La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 19 October 2014

This Week in Toronto (Oct. 20 - 26)

My Concert Picks for the Week of October 20 to 26

- Joseph So

Soprano Meghan Lindsay and seven men in OA's Alcina (Photo: Bruce Zinger)

Opera Atelier, Canada's premiere Baroque opera company is staging Handel's Alcina as its fall season presentation.  According to OA's publicity material, this marks the first time the Company has used film to enhance traditional painted backdrops so expertly executed by Gerard Gauci.  I have not yet seen any production photos - not available until Oct. 22 - but you can get a taste of the creative process in this Youtube video -   The cast includes all frequent guests of OA, with soprano Meghan Lindsay in the title role. Also appearing are mezzo Allyson McHardy, soprano Mireille Asselin, and mezzo Wallis Giunta.  The show opens on Thursday Oct. 23 7:30 pm at the Elgin Theatre and goes until Nov. 1. Incidentally, the promotion photo here has soprano Meghan Lindsay naked posing on a stepladder.  I would bet that she will be more fully clad to sing the opera comes opening night.

This week is also the home stretch of the Canadian Opera Company's fall season of Falstaff and Madama Butterfly.  Given its superlative musical and dramatic values, Falstaff is selling extremely well. But there are always returns and rush tickets (not to mention standing room) if you need a ticket.  Do check the COC website the evening before to find out if there will be returns and rush the next morning. My advice is to show up by about 9 am at the box office. Tickets to Madama Butterfly is more plentiful, given there are twelve performances and the opera is performed with regularity at the COC. There's only one performance of the Verdi on Saturday Oct. 25 at 4:40 pm.  Madama Butterfly shows are on Oct. 21, 22, 24, 26. Check the COC website to find out the casting.

The last free vocal noon hour recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre happens on Thursday Oct. 23, with mezzo Lauren Segal and baritone Robert Gleadow, in works by Dvorak, de Falla, Ibert, and Vaughan Williams.  At the piano is COC chorusmaster Sandra Horst. Details at  Be sure to show up an hour ahead to ensure a seat.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti (Photo: Rhys Frampton)

Conductor Stephane Deneve returns to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to conduct  a Russian program in two performances on Wednesday Oct. 22 at 8 pm, and Thursday Oct. 23 at 2 pm. The flamboyant violinist Nicola Benedetti plays Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1, coupled with Prokofiev's Suite from Romeo and Juliet, arranged by Deneve. The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra opens the concert with Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave.

Conductor Stephane Deneve (Photo:Drew Farrell)

Music Toronto is presenting the Belcea Quartet on Oct. 23 8 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre. On the program are chamber pieces by Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert.

Soprano Suzie LeBlanc and countertenor Daniel Taylor are giving a joint recital of Handel Love Duets on Oct. 24 7:30 pm at the Trinity College Chapel, under the auspices of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music. In addition to Handel, on the program are works by Monteverdi and Cavalli.

Canadian Opera Ccompany Music Director Johannes Debus

The Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus is giving the Hermann Geiger-Torel Lecture on Monday Oct. 20 7:30 pm at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building. The title of his talk is "Applause, applause - a homage to the symbiotic artist-audience relationship."

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