La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 21 September 2014

This Week in Toronto (Sept. 22 - 28)

This Week in Toronto (Sept. 22 - 28)

Joseph So

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra kicked off its new season with three terrific concerts last week. I attended the opening night featuring the great American violinist Joshua Bell, who was just sensational in Lalo's Symphonie espagnole. Then it was the Orchestra itself taking the spotlight for two concerts over the weekend.  I went to the Saturday evening show and enjoyed tremendously the playing of Concertmaster Jonathan Crow in Scheherazade. This coming week there will be three performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony ("Choral") with soloists soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo Andrea Ludwig, tenor David Pomeroy and baritone Tyler Duncan, conducted by TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian. Anytime the Beethoven 9th is on the program, it's a festive occasion. And the icing on the cake is the appearance of Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.  Choral forces are supplied by the venerable Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Performances on Sept. 25,26, 27 at Roy Thomson Hall.

Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov

While the Canadian Opera Company fall season won't start for another couple of weeks, the noon hour Free Concert Series at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre is in full swing. You can catch the COC Ensemble Studio singers in Meet the Young Artists on Tuesday September 23.  Performing will be sopranos Karin Boucher and Aviva Fortunata, mezzo Charlotte Burrage, tenors Owen McCausland, Andrew Haji and Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, baritone Clarence Frazer, as well as bass-baritones Gordon Bintner and Iain MacNeil. At the piano is Ensemble pianist Jennifer Szeto. The roster changes from year to year of course, but this year is particularly unusual in that there are three very good tenors!  Also unusual is the absence of a coloratura soprano. I've heard all the members of the Ensemble and can attest to the fact that they all have terrific voices and uncommon musicality. For program details, go to  

ARC Ensemble

This coming week is Culture Days in Toronto, and the ARC Ensemble is giving a free concert at Koerner Hall (ticket required and sadly all tickets are already given out!) ARC stands for Artists of the Royal Conservatory, and they will be playing George Butterworth's Suite for String Quartet, and Sir Edward Elgar's Piano Quintet in A Minor, Op. 84.  Stratford Festival actor Ian Deakin supplies the narrative of a Belfast volunteer's wartime experience.  Members of the ARC Ensemble are violinists Marie Berard and Barry Shiffman, violist Steven Dann, cellist Bryan Epperson, and pianist Dianne Werner. COC attendees will know Epperson as the principal cello of the Orchestra, and Marie Berard is the Concertmaster.  Sunday September 28 7:30 pm at Koerner Hall.

The newly retired Canadian heldentenor Ben Heppner is busy with his broadcasting and giving masterclasses. He is the master-teacher in the Riki Turofsky Masterclass in Voice this coming Wednesday Sept. 24 Geiger Torel Room at the Faculty of Music, Edward Johnson Building. From 2 to 4 in the afternoon, Heppner will put several singers through their paces. With his years of experience at the highest level, the Heppner masterclass will be a great benefit to the participants. The event is free, but show up early to ensure a seat.

Tenor Ben Heppner as Host of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

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