La Scena Musicale

Monday, 16 March 2015

This Week in Montreal: March 16 to 22

Napoleon II

This Week in Montreal: March 16 to 22

L’Aiglon at the OSM
The OSM presents the opera L’Aiglon, a little-known work by Jacques Ibert and Arthur Honegger, three times (March 17, 19 and 21) with two European artists in the featured roles, namely the Belgian soprano, Anne-Catherine Gillet and the French baritone, Marc Barrard. They are supported by an impressive array of leading Canadian singers including Étienne Dupuis (as Metternich), Philippe Sly, Marianne Fiset, Tyler Duncan, Julie Bouliane, Michèle Losier and Pascal Charbonneau, all under the direction of Kent Nagano. The OSM is offering a 15% discount to LSM readers for the concert using the promo code “Scena”. Take advantage of this offer today!

Chapelle Bon-Pasteur
The musical ensemble in residence Transmission proposes Transmission en trio… from Schubert to Sokolović. Musicians: Guy Pelletier (flute), Lori Freedman (clarinet), Alain Giguère (violin), Julie Trudeau (cello), Julien Grégoire (percussions) and Brigitte Poulin (piano). March 15, 3:30 pm.
- Renée Banville

Jean-Guihen Queyras at Pollack Concert Hall
Elected “Artist of the Year” by the readers of Diapason and “Best instrumental soloist” at Victoires de la Musique Classique in 2008, Jean-Guihen Queyras has a vast and ambitious repertoire that shows in his discography. March 22, 3:30 pm. Pollack Concert Hall.
- Renée Banville

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Cette semaine à Montréal :le 16 au 22 mars

Napoléon II

Cette semaine à Montréal :le 16 au 22 mars

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal

L’OSM présente L’Aiglon trois fois (les 17, 19 et 21 mars) avec deux invités européens, la soprano belge Anne-Catherine Gillet et le baryton français Marc Barrard dans les rôles principaux, mais aussi avec une brochette d’artistes remarquables. L’OSM offre un rabais de 15% aux lecteurs de La Scena musicale avec le code promo « scena ».

Rentrée à Bon-Pasteur

Ensemble en résidence, Transmission propose Transmission en trio… de Schubert à Sokolović. Musiciens : Guy Pelletier, flûte, Lori Freedman, clarinette, Alain Giguère, violon, Julie Trudeau, violoncelle, Julien Grégoire, percussion, et Brigitte Poulin, piano. 15 mars, 15 h 30.

- Renée Banville

Jean-Guihen Queyras à la salle Pollack

Élu « Artiste de l’Année » par les lecteurs de Diapason et « Meilleur soliste instrumental » aux Victoires de la Musique Classique en 2008, Jean-Guihen Queyras possède un répertoire qu’atteste sa discographie variée et ambitieuse. 22 mars. Les concerts ont lieu à la salle Pollack à 15h30.
- Renée Banville

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Sunday, 15 March 2015

This Week in Toronto (March 16 - 22)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of March 16 to 22

- Joseph So

This being the traditional Spring Break, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is dark. But there are plenty of other interesting musical events to attend.  The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music is presenting its annual spring opera production, and this year it's Offenbach's frothy La belle Helene. Since its premiere in Paris in 1864, this piece has withstood the test of time as one of the central pillars in French operetta. On first appearance, it seems deceptively easy to stage, but in truth it requires singing actors who not only have beautiful voices but must also look believable and possess plenty of stage charisma, especially Helene herself and her love interest, Paris. I've seen this Offenbach many times, most recently in Santa Fe with the redoubtable Susan Graham - she was formidable indeed!  I look forward to seeing it again, this time with younger singers with fresh voices of the Glenn Gould School. Uri Mayer conducts the RCM Orchestra. The fast-rising stage director Joel Ivany, Artistic Director of the cutting-edge Against the Grain Theatre, will show us what he can do with this scintillating Offenbach bon-bon.   March 18 and 20 7:30 pm at Koerner Hall.

Stage Director Joel Ivany

On March 19th noon at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building on the campus of the University of Toronto, the Faculty of Music is presenting Liebeslieder, a free noon hour concert of love songs by Johannes Brahms and Canadian composer John Greer. Soloists are mezzo Krisztina Szabo, tenor Lawrence Wiliford, and baritone Peter Barnes, with collaborative pianists Lydia Wong and Steven Philcox.

Mezzo Krisztina Szabo (Photo: Bo Huang)

Given we are in the middle of Lent, there's plenty of religious programming. Top on my list is Tafelmusik's presentation of Bach's St. John Passion, with soprano Julia Doyle, countertenor Daniel Taylor, and tenor Charles Daniels. Ivars Taurins leads the Tafelmusik Orchestra. Performances at its usual venue of Trinity St. Paul Centre on March 19th 8 pm, with additional shows on 20, 21, and 22, this last a matinee.

Bach's St. John Passion (Photo:

One can always count on Music Toronto to bring outstanding chamber ensembles to Toronto. This week, it's the Elias String Quartet. According to the Music Toronto website, this group takes its name from Mendelssohn's Elijah.  It was formed in 1998 and was the recipient of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. It made its Carnegie debut in 2011, and has recently toured Australia. The performance is on Thursday March 19th at the usual venue of Jane Mallett Theatre. On the program are works by Haydn, Mozart, and Mendelssohn.  You can find out more information on this ensemble at For a sample of their playing, go to

Elias String Quartet (violinists Sara Bitlloch and Donald Grant, violist Martin Saving and cellist Marie Bitlloch)

The Canadian Opera Company is currently just starting rehearsal for Barber of Seville, so no opera as yet!  But this being Spring Break, opera comedienne Kyra Millan is returning to the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on Thursday March 19 for a free noon hour Opera Interactive. Joining her is bass-baritone Iain MacNeil for arias and sing-along chorus. This is designed to entertain the kids this week, but adults are free to join in!

Poster for Tapestry Opera's presentation (Photo:

A very intriguing event is put on by Tapestry Opera this week, called Tap:Ex Tables Turned, featuring soprano Carla Huhtanen and composer/electronic specialist Nicole Lizee. This is billed as a multi-media concert where remixed selection from Alfred Hitchcock and Sound of Music(!) is played alongside video recordings of Maria Callas, projected alongside the performers. March 21st 8 pm at the Ernest Balmer Studio, 9 Trinity Street in the Distillery District.  For more details, go to

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