La Scena Musicale

Monday, 22 November 2010

This Week in Toronto (Nov. 22 - 28)

Photo: Conductor Nicholas McGegan







The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting two performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 8, conducted by Nicholas McGegan. Also on the program is Saint Saens Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor Op. 33, with cellist Joseph Johnson. British conductor McGegan is an internationally renowned baroque specialist, but he is also known for his Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss and Britten. He has received numerous awards, the most recent was on October 29 in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, when HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, formally made McGegan and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his "service to music overseas." The concert on Wednesday Nov. 24 is at an early starting time of 6:30pm, the so called "Afterworks" series where a concert typically lasts 75 minutes and performed without an intermission. In the TSO website, it specifically states that the TSO "encourages all beverages to be enjoyed while in your seat" - hand it to the TSO for being so accomodating! The concert on Thursday Nov. 25 is at its usual start time of 8 pm, and there is an addition of two more pieces to the program - Rameau's Suite from Dardanus, and Vivaldi's Concerto in B Minor for Four Violins Op. 3 No.10. On Saturday Nov. 27 1:30 and 3:30 pm, the TSO is presenting Meet the Orchestra, a program aim at children between 5 and 12, in an effort to demystify classical music and build an audience base for the future. Featured will be the Vivaldi Concerto for Four Violins, as well as the the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra concerto competition winner Blake Pouliot. Go to http://www.tso.ca/Home.aspx for information and tickets.

With the Christmas season drawing ever closer, various musical organizations are gearing up for a feast of Holiday music, the earliest of which are taking place this week. To put you in the mood, the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto is presenting Humperdinck's ever-popular Hansel and Gretel. It is not exactly clear why - perhaps because it involves children and it has a happy ending , this piece is typically Holiday fare. This is a good opportunity to hear the young, fresh, up and coming voices at the U of T Opera Program. All performances take place at the MacMillan Theatre, Faculty of Music on Nov. 25, 26 and 27 at 7:30 pm, and Nov. 28 at 2:30 pm.

The Vienna Boys Choir is another Christmas staple, and this year they are in Toronto to give a concert of Austrian folk songs, waltzes, classical and pop pieces as well as holiday favorites. It is at the Markham Theatre 171 Town Centre Blvd. on Thursday Nov. 25 - well worth a trek north!

Opera Kitchener, which I believed was formed after Opera Ontario (with Hamilton and Kitchener branches) ceased to exist a few years ago. This company will be performing La boheme at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga on Friday, Nov. 26 7:30 pm. This follows a staged performance in Guelph on Nov. 15 and a concert performance in Kitchener on Nov. 21. The Mississauga performance will be staged. The only soloist I am familiar with is tenor James Ciantar who recently sang the same role for Opera York at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. Similarly Sabatino Vacca conducted the run of three performances at Opera York. Other soloists are sopranos Tina Winter and Anne-Marie Ramos and baironte Jeremy Ludwig. Go to http://www.operakitchener.com/ for more details.

On the subject of opera, Opera in Concert will present the rarely heard La Dame Blanche by Boieldieu, on Sunday Nov. 28 at 2:30 pm at the Jane Mallet Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre.
I admit this piece is unfamiliar to me, and this represents a great chance to hear it. Go to http://www.operainconcert.com/ for more information. Overlapping this performance is the Off Centre Music Salon with Tea With the Mighty Four - and intriguing title! Well, the "mighty four" turned out to be Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann! Soloists are sopranos Alison Angelo and Eve-Rachel McLeod, and mezzo Erica Huang. For more information, go to http://www.offcentremusic.com/

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