La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 17 March 2013

This Week in Toronto (March 18 - 24)

Violinist Karen Gomyo plays Lalo with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Photo:

When it comes to classical music events this week, the cup truly runneth over, with multiple events happening at the same time at the more popular time slots like Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.  Top on my list is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's two programs. On March 20 8 pm and 21 2 pm at Roy Thomson Hall, the TSO is presenting a program of Ravel, Lalo and Dvorak's Symphony No. 8, with violinist Karen Gomyo as the soloist in Lalo's Symphonie espagnole.  TSO Conductor Laureate Andrew Davis makes one of his welcome returns to conduct. On Saturday March 23 7:30 pm and Sunday March 24 3 pm, Pianist Charles Richard Hamelin, winner of the 2011 TSO National Piano Competition, is playing the ever-popular Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2. The rest of the program is chockfull of chestnuts - Wagner's Prelude to Act 3 of Lohengrin, and overtures to Fidelio and Don Giovanni, Suite No. 1 from Peer Gynt, and Sibelius' FinlandiaMelanie Leonard, Montreal native and Resident Conductor of the Calgary Philharmonic, is at the helm.

Glenn Gould School, the professional arm of the Royal Conservatory of Music, is presenting Mozart's Don Giovanni on March 20 and 22, 7 pm at Koerner Hall. Uri Mayer conducts the RCM Orchestra; Ashlie Corcoran is the stage director and Camellia Koo the set designer. The soloists are voice students of the GGS. 
Baritone James Westman sings Athanael in Thais (Photo: Dario Acosta)

Voice Box, formerly known as Opera In Concert, is presenting its final production this season, Massenet's Thais on March 24 2:30 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre. Soprano Laura Whalen is Thais, baritone James Westman sings Athanael, and tenor Adam Fisher is Nicias. This opera is hardly ever done, so a concert version is probably closest we're going to get in Toronto. The pianist is Raisa Nakhmanovich, and I am happy to see that the all-important Meditation, probably the most famous violin solo in the world, won't be played on a piano, but by violinist Carolina Herrera Sanchez!

Mezzo Wallis Giunta at Glenn Gould Studio (Photo: Barbara Stoneham)

As part of the Canadian Voices series, mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta, former member of the COC Ensemble and now a member of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists program, is giving a solo recital at the Glenn Gould Studio on March 24 at 2 pm. Ken Noda is the collaborative pianist. I'm not able to find program details. Unfortunately it clashes time-wise with the OIC Thais.

Yet another clash is the recital given by pianist Jonathan Biss, March 24 Koerner Hall 3 pm.  He is currently on a tour that takes him to San Francisco, Calgary, Costa Mesa as well as Toronto. He is playing a program of Schumann, Berg and Janacek.

Pianist Georgy Tchaidze plays with Cecilia String Quartet (Photo: Honens International Piano Competition)

Pianist Georgy Tchaidze, Laureate of the Honens International Piano Competition, will appear with the Cecilia String Quartet on March 23 7:30 pm at RCM's Mazzoleni Hall for an evening of chamber and solo pieces, including the Piano Quintet by Cesar Franck.

Canadian pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa is giving a recital under the auspices of Music Toronto on Tuesday March 19 8 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre.  She had previously appeared in the Music Toronto Discovery Series. She is playing an eclectic program of classic (Mozart and Beethoven) and new music (Jeffrey Ryan, Lisa Cay Miller, Gregory Newsome, Rodney Sharman). The Sharman piece is particularly intriguing - a transcription of Tristan und Isolde.

Opera By Request is presenting Verdi's Rigoletto on March 23 at their usual venue - College Street United Church, 452 College (at Bathurst). There is no orchestra, just a pianist (William Shookhoff), singers, and lots of enthusiasm.  Gilda is soprano Sara Papini, a fine singer whom I've heard at Opera York last season. Marco Petracchi is Rigoletto and Pablo Benitez is the Duke.

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  • Program details, as well as texts and translations, are available for Wallis Giunta's recital an the Roy Thomson site here:

    And she has done an interview with The Wholenote about her program here:

    As well as two promotional videos for Roy Thomson Hall's SoundBoard where she previews her program here:
    and here:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 24 March 2013 at 09:58  

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