This Week in Toronto (March 15 - 21)
Hvorostovsky is of course a frequent visitor to Toronto - I must have heard him here close to ten times since his first appearance here, around 1992. And I try to catch him wherever I can in my operatic travels. It is rare, however, to find Sondra Radvanovsky singing on local stages. This is particularly strange as she has been living in the GTA for quite a number of years, having married a Canadian. I heard her at the Met and Santa Fe as Violetta in La Traviata, but in Toronto, it was limited to only the LUNA concert of the first year of the Luminato Festival. If memory serves, she sang Casta Diva from Norma and wowed everyone. With her voice, it just takes two seconds and you just know that this is not your usual soprano voice. It is dark, rich, powerful, expressive, with stunning breath control and exemplary agility. It is, in fact, an authentic Verdi soprano, an extremely rare species. She arrives home fresh from a triumph as Elisabetta in Don Carlo at the Opera Bastille in Paris. I spoke with a friend who was lucky enough to catch her at the performance last Friday. She was in fabulous form, receiving endless ovations from the enthusiastic audience. Here is the photo of a smiling Radvanovsky backstage at the Opera Bastille after Don Carlo last Friday.
Another exciting event this week is the appearance of Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra (formerly the Kirov Orchestra), all the way from St. Petersburg. Anytime this orchestra tours, it is always an unforgettable event, so this time it'll be no different. There will be different programs on the two nights. The first, on March 16, has Berlioz's Royal Hunt and Strom from Les Troyens and selections from Romeo et Juliette, and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5; the second performance has Denis Matsuev playing Rach 3, and Shostakovich Symphony No. 15! Either program is terrific and if you can, go!