La Scena Musicale

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

This Week in Toronto (Oct. 8 - 14)

COC Ensemble Studio 2012 Edition: (l. to r.) Jenna Douglas, Timothy Cheung, Sasha Djihanian, Cameron McPhail, Ambur Braid, Rihab Chaieb, Mireille Asselin, Owen McCausland, Neil Craighead, Claire de Sevigny  (Absent: Christopher Enns) (Photo: Chris Hutcheson)

With the Canadian Opera Company  fall season in full swing this week. audiences get a chance to not just hear the stars in leading roles, but also the excellent COC Ensemble Studio members singing their hearts out in supporting roles - and in the case of sopranos Ambur Braid and Mireille Asselin, in the starring role of the saucy maid Adele in Die Fledermaus.  I attended opening night and can attest that Braid wowed the audience and received huge applause after her "Laughing Song" and at the final curtain. It underscores the enormous talents in the 2012 COC Ensemble Studio.  Every one of these artists can step onto the mainstage and do a terrific job.  They all have cover roles in the current two productions, and on Thursday, we'll get to see what they can do! Six of the nine current Ensemble singers - plus alumna Ileana Montalbetti as Rosalinda, will participate in excerpts from Die Fledermaus,  Tenor Christopher Enns, who didn't sing in the earlier introduction to the Ensemble concert due to illness, will be Eisenstein. I can't speak more highly about this year's Ensemble, and this is a really worthwhile concert to attend for a sampling of the voices of tomorrow. Here is a link to the program -  Be sure to line up an hour ahead for a seat at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. For those of you yet to see Il Trovatore and Die Fledermaus, I can honestly say both shows are fabulous, featuring great singing, fantastic orchestra and chorus. Two performances of  Il Trovatore on Oct. 10 and 13, and Die Fledermaus on Oct. 12 and 14 this week.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting two programs this week at Roy Thomson Hall.  TSO principal pops conductor Steven Reineke returns to conduct Some Enchanted Evening: The Music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, with selection from The Sound of Music, The King and I, Oklahoma, Carousel, and South Pacific. Joining him will be soprano Ashley Brown, tenor Aaron Lazar, baritone Jonathan Estabrooks, the Orpheus Choir of Toronto and the U of T MacMillan Singers.  Three shows - Tues Oct. 9 and Wed. Oct. 10 at 8 pm, plus a matinee on Wed. at 2 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.  On Saturday Oct. 13 at 7:30 pm and Sunday Oct. 14 at 3 pm, the TSO presents Whirlwind of Music, a mixed program of chestnuts by Mendelssohn, Vivaldi, Rossini, Mozart, and Beethoven. Joshua Weilerstein leads the TS forces, with soloists Joaquin Valdepenas (clarinet), Yao Guang Zhai (clarinet) and Michael Sweeney (bassoon).

Soundstreams is in its 30th season this year, and given the milestone, its opening show is more festive than ever. It features works by R. Murray Schafer, Steve Reich and Arvo Part. Before and after the performance as well as during the intermission, there will be young artists showing their stuff in the lobby! The proceedings begin at 7 pm with a pre-concert chat with Omar Daniel and his new work for voice and live interactive electronics in the lobby. Thursday October 11 8 pm at Koerner Hall

The University of Toronto Faculty of Music is presenting Femme Fatale: The Operettas of Jacques Offenbach on Sunday Oct. 14 at 2:30 pm. This is an "Opera Tea" in which you get an afternoon of opera and tea on the theatre stage!  I attended one some years ago and it was great fun. It takes place at the MacMillan Theatre in the Edward John Building, University of Toronto. The singers are all young artists at the U of T Opera Division.

Later in the evening, the Esprit Orchestra is presenting The Tuning of the World, an evening of contemporary music performing the works of R. Murray Schafer, John Rea, Alexina Louie, Iannis Xenakis, and Colin McPhee. It also features chanting group from R. Murray Schafer's wilderness project And Wolf Shall Inherit the Moon.  Sunday Oct. 14 8 pm at Koerner Hall.

The Off-Centre Music Salon, now in its 18th season, is presenting its Annual Schubertiad on Sunday Oct. 14 2 pm at the Glenn Gould Studio. Pianist Boris Zarankin plays Schubert's final piano Sonata in B flat major. Soprano Allison Angelo and tenor Lawrence Wiliford sing Schubert lieder.

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