La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 29 December 2013

This Week in Toronto (Dec. 30 - Jan. 5)

This Week in Toronto (Dec. 30 - Jan. 5)

- Joseph So

With Christmas comes a bevy of Messiahs and other religious programming, but in the week after, there aren't a whole lot of concert choices. Thanks to Attila and Marion Glatz of Glatz Concert Productions, there are two events well worth considering. The 2013 edition of Bravissimo is an opera concert that has become quite a tradition in Toronto the last few years, fast catching up to its big brother, Salute to Vienna, long a popular light classics show on New Year's Day. Both events will be at Roy Thomson Hall.  

American soprano Erika Sunnegardh (Photo: KristerAtle/Persona)

This year's Bravissimo stars five opera singers, four of them well known to Toronto audiences. Canadian baritone James Westman is enjoying a fine career as a Verdi baritone, received critical acclaim recently as Ford in Opera Hamilton's Falstaff and as baritone soloist in the TSO's Carmina Burana. Mezzo Wallis Giunta, a former member of the COC Ensemble Studio, will sing Dorabella in COC's Cosi fan tutte in January/February.  American soprano Erika Sunnegardh wowed TO audiences as a sensational Salome last spring. Italian tenor Emanuele D'Anguanno was Cassio in COC's Otello four seasons ago. New to Toronto audiences is American soprano Rebecca Nelsen.
Mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta

Joining the soloists are members of the Orpheus Choir and Chorus Niagara under the direction of Robert Cooper. Leading the Opera Canada Symphony, a "pick-up orchestra" made up of mostly local free lance musicians, is veteran maestro Roberto Paternostro.  The program includes selections from La traviata, Rigoletto and Aida. Tuesday 7 pm Roy Thomson Hall.!bravissimo/c1quk /

Baritone James Westman (Photo: Rob Harris)  

On the afternoon of New Year's Day is Salute to Vienna, a very popular concert of light classics, operettas and ballet, also a brainchild of Glatz Concert Productions. Conductor Bernhard Schneider leads the Strauss Symphony of Canada with soloists soprano Rebecca Nelsen and baritone Daniel Serafin and ballet dancers in an frothy program of Viennese waltzes. You can catch Daniel Serafin in the newly released DVD taped last January 1st at the Wiener Konzerthaus. 
DVD cover of Salute to Vienna Gala Jan 1 2013

Fans of operetta can always count on Toronto Operetta Theatre's presentation at this time of year for bit of an early winter tonic, particularly timely given the ghastly weather we've been having. TOT is presenting Franz Lehar's Land of Smiles. It has already opened last week, with additional performances on Dec. 31 (New Year's Eve Gala), Jan. 2, 3, 4, and 5 at the Jane Mallett Theatre. It is sung in English by young Canadian singers with fresh voices and attractive stage presence. Soprano Lara Ciekiewicz is Lisa and tenor Ernesto Ramirez is Prince Sou Chong. Also in the cast are sopranos Vania Chan and Cindy Zhang, and tenor Adam Fisher. Derek Bate conducts and Guillermo Silva-Marin directs.

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