La Scena Musicale

Monday, 3 November 2014

This Week in Toronto (Nov. 3 - 9)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the week of Nov. 3 to 9 - Joseph So

American pianist Jeremy Denk (Photo: Jennifer Taylor)

Toronto piano fans are truly blessed this fall, with the appearances of a string of pianists of the top rank.  A couple of weeks ago, we had the brilliant Polish pianist Rafal Blechacz, and this week it's the visit of the terrific American Jeremy Denk at Koerner Hall on Nov. 9 3 pm. The program includes works by Haydn, Schubert, Janacek, Mozart and Schumann's Carnaval Op. 9.

 First Prize winner Chinese pianist Yang Liu (Photo: Andrew Lee)

(l. to r.) Rachel Yudo(USA/Japan), Rodolfo Leone (Italy), Yang Liu (China) (Photo: Andrew Lee)

While on the subject of pianists, I can report that the Second Toronto International Piano Competition ended with the awarding of the top three prizes to three deserving competitors. First Prize went to 23 year old Chinese pianist Yang Liu,Second Prize to Italian Rodolfo Leone, and Third Prize to American/Japanese pianist Rachel Kudo.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra's offerings this week is unusually light, with just one performance of the What Makes it Great? Series. It features violinist Chee Yun in the Autumn and Winter concertos of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, conducted by Rob Kapilow. Saturday Nov. 8 8 pm.

On the vocal front, a noteworthy event this week is Recitals at Rosedale's presentation of A Walk on the Dark Side: Myths, Legends and Fairytales on Nov. 9 2:30 pm at the Rosedale Presbyterian Church. Three excellent Canadian singers - soprano Lesley Ann Bradley, mezzo Allyson McHardy and baritone Geoff Sirett join forces to present a program of works by Ravel, Quilter, Szmanowski and Zemlinsky. At the piano are Robert Kortgaard and Rachel Andrist.

(l. to r.) Lesley Ann Bradley, Allyson McHardy, Geoff Sirett 

Every fall, the University of Toronto Faculty of Music brings a well known singer to be a resident artist giving masterclasses to the voice students. The guest is under the auspices of the John Stratton Visitor in Music. I recall the wonderful residencies of soprano Adrianne Pieczonka and mezzo Stephanie Blythe. This time it is British mezzo Catherine Wyn Rogers, who was in town last week for The Dream of Gerontius. She's giving an opera masterclass on Monday Oct. 3 7 pm at Walter Hall. Tomorrow (Tues. Nov. 4), is the art song masterclass at noon, also in Walter Hall. On Wednesday 7  pm, there'll be a full recital with the students plus Wyn Rogers herself,

Art of Time Ensemble is well known for its eclectic, boundary-stretching, always thoughtful programming. This concert is called The Poem/The Song. It focuses on music inspired by words. Featured texts set to music include those of T,S, Eliot, Margaret Atwood, Walt Whitman, Johnny Mercer, Leonard Cohen and others. Carla Huhtanen, Thom Allison and Gregory Hoskins are the singers. Nov. 7 8 pm  It takes place at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre at 235 Queens Quay.

Canadian bass Gary Relyea (Photo: Opera York)

Opera York, the opera company of the York Region performing at the acoustically friendly Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, is presenting Donizetti's  Lucia di Lammermoor, on Nov. 6 an 8 at 7:30 pm.  Lucia is soprano Allison Arends and Edgardo is Paul Williamson. Baritone Jeffrey Carl is Enrico.  The best known name is veteran bass Gary Relyea as Raimondo. Giuseppe Macina comes out of retirement to direct, and Sabatino Vacca conducts.

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