La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 3 April 2011

This Week in Toronto (Apr. 4 - 10)

Soprano Angela Gheorghiu (

For voice fans the big news this week is the appearance of Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu in Toronto, with the COC Orchestra conducted by Steven White on April 7th, 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. Gheorghiu is of course one of a handful of superstar opera divas today, a group that includes Anna Netrebko, Renee Fleming, and Cecilia Bartoli. Every bit of news of the soprano is devoured with gusto by her legions of fans, and believe me there's been plenty of news lately! First it was her much publicized divorce from her hubby French tenor Roberto Alagna - although according to the most recent news reports, the two may have reconciled. The other big news is her most recent cancellation, that of Juliette at the Met for reasons that are not entirely clear. What is very clear however is Gheorghiu has a gorgeous voice and a stage persona that only the authentic divas can command, and Torontonians will get a chance to experience her magic first hand. This concert will be her Toronto debut. For program details and ticket information, go to

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting Cape Breton Ceilidh, a tribute to Celtic music and culture this week in three performances at Roy Thomson Hall, April 5 at 8 pm, and April 6 at 2 and 8 pm. Canada's pre-eminent Celtic group, The Barra MacNeils stars with TSO guest conductor John Morris Russell in this celebration. Details at

The other important Toronto Symphony Orchestra event this week is the performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica" led by the terrific American maestro Jame Conlon. For the opera buffs, Conlon is known as a great opera conductor, but he is also an estimable leader of symphonic concerts. Here we'll get a chance to hear him in person with the TSO on Saturday April 9 at 8 pm. Also on the program is an extremely interesting piece - a piano concerto by Erwin Schulhoff, a Czech-born victim of the Holocaust. Orion Weiss is the pianist. Rounding out the program is Dvorak's Carnival Overture.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, as the name implies, focuses on the baroque repertoire. However it has been exploring for some years Beethoven's symphonies on period instruments. This week Tafelmusik is presenting for the first time Beethoven's 9th symphony, with a quartet of soloists including soprano Sigrid Plundrich, mezzo Anita Krause, tenor Rufus Muller and baritone Christopheren Nomura, under the direction of Bruno Weil. The performances are at Koerner Hall on April 7 at 8pm, repeated on April 9th at 8 pm and again on April 10 at 3:30 pm. Details at

And finally I want to mention an upcoming joint recital by the COC Ensemble Studio and the artists from Opera de Montreal's Atelier lyrique. I attended such an event last year and it was a great opportunity to hear young Quebec singers whom we normally don't get to hear in Toronto. The free noon hour concert is on Thursday April 7 at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Participating singers are sopranos Susanne Rigden and Chantale Nurse, mezzo Wallis Giunta, tenor Aaron Ferguson, baritones Pierre Rancourt and Adrian Kramer, and bass-baritone Neil Craighead with Liz Upchurch at the piano. This is an extremely popular event, so remember to line up one hour ahead to have a chance of a seat! For the program, go to

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