La Scena Musicale

Monday, 19 January 2015

This Week in Montreal: January 19 to 25


The NEM

A New Take on The Rite of Spring by NEM
To celebrate Expressionism in Germany and France from 1900 to 1914, which is the subject of the concurrent exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, the NEM will present three major works from this important period of the 20th century. Arnold Schoenberg's Drei Stücke, op. 11 and Anton Webern's Konzert, op. 24 will contrast with the historical Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, re-orchestrated by François Vallières, violist of the NEM. Bourgie Hall, January 21, 7:30pm. www.lenem.ca
- Renée Banville

Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire in the Musical Canvases Series
Composed in 1912, Schoenberg's iconic work is surprising for its unique instrumentation and its singspeak (sprechgesang). The fantastic and desperate world of Pierrot will be performed by four musicians of the OSM (Andrew Wan, Brian Manker, André Moisan, Timothy Hutchins) and pianist Louise Bessette. It will be sung by soprano Ingrid Schmithüsen and narrated by actor Paul Savoie. Bourgie Hall, January 23, 6:30pm. www.bourgiehall.ca
- Renée Banville

Marie-Nicole Lemieux in Samson et Dalila at the Opéra de Montréal
“Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix” has been central to the repertoire of Marie-Nicole Lemieux as a competition piece since her student days. “It’s musically a magical moment,” says Lemieux. When she sings it in her first production at the Montreal Opera, “It will be the first time I sing it with a tenor,” Lemieux says. It’s rare for a role to have three great arias in an opera, and Lemieux is looking forward to those highlights. However, for her, the challenge is to approach the role as a whole. “Dalila is on the dark side of the moon,” says Lemieux. “When I go on stage, I try to find a human side because no one is completely black or white. At the beginning, despite the objections of her people, she genuinely likes Samson. But he leaves her three times to fight against her people. She is wounded by that, and she fights to make amends. She is not evil.” Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, January 24, 27, 29, and 31, www.operademontreal.com
- Wah Keung Chan

The Arte Musica Foundation Welcomes Les Violons du Roy
Conductor Matthieu Lussier and Les Violons du Roy are also participating in the unabridged series of Bach cantatas. The ensemble performs Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren, BWV 154; Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht, BWV 124; Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, BWV 32; and Herr, wie du willst, so schicks mit mir, BWV 73—four Epiphany cantatas. Soprano Shannon Mercer, mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel, tenor Thomas Cooley and baritone Tyler Duncan round out the show. Bourgie Concert Hall, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, January 25, 2:00pm. www.bourgiehall.ca
- Justin Bernard

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Cette semaine à Montréal : le 19 au 25 janvier


Le NEM

Une relecture du Sacre du printemps Par Le NEM
Pour célébrer l'expressionisme en Allemagne et en France, de 1900 à 1914, sujet de l'exposition en cours au Musée des beaux-arts, le NEM offrira une représentation de trois œuvres marquantes de cette période phare du début du 20e siècle. Drei Stücke, op. 11 d’Arnold Schoenberg et Konzert, op. 24 d’Anton Webern, viendront contraster avec l'historique Sacre du printemps de Stravinski, réorchestré par François Vallières, altiste du NEM. Salle Bourgie, 21 janvier, 19 h 30. www.lenem.ca
- Renée Banville

Le Pierrot Lunaire de Schoenberg dans la série Tableau en musique
Composée en 1912, l'œuvre emblématique de Schoenberg surprend par son instrumentation singulière et son parlé-chanté (sprechgesang). Le monde fantastique et désespéré de Pierrot sera joué par quatre musiciens de l'OSM (Andrew Wan, Brian Manker, André Moisan, Timothy Hutchins) et la pianiste Louise Bessette. Il sera chanté par la soprano Ingrid Schmithüsen et parlé par le comédien Paul Savoie. Salle Bourgie, 23 janvier, 18 h 30. www.sallebourgie.ca
- Renée Banville

Marie-Nicole Lemieux dans Samson et Dalila à l’Opéra de Montréal
« Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix » est au centre du répertoire de Marie-Nicole Lemieux comme pièce de concours depuis ses années d'étudiante. « C'est un moment magique, musicalement », dit-elle. Quand elle le chantera dans sa première production à l'Opéra de Montréal, « ce sera la première fois que je le chante avec un ténor », dit-elle. Il est rare pour un rôle d'avoir trois grands airs dans un opéra, et Lemieux a hâte de chanter ces trois grands airs. Toutefois, pour elle, le défi est d'aborder le rôle dans son ensemble. « Dalila est sur le côté sombre de la lune. Quand j'entre en scène, j'essaie de lui trouver un côté humain parce que personne n'est complètement noir ou blanc. Au début, malgré les objections de son peuple, elle aime véritablement Samson. Mais il la laisse à trois reprises pour lutter contre son peuple, ce qui la blesse, et elle se bat pour faire amende honorable. Elle n'est pas mauvaise. » Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, les 24, 27, 29, et 31 janvier. www.operademontreal.com
- Wah Keung Chan

La Fondation Arte Musica reçoit Les Violons du Roy
Dirigés par Matthieu Lussier, les Violons du Roy prennent part à la série de concerts de l’intégrale des cantates de Bach. Après la période de Noël, l’orchestre de chambre interprète quatre cantates de l’Épiphanie : Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren, BWV 154, Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht, BWV 124, Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen, BWV 32, et Herr, wie du willst, so schicks mit mir, BWV 73. Quatre solistes complètent la distribution : la soprano Shannon Mercer, la mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel, le ténor Thomas Cooley et le baryton Tyler Duncan. Salle Bourgie, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal – 25 janvier, 14 h www.sallebourgie.ca
- Justin Bernard

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

This Week in Toronto (Jan. 19 - 25)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of Jan. 19 to 25

Joseph So

The much anticipated winter season of the Canadian Opera Company is finally upon us this week, with the opening of Don Giovanni. This is a COC co-production with Teatro Real Madrid, Aix-en-Provence and the Bolshoi Theatre, directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov.  It stars Canadian baritone Russell Braun in the title role. He sang his first Don Giovanni 13 years ago for Opera de Quebec. Then he put aside the role until a couple of years ago when he sang in this production in Madrid. The Tcherniakov production is light years away from a traditional take on the piece. Rather than a suave, charming and inherently dangerous womanizer as Don Giovanni is often portrayed, this character as conceptualized by Tcherniakov is broken down, decrepit, self-doubting, gravely ill, vulnerable, and as unattractive as can be. You can get a preview in the commercially available dvd from the Aix-en-Provence performances.  The Toronto performances feature a strong ensemble case - soprano Jane Archibald (Anna), soprano Jennifer Holloway (Elvira), Kyle Ketelson (Leporello), tenor Michael Schade (Ottavio), Sasha Djihanian (Zerlina), Zachary Nelson (Masetto), and Andrea Silvestrelli (Commendatore). German conductor Michael Hofstetter makes his COC debut. For the DG cognoscenti, this production will be very different, so come with an open mind. It starts Saturday Jan. 24 at 4:30 pm at the Four Seasons Centre.   http://www.coc.ca/Home.aspx

Russell Braun as Don Giovanni from Teatro Real Madrid (Photo: www.coc.ca)

On Thursday Jan. 22 noon hour, there's a free concert by members of the COC Ensemble at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  The theme is Songs of Love and War. Participating are tenors Andrew Haji and Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, and baritones Iain MacNeil and Clarence Frazer, singing works of Britten, Poulenc, Korngold, Hans Eisler, and Ives. Jennifer Szeto is the pianist. Be sure to line up an hour early for a seat. Program details at http://files.coc.ca/pdfs/concert150122.pdf  

Another major news this week is the appearance of Conductor Kent Nagano with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, in four performances of Beethoven's Symphony no. 5. I believe this is Nagano's first appearance with the Tafelmusik forces and in a work that normally falls outside the typical Tafelmusik repertoire. There's also a fine quartet of soloists, with soprano Nathalie Paulin, mezzo Laura Pudwell, tenor Lawrence Wiliford, and baritone Sumner Thompson. I used to hear Kent Nagano conduct every summer at the Munich Opera Festival, as well as when I visited the MSO. His leaving Munich really left a musical void in that city, to take nothing away from his replacement, Kirill Petrenko. And Nagano's visits to Toronto are comparatively rare, so this is an occasion not to be missed. Performances on Jan. 22, 23, 24, 25 at Koerner Hall.   https://performance.rcmusic.ca/event/tafelmusik-presents-beethoven-symphony-no-5

Conductor Kent Nagano (Photo: Wilfried Hosl)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra continues its annual Mozart birthday bash - this year its Mozart @256 - with a blockbuster, the Great Mass in C Minor K427.  It's only an hour but what an impressive hour it is!  Am particularly fond of the soprano aria "Laudamus te" with its gorgeously florid vocal writing, here to be sung by a mezzo.  The terrific soloists are soprano Helene Guilmette, mezzo Julie Boulianne, tenors John Tessier and Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, and bass-baritone Gordon Bintner. I saw Guilmette with her lovely high soprano as a fabulous Soeur Constance (Dialogues of the Carmelites) in Munich several years ago and she subsequently sang it here with the COC.  British conductor Paul Goodwin is a specialist in this repertoire, and joining him and the soloists are the Amadeus Choir and the Elmer Iseler Singers. To flesh out the concert, arias from Lo sposo deluso and Zaide are added onto the program.  Performances Jan. 22, 24 and 25 at Roy Thomson Hall. http://tso.ca/en-ca/concerts-and-tickets/2014-2015-Season/EventDetails/Mozart-Mass-in-C-Minor.aspx


Soprano Helene Guilmette (Photo: Julien Faugere)

Violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Daniil Trifonov (www.rcmusic.ca)

Two great musicians, violinist Gidon Kremer and pianist Daniil Trifonov join forces to give a recital on Tuesday Jan. 20 at Koerner Hall. On the program are works by Mozart, Schubert, Miecyzslaw Weinberg and Rachmaninoff. The concert is already advertised as soldout!  But you can also try for returns. https://performance.rcmusic.ca/event/kremer_trifonov


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