La Scena Musicale

Monday, 13 February 2012

This Week in Toronto (Feb. 13 -19)

Soprano Julie Makerov (photo: Kristin Hoebermann)

To coincide with Valentine's Day, American soprano Julie Makerov is giving an interesting noon hour recital, Ponderings on the Subject of Love, at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Makerov is of course our alternate Tosca, and a frequent guest of the COC, having sung Rusalka and Donna Elvira in previous seasons. On the program are songs by Quilter, Britten, Barber, Jean Berger and Jake Heggie. COC resident coach Anne Larlee is at the piano. On Thursday, be sure to attend Russell Braun and Friends, a noon hour concert of more songs of love including Brahms' famous Liebeslieder Walzer, Schumann's Spanische Liebeslieder, and a cycle by Canadian composer John Greer. Joining Russell Braun will be the rest of the cast of Love From Afar, soprano Erin Wall and mezzo Krisztina Szabo. Carolyn Maule and Johannes Debus are the collaborative pianists. These two concerts will be packed, so be sure to show up an hour early for a seat. Tosca and Love From Afar continue this week on Feb. 13 and 16 with Adrianne Pieczonka and Carlo Ventre as the lovers. You can catch Love From Afar on Feb. 14 and 18.

The venerable and high respected Alderburgh Connection is presenting its 30th Anniversary Gala at Koerner Hall on Sunday, Feb. 19th with a stellar lineup of 16 Canadian singers. Among them are Gerald Finley, Brett Polegato, Nathalie Paulin, Colin Ainsworth, Susan Platts, Lauren Segal, Monica Whicher, Ben Butterfield, Tyler Duncan, and Lawrence Wiliford. Catherine Robbin and Christopher Newton are co-presenters. As usual, Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata at the piano. I don't have program details except the final piece is Vaughan Williams Serenade To Music, written for - you guessed it - 16 soloists!

If not having an orchestra doesn't bother you, then check out the Toronto Opera Repertoire. TOR is putting on Lucia di Lammermoor (Feb. 15 and 18) and Merry Widow (Feb. 17) this week, both at the Bickford Centre. The singers are a combination of young professionals and amateurs. The operas are fully staged with sets and costumes.
Opera By Request is presenting a single performance of The Abduction from the Seraglio on Friday Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the College Street United Church. There's no mention if it's in English (given that they are using the English title) but it's more likely to be sung in German. Brahm Goldhamer is the guest music director and pianist.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra offers a very attractive program of the ever-popular Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 and Sibelius' The Swan of Tuonela. Sarah Chang is the violinist and guest conductor John Storgards on the podium. Two performances, on Feb. 16 and 18 at 8 p.m.

Famed pianist, conductor and pedagogue Leon Fleisher is appearing with the the Royal Conservatory Orchestra this week in a program of Ravel, Beethoven and Prokofiev. Fleisher plays the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 4 for the left hand, a great work - assuming you like Prokofiev - not performed nearly as often as it should and well worth catching. Uri Mayer conducts.

Aradia Ensemble is presenting an eclectic program of Venetian baroque with comtemporary works, Capriccio Stravagante on Feb. 18 at the Glenn Gould Studio. The new pieces are by Rose Bolton and Christ Meyer. The soloist is mezzo Marion Newman.



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