La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 9 June 2013

This Week in Toronto (June 10 - 16)

Since June 2007, the Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity - now simply referred to as Luminato Festival - has become one of the premiere cultural events. True to its name, it always features an eclectic lineup of cutting-edge, surprising, and always illuminating shows that expand our horizons of what constitute the arts and the creative spirit. As a classical music lover, while I bemoan a little that the traditional sort of programming (such as the LUNA operatic concert in the first year) has essentially disappeared, I welcome the replacement - a more unconventional aesthetic that embraces a more contemporary take on music. Last year's very successful Einstein On The Beach was a good example. This year, we have the contemporary Feng Yi Ting by Chinese composer Guo Wenjing, and directed by Canadian filmmaker-stage director Atom Egoyan (June 20, 21, 22).  Also intriguing is The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, on the art of the controversial Serbian performance artist (June 14, 15, 16, 17 at the Bluma Appel Theatre).  Luminato is also presenting Concerto for Piano and Pasteboards, for three performances on June 14, 15, and 16 at Koerner Hall. To read about this unusual event, go to  http://luminatofestival.com/events/2013/concerto-piano-pasteboards  In addition, there are many free events at the Luminato Hub at the David Pecaut Square. http://luminatofestival.com/

Marina Abramovic and Willem Dafoe (Photo: Lucie Jansch)

As for more conventional classical music, there's the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Chinese pianist Yuja Wang is in town to play Prokofiev piano concerto no. 2. Wang is the archetypal contempoary artist, as flamboyant as you're likely to find. Her piano playing is stunning; it's amazing to experience that torrent of sound coming from such a slight person - she must have fingers of steel. Also on the program is Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade with TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow as the soloist, and a new piece by TSO Affiliate Composer Kevin Lau (Wed. and Thurs. only). The Saturday show, billed as TSO Late Night: Arabian Nights, starts at 10 pm.   http://tso.ca/Home.aspx

Pianist Yuja Wang (photo: Felix Broede)

Tafelmusik continues with its Baroque Summer Festival of free concerts. In addition to regular musicians of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, performers include participants from the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. The dates this week are Thursday June 13 1 pm at Walter Hall and Sunday June 16 7:30 pm at Grace Church on the Hill. Details at  http://www.tafelmusik.org/concert-calendar/concert/free-concerts-june-baroque-summer-festival  

The National Ballet of Canada continues with performances of Carmen. The last two performances are on Saturday June 15 (Heather Ogden/Guillaume Cote) and Sunday June 16 (Greta Hodgekinson/Piotr Stanczyk) at the Four Seasons Centre.  On June 12 is a National Ballet's fund-raising gala, Mad Hot Ballet: Dangerous Love. Stars of the National Ballet perform in short pieces drawn from The Four Seasons, Carmen, Don Quixote, and Enkeli. There's a reception after the performance for all audience members. For specially prices tickets for this fundraiser, go to http://national.ballet.ca/performances/season1213/MAD_HOT_BALLET_Gala/

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