This Week in Toronto (Nov. 16 - 22)
~ Joseph So
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting an evening called Arabian Nights, with the centerpiece being Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, based of course on a story from Thousand and One Nights. If memory serves, it was programmed not long ago with TSO concertmaster Jonathan Crow as the soloist. It's brought back now and will go on tour with the TSO to Florida later this season. Also on the program is Weber's Clarinet Concerto No.1 with the TSO long-time clarinetist Joaquin Valdepenas. Rounding out the evening is Canadian composer's John Estacio's Wondrous Light, which is the short, second movement of his work Borealis, inspired by the Aurora borealis he saw one night in Edmonton. The composes speaks about the genesis of this work in this short Youtube video clip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pOIfWuOcTE John Estacio's musical idiom is tonal and accessible, likely why he's one of the most frequently performed Canadian composers today. His exciting piece, Frenergy, was recently programmed by the TSO, and of course in additional to orchestral works, he's well known for his operas Filumena and Frobisher. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian is at the helm. November 18 and 19 at Roy Thomson Hall.
The current TSO season must be setting some sort of record in the amount of pop music programming. This fall alone, we've had the music of Frank Sinatra, followed by live soundtracks of Back to the Future and Psycho. Now we have James Bond: The Music! By the way, this is merely an observation, not a criticism - if these concerts can get bums in the seats, all the power to the TSO. On the program are music from Goldfinger, Thunderball, Live and Let Die, Nobody Does it Better, and Skyfall. On the podium is John Morris Russell, conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. He was appointed after the passing of Erich Kunzel, who was a frequent guest conductor at the TSO. Also appearing are vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ron Bohmer. Nov. 20 & 21 7:30 pm. http://tso.ca/
American mezzo Isabel Leonard thrilled Toronto audiences when she sang Sesto in La clemenza di Tito with the COC several seasons ago. It's great to have her back in town, this time under the auspices of the Women's Musical Club of Toronto. WMCT's concerts are almost always at 1:30 pm. on a weekday. This time it's Nov. 19 1:30 pm at its usual venue of Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building. Reflecting Ms. Leonard's dual North American and Latin American heritages - her mother is of Argentinean ancestry - her program consists of songs by Montsalvatge, de Falla,Charles Ives, Jennifer Higdon and others. I am unable to find the name of her pianist on the WMCT website. Update: The original pianist, Vlad Iftinca, is unable to come due to European engagements. In his place is pianist John Arida. Also I have more details about her program. First half consists of songs by Sanjuan, de Falla, Granados, and Montsalvatge. Second half - works of William Schuman, Ernest Charles, John Alden Carpenter, Charles Ives, Richard Hageman, Ned Rorem, plus the de Falla song cycle Siet canciones populares espanolas. https://www.wmct.on.ca/
For something different, there's the contemporary piece put on by Tapestry Opera, Tap: Ex Metallurgy featuring "Members of Fucked Up." I have to admit I am ignorant when it comes to punk rock, so here's the intriguing description of this presentation taken directly from the Tapestry website -
"Punk and operatic virtuosity collide in Tapestry Opera’s latest exploration of opera evolution. Members of the Polaris Prize-winning art-rock punk band FUCKED UP join two of Canada’s most masterful and versatile opera singers, mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó and tenor David Pomeroy, for TAP:EX METALLURGY. This venture is the latest installment in TAP:EX, a production series committed to radically redefining the future of opera. Directed and conceived by Tapestry’s Artistic Director Michael Hidetoshi Mori, the provocative series is now in its third year."
Four performances, on Nov. 19, 20, and 21 at the Ernest Balmer Studio, 9 Trinity Street, in the Distillary District of downtown Toronto. https://tapestryopera.com/tapex-metallurgy/
Labels: Clarence Frazer, Geoffrey Sirett, Isabel Leonard, Leslie Dala, Lucia Cervoni, Opera in Concert, Preview, Soundstreams, Tapestry Opera, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Women's Musical Club of Toronto