La Scena Musicale

Sunday, 7 June 2015

This Week in Toronto (June 8 - 14)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of June 8 to 14

~ Joseph So

Soprano Erin Wall (Photo: Tara McMullen)

We've reached that time of year when there's a decided lull in classical music events. The spring season has more or less ended, and the summer programming hasn't yet started. But there are still a few interesting events like the TSO concerts going on this week, and Luminato Festival is starting next week. Mahler fans can look forward to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Mahler Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection") in two performances, on Wednesday June 10 8 pm and Friday June 12 7:30 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. It has two superb Canadian soloists in mezzo Susan Platts and soprano Erin Wall.  They are both wonderful singers in symphonic repertoire. Platts primarily is a concert/oratorio/recital singer, while Wall divides her time between operas and symphonic concerts. I heard contralto Maureen Forrester sang Mahler Second back in the 1970's and it was a magical experience. For whatever reason, the contralto voice is very rare today, and there are very few singers today with the kind of low notes that Forrester had. One possible exception is Marie Nicole Lemieux. Platts is wonderful also, but she is billed as a mezzo, and she has an upper extension (and a lively, fast vibrato) that allows her to take on mezzo repertoire with ease. Peter Oundjian conducts. I understand there's no intermission.

RBC Resident Conductor Earl Lee (Photo: Fred Lum / Globe and Mail)

As a prelude to the soon to arrive Pan Am Games, the TSO is presenting Pan-American Rhythms, with an eclectic programs of works by Copland, Piazzolla, John Williams, Gary Kulesha and Miguel del Aguila. Conductor is TSO's RBC Resident Conductor Earl Lee. TSO Principal Cello Joseph Johnson is the soloist in  Miguel del Aguila's Concierto en Tango. June 13 at 7:30 pm and June 14 at 3 pm.

Tafelmusik Summer Festival Poster

Once again Tafelmusik is giving free concerts this year, as part of its Baroque Summer Festival. It started last week (June 5) with Delightfully Baroque, and continues this week with Musical Interlude, on Wednesday 12:30 pm June 10th at Walter Hall, given by the faculty members from the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. The concert is free and on a first come, first seated basis.

Just because the COC season is over doesn't mean the Four Seasons Centre is dark.  It is humming with activity in fact, with the National Ballet of Canada season in full swing. This week is the perennial blockbuster, Sleeping Beauty set to the glorious score by Tchaikovsky. The choreography is by Rudolf Nureyev after Marius Petipa. First seen in 1972, it remains an audience favourite. Performances June 10 to 20. Opening night stars Greta Hodgkinson as Princess Aurora and Harrison James as Prince Florimund. Details at

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