La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 9 November 2014

This Week in Toronto (Nov. 10 - 16)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of Nov. 10 to 16 - Joseph So

Jan Lisiecki (Photo: IMG Artists)

Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki certainly has one of the highest profiles among Canadian classical artists today, and he's still only 19 years old!  I remember sitting in on a recording session of his at Koerner Hall in January of 2013 and interviewing the young man afterwards. His maturity towards his art was remarkable, yet he was still at the time very playful with people dear to him, and naturally a fun-loving teenager. You can read my interview with him here - He is the soloist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, playing Beethoven Piano Concertos 3, 4, and 5 over the span of two weeks. The guest maestro is Thomas Dausgaard making a welcome return to the TSO.

Pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Leonidas Kavakos 

Pianist Yuja Wang and violinist Leonidas Kavakos are both flamboyant virtuoso in their respective instruments. Now they join forces in recital on Nov. 13 8 pm at Koerner Hall. On the program are four violin sonatas by Brahms, Schumann, Ravel, and Respighi.

On the vocal front, the big news this week is the appearance of Verdi soprano Aprile Millo in Toronto after an absence of many years. The last time I recall her singing here was as Maddalena in Andrea Chenier at the COC in 1989, and a Roy Thomson Hall recital shortly after.  About two years ago, Millo gave a very interesting masterclass at Walter Hall for students of the opera program at the University of Toronto. When Millo first burst onto the scene in the early 80's, I became an instant fan. I recall a Don Carlo Met broadcast - her voice bore an uncanny resemblance to the great Renata Tebaldi. I would travel to the Met to hear her, including a marvelous Aida around 1987. Last winter, Millo sang a performance of Giorgetta in Puccini's Il Tabarro in Italy that was video-streamed on the internet. I was lucky to have seen/heard it and it really brought back memories. Well, for Millo fans, this is your chance to hear this great artist in two events this week. First on Thursday Nov. 13, she is joined by students of the Mary-Lou Vetere Studio in recital, with Linda Ippolito as the collaborative pianist. It takes place at the Jeanne Lamon Hall of the Trinity St. Paul's Centre, the home base of Tafelmusik.  A second event is a recital on Saturday Nov. 15 7:30 pm.  With her are other guest artists including baritone Gustavo Ahaulli, soprano Mary-Lou Vetere, and tenor Giacomo Folinazzo.

Tenor Adrian Kramer and soprano Lucia Cesaroni are partners in art and in life. If the name of the tenor is familiar, it's because he was a member of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio a few years ago - as a baritone!  After his tenure at the COC Ensemble, Kramer reworked his voice to the tenor fach.  Lucia Cesaroni's lyric soprano is also well known to Toronto audiences. I recall hearing her as Susanna at Opera York a few seasons back, and she has appeared with Opera in Concert. You can find out more about her at  The two singers are giving a concert, Extensions of Us: Melody and Movement in collaboration with choreographer Jennifer Nichols and pianist Maika'i Nash on Nov. 13 at 8 pm in the Extension Room on Eastern Avenue (see poster above). The program includes songs and arias by Verdi and Mascagni, Neapolitan Songs, and selections from West Side Story.

Pianist Dmitri Levkovich

Ukrainian-Canadian pianist Dmitri Levkovich is giving a recital of Rachmaninoff, Mozart. Stravinsky, Bach and Chopin on Nov. 11  7 pm in Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, on the campus of the University of Toronto.

NCPA Orchestra of China 

The Chinese NCPA Orchestra under conductor Lu Jia gives a concert on Nov. 11 8 pm at Koerner Hall. Program includes Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 in E Minor.

Dover Quartet (Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)

One of the oldest concert presenters in the country, the Women's Musical Club of Toronto, is featuring the Dover Quartet as part of its Music in the Afternoon Series. This chamber group is the winner of 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition. You can learn more about them by going to their website   You can also find video clips of their performances there. The recital is in Walter Hall Nov. 13 1:30 pm.

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