La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 12 June 2011

This Week in Toronto (June 13 - 19)

Luminato 2011 (June 10 - 19)

by Joseph K. So

There was a time when Toronto in the summer was a cultural desert - how times have changed! Now we have the Black Creek Summer Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival, and this week, the headliner is the Luminato Festival of Art and Creativity, now in its fifth year. The centerpiece this year is a re-telling of the old Arabian tales in One Thousand and One Nights directed by Tim Supple, based on translations by Hanan Al Shaykh. I attended the opening on Saturday at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Center on Front Street. The show is in two parts, each approximately three hours long. If you have preconceived ideas about Arabian Nights, leave them at the door, as you will be confronted, shocked, provoked, and delighted in this brilliant re-imagining of these ancient tales. In addition to this, there are a number of must-sees Luminato events this week. If you are a fan of K.D. Lang, be sure to catch her on June 17 at the Festival Stage. There's the world premiere of Andromache, directed by Graham McLaren ad adapted from the Racine classic by Evie Christie. The National Ballet of Canada is contributing the North American Premiere of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in a co-production with the Royal Ballet in London. (June 10 -12 at the Four Seasons Centre). The celebrated Kronos Quartet is presenting four concerts with a multi-cultural bent (June 10-11 at Koerner Hall of RCM and June 15 at the Jane Mallett Theatre). And the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is having a special performance of Mahler's magical Fifth Symphony, billed as TSO Goes Late Night, on Saturday, June 18th at Roy Thomson Hall. For Festival details and ticket information, go to

Elsewhere, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is bringing back the ever-popular violinist Joshua Bell playing Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. Also on the program is Mahler's Symphony No. 5, and a piece by Canadian composer Gary Kulesha, with the intriguing name of Torque. TSO music director Peter Oundjian is a the helm. Two performances, on June 15th and 16th at 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. As mentioned above, there is an extra performance of the Mahler in conjunction with Luminato on Saturday at the late start of 10:30 pm.

Tapestry New Opera Works, the eclectic and adventurous company under the leadership of Wayne Strongman is presenting its New Opera Showcase: Excerpts from Four New Operas. On the program are works by Maja Ardal and Norbert Palej, Marjorie Chan and John Harris, David Brock and Gareth Williams, and Michael Lewis MacLennan and Jeffrey Ryan. Among the many performers are Kimberly Barber, Keith Klassen, Neema Bickersteth, and Peter McGillivray. Two performances, on June 14 at 7:30 pm and June 15 at 6:30 pm, at the Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery District in downtown Toronto. For more information, go to



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