La Scena Musicale

Monday, 7 March 2011

This Week in Toronto (Mar. 7 - 13)

Composer Murray Schafer

Continuing with the New Creations Festival, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting a concert of works by John Adams, Jennifer Higdon and R. Murray Schafer on Thursday, March 10, 8 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall. Adams' Tromba Lontana, a short piece for two trumpets and orchestra, was originally commissioned for the Houston Symphony in 1986. For the curious, this evocative piece, played by the City of Birmingham Symphony, can be heard on Youtube at Interestingly, Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine was scheduled to be performed at the London Proms shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. It was deemed inappropriate given the circumstances, and Tromba Lontana was used as a replacement. The second work on the program, On A Wire, a piece for chamber ensemble and orchestra by Jennifer Higdon, is a TSO co-commission and will be receiving its Canadian premiere on this occasion. The centerpiece of the concert - a TSO commission and world premiere - is the Symphony No. 1 by Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. Peter Oundjian is at the helm. For those interested in this concert, do go the the TSO website and read the composers' notes on their creations. I find that when I do my homework, I get a lot more out of the concerts I attend!

Even though the COC's winter season is now history, opera fans need not despair - the University of Toronto Faculty of Music is presenting Mozart's ever-popular Don Giovanni, starring the voices of tomorrow. Miah Im conducts and Allison Grant is the stage director. No casting information at this time but you can be sure it will be singers with attractive, fresh, youthful voices and looking believable in their respective roles. Opening night is Thursday March 10 at 7:30 pm at the MacMillan Theatre, Edward Johnson Building on the U of T downtown campus. Additional performances on Friday and Saturday evening and there is a Sunday matinee as well. For details go to

The Toronto Operetta Theatre is presenting a rare piece - for Canadian audiences for sure! - the zarzuela Luisa Fernanda. I saw this about three years ago with Placido Domingo and mezzo Nancy Fabiola Herrera. It is full of lovely tunes and colourful costumes. The TOT production stars sopranos and COC Ensemble Alumna Michele Bogdanowicz and Miriam Khalil, as well as tenor Edgar Ernesto Ramirez and TOT artistic director Guillermo Silva-Marin. It opens on Wednesday March 9 at 8 pm at the Jane Mallet Theatre of the St. Lawrence Centre. The show continues on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. For details, go to

The highly innovative Tapestry New Opera is presenting The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G., a piece by Colleen Murphy and Aaron Gervais in a workshop reading of Act 1. According to the Tapestry website, this work is "a sprawling new multilingual work centered around a dangerous menage a trois in the heart-breaking world of sex trafficking." It has a huge cast, a few of them very familiar names - Catharin Carew, Jesse Clark, Claire de Sevigne, Lisa diMaria, Keith Klassen, Cory Knight, Andrea Ludwig, Chris Mayell, James McLennan, Shantelle Przybylo, Charlene Santoni, Curtis Sullivan, Krisztina Szabo, , Gerrit Theule, Michael York, and Monica Zerbe. Performances on March 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. For details, go to



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