La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 20 January 2013

This Week in Toronto (Jan. 21 - 27)

This week the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting two performances of Mahler's 6th paired with the Schubert String Quartet, featuring pianist Jamie Parker, violinist Jonathan Crow, and violist Teng Li.  Thomas Dausgaard, highly praised as a Mahler conductor, makes a welcome return.  Two performances, on Jan. 23 and 24 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. On Jan. 26 and 27, TSO resident conductor Shalom Bard conducts a program of pieces voted as audience favourites. It's rare that an orchestra audience has such a direct input into programming, so this is an interesting innovation. There is no details of the pieces to be performed on the TSO website so I imagine it is still being finalized. Jan 26 8 pm and Jan. 27 3 pm.
Thomas Dausgaard returns to the TSO (Photo: Ulla Carin Ekblom)

American soprano Angela Meade makes her Toronto debut

There are a number of vocal recitals this week. Of particular interest is American soprano Angela Meade making her Southern Ontario debut with the Ontario Philharmonic singing Four Last Songs.  That concert is actually the following week (Tues. Jan. 29) but she makes an out-of-town appearance at the Regent Theatre in Oshawa on Jan. 26 8 pm. Also on the program is Bruckner 4th Symphony. This program will be repeated on Jan. 29 at Koerner Hall. Marco Parisotto conducts. It's quite a coup for the Ontario Philharmonic to sign Meade for these two concerts, as there is a lot of hype surrounding her - she's billed as the "New Star Diva" on the Ontario Philharmonic website. But she's definitely got the vocal chops to deserve this billing.

Off Centre Music Salon is  presenting its German Salon on Sunday Jan. 27 2 pm at Glenn Gould Studio, in a program of Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, Mahler, Haydn and Mozart. COC Ensemble Studio mezzo Rihab Chaieb joins baritone Russell Braun, pianist Carolyn Maule, as well as Off Centre's own Inna Perkis and Boris Zarankin for an afternoon of music-making.  On the same day, the Aldeburgh Connection, now in its farewell season, is presenting Valse des Fleurs at Walter Hall, at 2:30 pm. Soprano Leslie Ann Bradley, praised recently for her excellent Hanna Glawari, joins mezzo Anita Krause and tenor Andrew Haji. On the program are songs by Glinka, Mussorgsky, Borodin and Tchaikovsky. As usual, pianists Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata are at the keyboard.

If you can't wait for the COC winter season for your operatic fix, Opera by Request is presenting Tosca with piano accompaniment.  Joni Henson is the Roman diva, Steven Sherwood is Cavaradossi and Gene Wu the villain Scarpia. William Shookhoff is at the piano. It takes place on Jan. 27 3 pm at the College Street United Church.

Canadian pianist Marc Andre Hamelin (Photo Fran Kaufmann)

There are a number of distinguished pianists in town this week, but for me the top ticket is the return of Canadian pianist Marc Andre Hamelin to Music Toronto.  His appearances in Toronto are frequent and always well attended. Mr. Hamelin's repertoire has changed from primarily works best described as super-virtuoso "finger breakers" to a more diverse programming. He is playing Bach, Faure, and Ravel's Gaspard de le Nuit this time around, not to mention his own composition, Variations on a theme by Paganini. Jan. 22 8 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre at St. Lawrence Centre.

The University of Toronto Faculty of Music is having its New Music Festival this week, with a Retrospective on Luciano Berio who passed away in 2003.  On the program is The Complete Sequenzas. The concert is on Jan. 21 6:30 pm at Walter Hall, and it's free. In fact, to my knowledge all the concerts of the New Music Festival are free. It's been discussed over and over again as to why new music doesn't attract very large audiences, but those who do show up are particularly curious and discerning. On Jan 23 7:30 pm at Walter Hall, the Nexus percussion ensemble is joined by the piano duo of 2 x 10 in John Cage's The City Wears a Slouch Hat. Jan. 23 7:30 pm at Walter Hall .  Also noteworthy is the Karen Kieser Prize in Canadian Music winning piece Aftertherio T by composer Adam Scime, to be performed on Friday Jan. 25 7:30 pm.  For additional information on this and other performances, go to

- by Joseph So

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