La Scena Musicale

Monday, 24 November 2014

This Week in Toronto (Nov. 24 - 30)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the week of Nov. 24 to 30  - Joseph So 

Conductor Andrey Boreyko (Photo: Christoph Rattger)

At the Toronto Symphony Orchestra this week, Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko makes a welcome return to conduct an interesting program of Stravinsky - Petrouchka and Pulcinella - juxtaposed with the classical Haydn. Guest soloist is Argentinean pianist Ingrid Fliter. Since she burst onto the scene winning second prize - to Yundi Li's first - at the 2000 Warsaw Competition, she has built an enviable career on the stages of the major concert halls of the world. If you missed her appearance here last season, here's your chance. To prepare for this week's blog, I visited her website and to my pleasant surprise, I discovered the collection of her paintings that are well worth checking out.  Performances on Nov. 26 and 27 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. 

Pianist Ingrid Fliter (Photo:

For those of you with a taste for the unusual and the eclectic in classical music - especially Second City fans! - the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting the Second City Guide to the Symphony on Nov. 28 and 30.  It promises to be, uh, different, and entertaining for sure. I had to laugh when I saw this statement in bold print on the TSO website - "This presentation includes adult language and situations and is intended for mature audiences."  I think in 2014, even the most sheltered classical music lover wouldn't be shocked by the comedic antics of Second City. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts.

Poster for The Second City Guide to the Symphony (Photo:

A frequent guest of Music Toronto, Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski is making a welcome return this season for a recital on Tuesday Nov. 25 at the Jane Mallett Theatre, in a program of Schubert, Brahms, Ravel and Poulenc. For more information on this terrific pianist whom I've had the pleasure of hearing several times in recent years, go to   For more information on his Toronto recital, go to

Pianist Simon Trpceski (Photo: Music Toronto)

The Canadian Opera Company is in hiatus at the moment, but that doesn't mean there's no fine singing to be had.  Here's CentreStage: the Second Annual COC Ensemble Studio Competition.  It is advertised as a competition and a gala event, where for a cool $1500 you can have a gourmet dining experience on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre!  I do believe the gala dinner part of it is all sold out, but there might be tickets still available for the public competition. Do visit their website for details.  Retired Canadian tenor Ben Heppner is the MC.  Long time opera fans will know that Heppner burst onto the scene after winning the 1988 Metropolitan Opera Auditions as well as the Birgit Nilsson Prize. Competitions are a great way to get noticed, and in this case, it may lead to a spot on the COC Ensemble Studio roster. There are seven finalists this year, and I am familiar with the voices of only two of them. They are soprano Eliza Johnson, mezzos Michelle Siemens and Zoe Band, tenors Aaron Sheppard and Charles Sy, and baritone Dimitri Katotakis and bass-baritone Nathan Keoughan. They will be accompanied by the full COC Orchestra under  the direction of COC Music Director Johannes Debus. I look forward to hearing them tomorrow!

The University of Toronto Faculty of Music (Opera Division) puts on fully staged productions to showcase it talented students every year, and this year it's HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan. Hard to believe but this is the first time in 25 years that a G&S work has been staged by the Faculty. Four performances Nov. 27 to 30 at the MacMillan Theatre on the campus of University of Toronto. Michael Patrick Albano directs and Sandra Horst conducts.

HMS Pinafore at University of Toronto 

Leon Fleisher, pianist and pedagogue, has been a vital force in the training of the next generation of musicians at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He holds the Ihnatowycz Chair in Piano at the RCM. On Friday Nov. 28 8 pm at Koerner Hall, he is the guest conductor with the Royal Conservatory Orchestra  in a program of Mozart, Brahms and William Walton.

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