Populaires Celebrates 50 Years


In June 1964, at the initiative of mayor Jean Drapeau, the first event of the Concerts Populaires took place: a homage to Vienna with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under the baton of Alexander Brott. This year, the Orchestre Métropolitain, directed by Julian Kuerti, will performs an integral reproduction of the 1964 inaugural concert with soprano Aline Kutan. Six concerts will beare presented between June 26 and July 31 at the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, Thursdays at 7:30 pm. www.concertspopulairesdemontreal.com  - Renée Banville

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Saturday, 26 July 2014

In Memoriam: Carlo Bergonzi (July 13 1924 - July 25 2014)

Carlo Bergonzi (1924 - 2014)

by Joseph So

I just heard the very sad news that Italian tenor Carlo Bergonzi has passed away on the evening of July 25th. A true giant in the world of opera, Bergonzi had a warm and beautiful lyric tenor, always used with elegance, musicality, and discerning taste. He never sang beyond his vocal limitations, which accounted for his longevity from around 1950 to 1995 when he bade farewell to the lyric stage, except for a single, unfinished performance of Otello at Carnegie Hall in May 2000. Who can forget his wonderful Cavaradossi, Enzo, Pinkerton, Radames, Andrea Chenier, Don Carlo, Don Alvaro, Don Jose, Riccardo, Turiddu, Canio, and many other roles in the Italian (and particularly Verdian) repertoire?  He always respected the composers' wishes, and sang what was on the written page. While many tenors blasted the high B flat at the end of Celeste Aida, he sang it 'morendo' as Verdi had intended. Saw him many times onstage starting in the late 60's until May 2000 at the Carnegie Otello, at the grand age of 75! My last encounter with Maestro Bergonzi was when he served on the jury of the Montreal International Music Competition around 2005.  He gave a masterclass that was unforgettable, so full of energy and the generosity of spirit. 

I am sure his passing will be widely reported shortly in the opera world. To honour and remember this great singer and artist, I plan to dig out his many recordings for a listen. Details of his passing can be found in the following link -

http://parma.repubblica.it/cronaca/2014/07/26/news/morto_carlo_bergonzi_il_pi_grande_tenore_del_900-92429201/

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

This Week in Montreal: July 21 to 27

Just for Laughs (July 12-26)

Big names at this year’s galas include Andy Samburg, Aziz Ansari, Russel Peters, Jim Gaffigan, and Seth Rogan. If you can’t make it to a gala show, you can still see Nick Offerman at Club Soda or your favourite funny Canadians at Homegrown, hosted by Debra DiGiovanni at l’Astral. Just for Laughs, with 1,700 artists from 19 countries, will offer 1,600 shows of which 1,200 will be free outdoor venues. www.hahaha.com
 - Hassan Laghcha



Concerts Populaires Celebrates 50 Years


In June 1964, at the initiative of mayor Jean Drapeau, the first event of the Concerts Populaires took place: a homage to Vienna with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under the baton of Alexander Brott. This year, the Orchestre Métropolitain, directed by Julian Kuerti, will performs an integral reproduction of the 1964 inaugural concert with soprano Aline Kutan. Six concerts will beare presented between June 26 and July 31 at the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, Thursdays at 7:30 pm. www.concertspopulairesdemontreal.com
 - Renée Banville

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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Toronto Symphony Orchestra Lands Recording Contract

Editorial Note:  Given the general decline of the recording industry, fewer and fewer musical ensembles' works are being documented for posterity. Many have taken to creating their own "in-house" label and marketing their products independently, for example the London and San Francisco Symphonies, as well as the TSO itself. The TS of course has had a number of contracts with prestigious labels in the past such as CBS and Finlandia labels. [Go to  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/toronto-symphony-orchestra-emc/ for a complete list of TSO Discography]  
This morning comes the surprise press release that the Toronto Symphony has signed a recording contract with the respected British label Chandos Records.  This is good news indeed, especially on the eve of TSO's European tour. The inaugural release is Rimsky Korsakov's Sheherazade, recorded live in June 2013.  Purists may scoff that it is not a studio recording, but that's par for the course with the recording industry today; besides a live recording give it a greater sense of occasion and excitement.  Let's hope this is the first of a very successful partnership between the TSO and Chandos.  

- Joseph So
TSO signs recording contract with Chandos Records
Chandos releases the TSO’s Sheherazade in August 2014
Chandos recording contract
Toronto, July 15, 2014 – Chandos Records announced today that it has signed a new recording contract with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO). The first TSO recording released by Chandos will be Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade, recorded live at Roy Thomson Hall in June 2013, led by TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian and featuring TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow. Two further TSO recordings are planned by Chandos.
“Chandos Records is delighted with this new collaboration with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra,” said Ralph Couzens, Managing Director of Chandos Records. “TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, and, more recently, TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian, have a distinguished history with both the orchestra and with Chandos Records. Chandos has produced many acclaimed recordings with both artists and looks forward to future projects with the superb Toronto Symphony Orchestra.”
Based in the U.K., Chandos Records Ltd. is one of the world's premier independent classical music record labels. The company is renowned for its superb sound and has won many prestigious awards for its natural sound quality. The live TSO recording of Sheherazade will be released by Chandos in Canada on August 29 and in the United States on August 26. The worldwide digital release date is August 5.
“I am delighted that the TSO is working with Chandos, a company that has recorded rich and diverse repertoire with an extraordinary group of orchestras from around the world,” said TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian. “We're particularly excited that this release coincides with our summer European tour.”
The TSO has a long history of recording, dating back to 1942. The TSO recording library consists of over 145 releases. Most recently, the TSO released eight recordings on its self-produced label, TSO Live.
The TSO Season Presenting Sponsor is BMO Financial Group
The TSO Official Airline is Air Canada
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About the TSO: Founded in 1922, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, recognized internationally as an outstanding orchestra. Currently celebrating his 10th season as Music Director, Peter Oundjian continues to lead the Orchestra with a commitment to innovative programming and audience development with performances that range from Masterworks to New Creations, Young People’s Concerts to Pops, all showcasing the exceptional talents of the Orchestra along with a roster of distinguished guest artists and conductors. In addition to the concert season, the TSO serves the larger community with TSOUNDCHECK, the original under-35 ticket programme; the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra; and music education and outreach programmes that connect students with acclaimed curriculum-based programming.

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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Toronto Summer Music Festival 2014 - a Preview


Toronto Summer Music Festival 2014 – A Preview

By Joseph So

Summertime, and the music is lovely...”

With apologies to Ira Gershwin for my corny appropriation (and alteration) of his lyrics from the divine Porgy and Bess, I must say it sums up perfectly my feeling of the state of summer music in our fair city of Toronto. For years, one would have to travel far and wide in the summer to get a classical music fix. But this is no longer the case – the TO summer is no longer the musical desert of yore. Yes I still make my annual treks to a few select places for opera – I had just returned from the Glyndebourne Festival and the Münchner Opernfespiele. But now I make sure that I am in town for TSMF (Toronto Summer Music Festival), a three-week celebration of classical music-making of a very high order. This year, more than ever, the offerings are enticing indeed.

The theme of TSMF 2014 is The Modern Age, a period that loosely encompass classical music in the first quarter of the 20th century, give and take a decade or so at either end. This takes us from around 1890 through to the 1930's, a period when music underwent extremely exciting transformations from tonality to serialism, culminating in the works of the so-called Second Viennese School. A look at the program of 2014 TSMF shows the emphasis however is on tonal music, highlighting the works of Late Romantic musical giants the likes of Strauss and Mahler, to the Impressionism of Ravel and Debussy, the Russian music masters Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Prokofiev, as well as the great English composers Elgar and Vaughan Williams. Also entering into the equation is the rise of popular musical idioms such as folk and jazz. With such a broad stroke, the 2014 edition of TSMF is ambitious, audacious, and exciting, with something for every musical taste. There are plenty of programming highlights to be sure, so my choices here reflects my personal taste. For full details, go to http://www.torontosummermusic.com/

Pianist Beatrice Rana

The two areas of focus of the 2014 TSMF remain chamber music and art of the song. The Festival opens with the Emerson String Quartet in a recital at the acoustically friendly Koerner Hall on July 22. Chamber cognoscenti will remember them as having played so beautifully on the soundtrack of The Late Quartet. Now we can hear them in person in a program of Beethoven, Schubert and Britten. The brilliant Italian pianist Beatrice Rana, winner of the 2011 Montreal International Musical Competition (Piano Edition) and the Silver Medal of the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition, will give a recital on July 23 at Walter Hall, in a program of Bach, Chopin and Prokofiev. The New York based Orion String Quartet will be in town July 24 for a program of Haydn, Brahms, and Dvorak, with special guest pianist Peter Serkin (who is a great pianist in his own right of course but old-timers like yours truly still think of him as son of the great Rudolf). It's extremely exciting for the Festival to present soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in a recital of songs and arias, including the works of Beethoven, Verdi, Cilea, Rachmaninoff, Duparc and Copland. (July 31 Koerner Hall). While not all the songs fall within the Festival theme, Radvanovsky is such a wonderful singer that even if she sings the telephone book, it'll be worth hearing! Anyone who saw her magnificent performance as Elisabetta in the recent COC Roberto Devereux will know what I mean.

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky

For the Art of the Song, audiences can experience the artistry of a great singer, British baritone Christopher Maltman together with the dean of collaborative pianist Graham Johnson on August 6 at Walter Hall. I had the great good fortune of hearing Maltman just last week, as Lescaut in Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Part of a stellar cast that included the hottest tenor on the planet Jonas Kaufmann and the super-glamorous Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais, Maltman more than held his own in a rather thankless role. The theme of Maltman's recital, The Soldier – from Severn to Somme, is one of remembrance, of the victors and victims of war in the songs by Mahler, Mussorgsky, Butterworth, Ives, Finzi and Poulenc. Graham Johnson is one of three artists giving public masterclasses as part of the Art of the Song program. The other two are baritones Francois LeRoux and Sanford Sylvan. Maltman will appear in a Musicians Up Close event on August 5th 2 pm in Walter Hall, just before the Johnson masterclass. Perhaps the biggest coup of TSMF 2014 is the presence of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Principals of the TSO will give a chamber recital of works by Dohnanyi, Mahler and Strauss (August 7 Walter Hall). The big event is the Closing Night Concert with the full TSO forces on August 12 at Koerner Hall before they leave for their European tour. The participation of the TSO this summer is surely a watershed that will make TSMF a major musical force to be reckoned with in the future.

In late May, I had the opportunity to sit down with TSMF Artistic Director Douglas McNabney for a wide-ranging talk. This was our fourth pre-festival talk, since his taking over the TSMF from Agnes Grossmann. He was in town to present the noon-hour preview concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, and spent the day busy dealing with TSMF business. Ever friendly, cordial and totally unflappable, McNabney fielded my questions with thoughtful, articulate answers. As usual, we reviewed the past season as well as looked a little into the future:

TSMF Artistic Director Douglas McNabney


LSM: Let's begin by first looking back at last year's festival. Would you say your goals were accomplished?
DM: Oh yes, very much so! Last summer we had a 30% increase in attendance, and our advance ticket sales this year are ahead of last year.

LSM: What do you think accounted for this big jump in attendance?
DM: The Festival has become better known, and we don't have any competition in the summer. I really believe the festival theme, La belle epoque, was partly responsible. Paris at the turn of the century...it caught the imagination of the public. It's a thread that ran through all the concerts.

LSM: That's great. Looking back at last season, what do you think could have been done better or can be improved upon in the future?
DM The big challenge is always reaching our public. We have 1200 seats to sell in Koerner Hall and 500 seats in Walter Hall. You would think if we could reach our target audience, we shouldn't have difficulty filling these seats. The traditional print and broadcast media have changed and they no longer pay as much attention (to classical music.) This year we've done something really interesting to increase the notoriety of the Festival. We've got the involvement of Toronto Symphony Orchestra...

LSM: That's quite a coup! How did you manage to get them on board? It should raise the profile of TSMF.
DM: They've put us in their season brochure. They announced the European tour and the first stop is Toronto Summer Music. We print 30,000 copies of our brochure; and they print 500,000! It always surprises me how many in Toronto have never been to the Festival, but that's only normal as it's only our 9th season. We're really beginning to establish ourselves, having events like the TSO put us into the spotlight. From there we can do more interesting things. We are really punching above our weight, to invite an organization like the TSO. A lot of it is based on personal connections... I know Andrew Shaw and Loie Fallis very well. These are people I've gone to school with. There is a trust there.

LSM: Part of building audience is through outreach. How's that going?
DM: The big thing we did last year was the “Shuffle” and it was a hit. It's based on the shuffle function of the ipod. For the first two years (of my tenure), we called it the Friday Night Experiment. I was always looking for an occasion to do something a little different, an alternate style. Some of our public would go to this and other public would come and it would be an interesting mix, and through that people may buy tickets to the regular season. (We found out) no, that's not how it works. Last year we found the right way – marketing it as almost a different festival. We have to go for a different public, serving a different public. It increases the notoriety of Festival and when people talk about TSMF they can find something in it for them, and it's not going to be the Emerson String Quartet, and it's fun and it's very high quality. These are not garage bands... it's going to be world music and serious jazz bands. I think we're doing the right thing.

LSM: How do you do the promotion for these new, alternate events?
DM: Last year we did the promotion in and around Heliconian Hall (the concert venue) in Yorkville, mostly with sandwich boards. It's 'Pay What You Can.' The Yorkville area is teeming with people; our concerts in Heliconian Hall were frequently full – we couldn't seat everybody for one of the tango shows. It's fun and different. We bring some of the Festival young artists into the program. They really love it – it's different and eclectic. They come and and play just one movement of the work. The idea is to do something a little different while maintaining the quality. It worked well last year and we're going to continue with it.

LSM: I'm curious – how did you get Sondra Radvanovsky on board?
DM: I work with Roman Borys of the Ottawa Chamberfest, two of us work together as a package. It means she's taking one week out of her holiday to do this, but she thought it was an interesting enough proposition. The details are still under negotiation. [Note: since the interview, the program has been announced, and it includes Ah Perfido! Beethoven's formidable concert aria, plus several operatic chestnuts and some of the best known songs by Rachmaninoff and Duparc]

LSM: I noticed that you are offering song recitals with your Art of the Song fellows...
DM: Yes. In the past, we've always had the Art of Song participants to sing within Mentors and Fellows programs. Many people complained that it wasn't enough of an occasion to highlight the singers. This year they'll have two concerts. Eight singers and five pianist, and we'll get to hear them all.

LSM : What are you most proud of in this year's festival?
DM: Bringing the Toronto Symphony is a huge undertaking. It's a tremendous financial responsibility, much bigger than anything the Festival had undertaken in the past. I had to work really hard to convince the board to do this. The TSO has been helping us...it's a wonderful collaborative effort, to help us reach potential new donors. For the TSO, the alternative was to do their regular, free concert at David Pecaut Square. That reaches a big public, but this way they get to play in Koerner Hall for the first time. There's a whole video team assembled to document the concert and their tour.

LSM: I've noticed that there is a strong Asian presence among the Art of the Song program participants, and there seems to be more Asians in the audience for both the symphony and the opera. Are you trying to tap into that?
DM: Yes we do have a very strong Asian presence (among the fellows) this year. We still don't have the (Asian) public yet. Having them as fellows, we hope we're going to bring in the audience. We have an Asian board member – he's young, energetic and well connected. We are working on building long term relationships with the communities – it's building trust and it's always long term.

LSM: As a voice fan, I must say I've really been impressed with the wonderful people you've brought in for the Art of the Song program, despite the disappointments of a few cancellations in the past...
DM: This year we have Christopher Maltman here to do a very well thought out program, with a real theme that takes you through World War One. Graham Johnson is here for a week to give masterclasses. This is just our 4th Academy, already we've had Sir Thomas Allen, Gerald Finley, Elly Ameling, Roger Vignoles, and Julius Drake, all amazing artists and teachers. The only one missing is Malcolm Martineau and I'm working on it!

LSM: Let's talk a little about this year's theme, The Modern Age. I've noticed that the programming have pretty much stayed within the boundaries of tonality rather than venturing into Serialism, which is of course the major musical transformation of this period. Can you say something about that?
DM: You know, one of my big passions is Schönberg and the Second Viennese School. I am interested in the whole creative process, his whole voyage, how he got into it following the horrors of World War One, its parallels in the visual arts, the Cubist movement and the German Expressionism, etc. But I won't be doing that as part of TSMF. We're doing the Chamber Symphony, still very tonal, but that's as far as we'll get this year. We'll have some of our young artists do this repertoire. This material has to be presented in a special way so as not to lose my audience...

LSM: Looking into the future – what would next year's theme be?
DM: It's Music of the Americas, a very rich and diverse thematic area with lots of possibilities. We'll take some of the American composers who studies in France – everybody from America studied in Paris in those days. Just Copland is a lot of fantastic music; we can also broaden into jazz. The problem next year is to limit it to the great music.

LSM: Thank you and my best wishes for a very successful Festival.




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This Week in Montreal: July 14 to 20

Festival de Musique de Lachine From July 5 to 19, the Festival presents an opening concert featuring violinist Alexandre Da Costa and the Acacia Ensemble. They will peform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and arrangements from operas. Two solo pianists are featured in the festival’s program: renowned performer André Laplante and young prodigy Daniel Clarke Bouchard. Myriam Farid and Olivier Godin perform a four-hands piano. Notable in chamber music is the duo of violonist Kerson Leong and pianist Philip Chiu, the Trio Triple Forte with pianist David Jalbert, violinist Jasper Wood, and cellist Yegor Dyachkov, as well as Flûte Alors!, a recorder ensemble that proves to be a veritable journey into history. As far as vocal arts, the ensemble Vivavoce performs motets from the Renaissance through contemporary music. The Découvertes concert introduces the Quatuor Fandango Quartet, a young guitar quartet formed in 2009. The Sinfonietta du Festival and its conductor Vincent Lapointe present Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-flat major and Tchiakowvsky’s Serenade for Strings. Concerts take place at L’Entrepôt Performance Hall or Saints-Anges Church in Lachine. www.concertslachine.ca 
 - Renée Banville

Just for Laughs (July 12-26) Big names at this year’s galas include Andy Samburg, Aziz Ansari, Russel Peters, Jim Gaffigan, and Seth Rogan. If you can’t make it to a gala show, you can still see Nick Offerman at Club Soda or your favourite funny Canadians at Homegrown, hosted by Debra DiGiovanni at l’Astral. Just for Laughs, with 1,700 artists from 19 countries, will offer 1,600 shows of which 1,200 will be free outdoor venues. www.hahaha.com 
 - Hassan Laghcha

Julian Kuerti

Concerts Populaires Celebrates 50 Years In June 1964, at the initiative of mayor Jean Drapeau, the first event of the Concerts Populaires took place: a homage to Vienna with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under the baton of Alexander Brott. This year, the Orchestre Métropolitain, directed by Julian Kuerti, will performs an integral reproduction of the 1964 inaugural concert with soprano Aline Kutan. Six concerts will beare presented between June 26 and July 31 at the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau, Thursdays at 7:30 pm. www.concertspopulairesdemontreal.com 
 - Renée Banville

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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Russian Songs / Yuri Gorodetski, tenor (CD Review)

Russian Songs

Yuri Gorodetski, tenor
Tatiana Loisha, piano
ATMA Classique ACD2 2690
****      




I first heard Belarusian tenor Yuri Gorodetski at the Queen Elisabeth Competition (Belgium) in 2008 where he won Fifth Prize.  My impression at the time was a very nice lyric tenor, used with taste and sensitivity, as evidenced in a most poetic and heart-felt ‘Kuda, kuda’ from Eugene Onegin. At the end, he had tears welling up in his eyes. Four years later, he reprised this aria at Chant 2012 in Montreal. While he didn’t win the grand prize – that was won by Canadian baritone Philippe Sly – Gorodetski received the ATMA Classique Prize. This disc, recorded in Salle Françoys-Bernier, Domaine Forget in April 2013, is the result of that award. The program of Russian songs by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff was a natural choice. These mostly familiar pieces are strong on melancholia – even the happy ones seem to be tinged with traces of sadness. Gorodetski, with his plaintive tone and a well-developed mezza voce in the middle register, is an ideal interpreter of these pieces. There is however a fly in the ointment - his tendency to sing the extreme top notes too “open” as in the high B in the famous ‘Spring Waters’ by Rachmaninoff (Track 12). This unfortunately gives his singing a strident quality. When he attacks a top note with too much force, as in the high C at the end of “Davni l’ moj drug” (Track 20), the line is distorted. Interestingly, I never noticed this technical issue in  the QE Competition back in 2008. These quibbles aside, there is still much to enjoy on this debut album. The well-produced booklet has an essay by Irene Brisson on Russian songs, artist bios, and song texts in Russian, French and English. The recorded sound is clean and warm.  A special kudos to Belarusian pianist Tatiana Loisha, who is supportive of the singer and technically up to the demands of the bravura piano accompaniment, especially in the Rachmaninoff. Recommended for fans of the Russian song repertoire. JOSEPH SO

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As Long As There Are Songs / Stephanie Blythe (CD Review)

As Long As There Are Songs

Stephanie Blythe
Craig Terry, piano
INNOVA 875  (55min 32sec)  www.meyersound.com
****



There have been plenty of opera divas over the years trying their hand at pop. Just because these ladies are wonderful in opera doesn’t always mean success as the two genres pose totally different technical and stylistic demands.  Singing intimate pop songs in an operatic fortissimo, with excessive vibrato, rigid rhythm and a general lack of “swing” are surefire reasons for unidiomatic results.  The best ones, Eileen Farrell of the past comes immediately to mind, sing naturally, without any hint of operatic artifice.  Based on this disc of 14 popular American songs, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe qualifies as a fine pop singer. From Irving Berlin to Harold Arlen to George Gershwin, Blythe sings “naturally” with clear diction, capturing the spirit of each song. Personally I prefer the sad songs, which she sings in an exquisite half voice, like ‘Always’ and “When You Wish Upon a Star.’ For the upbeat songs, she brings her chest voice to the very top – totally verboten in opera – and its creates a certain "Ethel Merman forcefulness" to these numbers. The disc uses Meyer Sound’s new “Constellation Acoustic Technology” creating a very natural ambiance, as if the listener is in the room with the singer. Given this realistic acoustic, one wish there were an audience complete with applause. As it stands, it's just odd that there's dead silence after the end of a song. Here is a video clip where Blythe talks about the recording process - http://meyersound.com/multimedia/?m_id=177#179   Recommended for fans of Blythe and for opera fans who want to venture into old standards.  JOSEPH SO 

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Le Nouvel ensemble vocal - enfin un chœur a capella juste!

Par Marc-Olivier Laramée

En juin, un nouvel ensemble vocal fit son apparition sur la scène montréalaise de la musique classique. Le chant choral occupe une place de plus en plus importante au Québec, mais peu de chœurs peuvent se prévaloir du titre de chœur professionnel. L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, avec son nouveau chœur de chambre professionnel ou bien le Studio de Musique ancienne en sont de bons exemples.

Ce nouveau chœur est formé de chanteurs provenant des universités McGill, Concordia et de l’Université de Montréal d’où provient justement le chef de chœur Pascal Germain‑Berardi. Le chœur est aussi soutenu par plusieurs anciens Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, ensemble dont M. Germain‑Berardi a aussi fait partie.

Ce concert avait pour objectif de lancer ce nouveau projet, d’établir des bases en vue de prochains concerts. « J’étais entouré de jeunes musiciens de qualité ne demandant qu’à avoir des occasions pour performer… » dit le chef. Ces chanteurs ont répondu présent, donnant ainsi une performance a cappella d’une justesse rarissime dans le chant choral. Avec des effectifs restreints de quatre chanteurs par voix, le résultat est fort surprenant.

Pour débuter le programme, une œuvre sortant des classiques du chant choral, Mirages sur le désert de Gobi, de Se Enkhbayar. Cette œuvre tire son inspiration de la musique orientale de la Mongolie. Le public fut transporté dans un univers contradictoire par les effets sonores du chœur et méditatifs du désert, cet univers accompagné d’une voix fraîche parfaite d’une soprano, l’audience se sentait transportée tout droit en Mongolie.

Par la suite, un vent estival emplit la salle avec l’interprétation des 3 Chansons de Charles d’Orléans de Claude Debussy. Bien que l’arrimage des différentes voix ne fut pas à son meilleur, la troisième chanson fut la mieux réussie.

S’ensuivirent deux compositions. Lève-toi, une pièce inspirée du Cantique des Cantiques, une œuvre originale du chef lui-même. Cette pièce rendue sous la forme d’un motet était d’une pureté et finesse cristallines. Les qualités vocales du chœur furent mises à l’honneur. Une justesse parfaite! La deuxième composition, T’en souviens-tu Godin? de Jean‑Christophe Arsenault, un jeune compositeur québécois, est inspirée de l’œuvre du très connu ministre de l’immigration et écrivain Gérald Godin. On peut percevoir toute l’envergure du travail fait par Godin. L’histoire du Québec, ses échecs et ses défis. Pour terminer la première partie, le Magnificat d’Avro Pärt ainsi qu’une œuvre du pédagogue de la musique hongroise, Evening Song de Zoltán Kodály.

La deuxième partie, elle, était dédiée aux compositeurs des 18e et 19e siècles. Tout d’abord, le Miserere Mei de l’italien Antonio Lotti. Le chant sacré est souvent bien chanté mais encore plus souvent mal interprété. Heureusement, ce nouveau chœur a réussi à marier les deux. Le style, l’ambiance, le sens de l’œuvre et encore une fois l’élément le plus important la justesse, tout y était!

Vient ensuite mon coup de chœur, le Concerto pour Chœur de Sergeï Rachmaninoff. Cette œuvre est complète. Que ce soit ici la légèreté et agilité des voix de femmes dont c’était la meilleure performance ou bien la profondeur et la solidité des hommes. Le sérieux de la religion orthodoxe et le souci de l’équilibre des voix étaient extraordinaires. Les 16 chanteurs ont tout donné et tout fait pour créer un amalgame équilibré tel un bon vin.

Pour terminer le concert, le Pater Noster de Giuseppe Verdi ainsi que trois motets d’Anton Bruckner. Le Pater Noster tout comme le Magnificat de Pärt manquaient tous deux de coordination. Les tempi semblaient vagues. Dans le cas des motets, parmi Locus Iste, Vexila Regis et Os Justi, le deuxième remporta le prix d’interprétation. Même les silences chantaient!

On peut dire que dans l’ensemble, la justesse est l’élément fondamental qui distingue ce chœur des autres. Malgré quelques faux pas, avec un travail de cohésion entre les membres et une attention plus particulière à regarder le chef pendant le concert, ces chanteurs pourraient devenir un incontournable parmi les chœurs professionnels.

Concert inaugural du Nouvel ensemble vocal
Direction : Pascal Germain-Berardi
Samedi 14 juin 2014, 20h00
Paroisse de la Nativité de la Sainte-Vierge, 3200 Ontario, Montréal 

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Le Festival de Lanaudière du 8 juillet au 10 août

par Justin Bernard

Pour cette 37e édition, le pianiste Alain Lefèvre, ambassadeur artistique du festival, fera le concert d’ouverture. Au programme, une œuvre de Bach transcrite par Liszt, une sonate de Haydn et une autre de Rachmaninov, les 24 préludes de Chopin et La Valse de Ravel. 8 juillet.

Pour souligner le 150e anniversaire de naissance de Richard Strauss, trois des œuvres du compositeur seront interprétées : le poème symphonique Don Quichotte avec solistes, accompagnés par l’Orchestre du Festival, que l’on pourra entendre dans un autre poème symphonique, Don Juan, et dans la suite orchestrale extraite du Chevalier à la rose. À la direction, Jean-Marie Zeitouni. Solistes : Stéphane Tétrault, violoncelliste, et Brian Bacon, altiste. 12 juillet.

Les Violons du Roy, dirigés par Bernard Labadie, seront présents au festival avec un programme qui comblera les amateurs de musique baroque : une cantate en compagnie de la soprano Sophia Brommer et deux suites orchestrales de Bach ainsi que le motet Sileti venti de Haendel. 19 juillet.

Après Beethoven et Schumann, c’est Brahms que la Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie de Brême mettra à l’honneur dans deux concerts très attendus. Sous la direction de Paavo Järvi, les deux premières symphonies, deux concertos et deux solistes : le pianiste Lars Vogt et le violoniste Christian Tetzlaff. 2 et 3 août.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin dirigera l’Orchestre Métropolitain dans la Symphonie no 8 de Beethoven, la Siegfried Idyll de Wagner, le Prélude de Tristan et Isolde et, enfin, une version orchestrale du Liebestod. 6 août.

Pour la dernière soirée classique, Kent Nagano dirigera l’OSM dans la Symphonie no 2 « Résurrection » de Mahler. Solistes : Erin Wall, soprano, et Susan Platts, mezzo-soprano. 9 août.