La Scena Musicale

Saturday, 2 May 2015

This Week in Toronto (May 4 - 10)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of May 4 to 10

~ Joseph So

Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea (

This week marks the opening of the second production of the Canadian Opera Company spring season, the double-bill of Bartok's Bluebeard Castle and Schoenberg's Erwartung.  This is the famous Lepage/Levine production way back in 1993 that broke new ground for the COC and put the Company on the international map. I certainly remember being blown away by it at the time.  My guess is that it is the most successful COC production when it comes to rentals by other companies, having traveled to the Edinburgh Festival and Hong Kong as well as to Montreal and Seattle. Toronto-born bass baritone John Relyea sang it in Seattle and he will be a vocally and dramatically imposing Bluebeard in the current revival for sure. Ekaterina Gubanova is making her belated COC debut as Judith. (She was originally announced as Dulcinee last season) Canadian mezzo Krisztina Szabo tackles the nearly impossible atonal part of The Woman in Erwartung. COC Music Director Johannes Debus is at the helm. There are several coup de theatre strokes but I won't give it away. Bartok and Schoenberg are light years away from the frothy Rossini, so it's an interesting juxtaposition and an extremely intense show! It opens on May 6th 7:30 pm at the Four Seasons Centre, with additional performances this week on May 8th and 10th.

In the meantime, The Barber of Seville continues its marathon 12-performance run, plus the special Ensemble Studio Performance on May 15. This week sees the premiere of the second cast on May 9th. American mezzo Cecelia Hall is Rosina (she actually debuts on May 7), and Argentinean tenor Francisco Brito is Almaviva. Others include Nikolay Didenko (Dr. Bartolo) and Turkish bass Burak Bilgili (Basilio). Of this group, Biligi is the only returning artist, having previously sung a very funny Basilio with the COC back in 2008. Canadian baritone Josh Hopkins continues as the only Figaro.

Soprano Aviva Fortunata

On Tuesday May 5 at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at noon is a recital featuring three members of the COC Ensemble Studio, sopranos Karine Boucher and Aviva Fortunata, and tenor Owen McCausland. They sing songs and arias by Beethoven, Donizetti, Liszt, Wolf, Wagner, Strauss, Frank Bridge and Respighi. All three singers will be participating in competitions this month - McCausland and Boucher at the Montreal International Musical Competition, and Fortunata represents Canada at the Cardiff Singer of the World. I am not certain of this, but my guess is that these pieces are on their competition repertoires, and this concert represents a "dry run."  The pianists are Liz Upchurch, Jennifer Szeto and Timothy Cheung. It replaces the previously announced recital by Josh Hopkins who is not able to appear.

Violinist Augustin Hadelich

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a single show this week, with Italian-American violinist Augustin Hadelich in town to play the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Go to Youtube for a snippet of his playing the Mendelssohn -
Also on the program is Bruckner Symphony No. 7, and a new piece, Treeship by Chinese Canadian composer Kevin Lau. Peter Oundjian conducts. Wednesday May 6th 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

Tafelmusik is presenting J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation, under the direction of its long-time leader Jeanne Lamon. The show is conceived, programmed and scripted by Alison MacKay. Opera Atelier's Marshall Pynkoski is stage director. Click on for program notes. Performances on May 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 at the Trinity St. Paul Centre, and May 12 at George Weston Hall.

Ensemble Made in Canada

On May 7 1:30 pm at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building on the campus of University of Toronto, the Women's Musical Club of Toronto is presenting Ensemble Made in Canada, with violiinist Elissa Lee, violist Sharon Wei, cellist Rachel Mercer and pianist Angela Park, playing works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Mayo (a WMCT commissioned world premiere). For details go to

Alice in Wonderland Poster

The Canadian Children's Opera Company, under the stewardship of Ann Cooper Gay, is presenting Alice in Wonderland, composed by Errol Gay and Michael Albano, based on the famous story by Lewis Carroll.  It features a chamber orchestra conducted by Ann Cooper Gay, and with special guest veteran Canadian tenor Benoit Boutet as the White Rabbit. Performances at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre on May 8, 9, and 10.

Pianist composer Adam Sherkin

Pianist-composer Adam Sherkin is presenting a recital with the intriguing title, Let Hands Speak, an evening of new music by Canadian composers Gougeon, Murphy, Eckhardt-Grammatte, Coulthard, Lau, and Sherkin himself. It takes place on Saturday May 9th 7:30 pm at the Jane Mallett Theatre. Details at

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Thursday, 30 April 2015

COC Ensemble Cast Gives a Terrific Barber Preview

The Futile Precaution: Highlights from The Barber of Seville (Review)

~ Joseph So

Artists of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio

Charlotte Burrage (Rosina)
Karine Boucher (Bertha)
Andrew Haji (Almaviva)
Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure (Almaviva)
Clarence Frazer (Figaro)
Iain MacNeil (Dr. Bartolo)
Jennifer Szeto, piano

Tuesday, April 28th 2015 / Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, with its comic hijinks and vocal gymnastics, is tailor-made for young artists with fresh, flexible voices, nimble bodies and ready smiles.  That's just what we got on Tuesday, April 28 noon hour concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  On May 15, the audience will get to hear these wonderful singers give their all in this great Rossini opera.  If you are not among the lucky ones with a ticket - the show is sold out - I hope you were among the ones enjoying the free preview on Tuesday.  The RBA was jammed on this occasion and it was a great show.  

 (back row l. to r.) Andrew Haji, Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, Iain MacNeil
(front row) Clarence Frazer, Charlotte Burrage, Karine Boucher
All photos by Karen Reeves 

It's amazing how much can be crammed into 60 minutes!  It started with the Overture, nicely played by COC Ensemble pianist Jennifer Szeto. She was busier than anyone else in this show, negotiating the many arias and ensembles non-stop and without missing a beat.  Clarence Frazer sang and acted a terrific "Largo al factotum", entering from the upper level. This baritone is singing the best I've heard him, with a blazing top and great stage presence - you really need a true ham to be a Figaro. And I appreciate his not going into the tiresome falsetto in the aria. I must say I was also very impressed with the stage direction, though not sure who's the director here.  Okay a lot of it was Joan Font's but I imagine an assistant director adapted it to the RBA space?

Clarence Frazer as a larger than life Figaro

Then Andrew Haji gave us "Ecco ridente in cielo," For a big guy, he moves extremely well, and he was dramatically endearing. His lyric tenor with its rich and hall-filling sound was a real pleasure. Though not a natural bel canto singer as his voice is larger than a typical Rossini tenor - and I've heard cleaner runs and fioritura by other tenors albeit with smaller voices - Haji's golden tones made up for it. Then it was the warm, sweet, ingratiating tenore di grazia of Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, singing the serenade beautifully. Haji and Frazer's duet, "Se il mio nome saper voi bramate" where Lindoro pays Figaro to help him get into Dr. Bartolo's house was vividly acted and both singers have fine Italian parlando.
Almaviva (Andrew Haji) bribing Figaro (Clarence Frazer)

Then it was mezzo Charlotte Burrage's turn to shine with the showstopper "Una voce poco fa." In a recent interview I had with Burrage, she mentions that this Rosina is her first coloratura role. With this aria, Burrage shows that not only is she ideal in German and Mozart operas, her rich, well focused, slightly cool timbre with good flexibility and an excellent top register also makes her an engaging Rosina. Arguably she could be a bit more playful in the duet "Dunque io son" with Figaro (Clarence Frazer), but it was beautifully sung by both.     

Charlotte Burrage in "Una voce poco fa"

Iain MacNeil, as Dr. Bartolo, doesn't get to shine as much in this highlights concert - his participation is down to one scene with Rosina. Bartolo is perhaps more an acting than singing role, but MacNeil was very good in this scene, singing with youthful tone and excellent flexibility.  Similarly, the beautiful soprano of Karine Boucher is underused in this opera as the maid Bertha. However, leave it to Ms. Boucher to turn a comprimaria to almost a starring role with her acting  hijinks in "Il vecchiotto cerca moglie" as the "downstairs" Bertha, complete with braided hair and flat shoes. The festivities drew to a close with a comically choreographed "Mi par d'esser colla testa," a fun finale to the opera. I confess I'm not a huge fan of these rather automaton-like writing by Rossini, but with these young singers, they won me over.  The audience understandably was extremely enthusiastic at the end, giving the artists a sustained, rousing ovation. This promises to be a great show on May 15.  If you have a ticket, be prepared for a fun time. 

Charlotte Burrage and Clarence Frazer in "Dunque io son"

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Monday, 27 April 2015

Canadian Soprano Joyce El Khoury Shines in Donizetti's Les Martyrs

Canadian soprano Joyce El Khoury as Pauline in Donizetti's Les Martyrs

~ Joseph So

Soprano Joyce El Khoury

In the very crowded field of operatic sopranos, Canadian Joyce El Khoury stands out as someone special. If you've seen her on stage, you'll know what I mean. El Khoury combines a superb lirico-spinto voice of beauty and flexibility - not to mention a pianissimo that rivals Monserrat Caballe's - with dramatic flair and alluring stage presence, all ingredients that have made her into one of the most exciting young sopranos today. When I interviewed her back in the fall of 2013 for Opera Canada, she had just recorded her first complete opera, Donizetti's Belisario, under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, for Opera Rara, an independent British recording label with a focus on forgotten operas. El Khoury's singing of Antonina in that recording was a vocal and dramatic tour de force, with all the tricks of the trade in place - lovely legato, full throttle fortissimo and exquisite piano, all delivered with dramatic intensity and beauty of tone. 

Now we have a new recording, another Donizetti rarity from Opera Rara, Les Martyrs, to be released in May. This is billed as the first complete performance of this opera since 1840. For political reasons, this work was banned in Italy at the time, and Donizetti reworked it into a French grand opera for the Parisian audience, complete with the obligatory ballet. It was well received in its premiere but was soon forgotten. The few attempts at revival saw the work severely cut and sung in its original Italian. This Opera Rara project under Sir Mark Elder restores it to the full French version. After the recording, a concert performance was given to critical acclaim at Royal Festival Hall in London.  

I haven't yet received my review disc, but listening to snippets of the recording in the short video documentary, it clearly shows this is an important addition to the discography of Donizetti. Given the sorry state of the classical recording industry these days, it is nice to see such a major studio recording is still possible. In the documentary, El Khoury gives her thoughts on the character of Pauline and the vocal challenges of singing this difficult role.  With these two Donizetti rarities, it's clear that in Joyce El Khoury we have a new dramatic coloratura in the opera world. In Canada, we are blessed with the presence of American-born soprano Sondra Radvanovsky who calls Canada her adopted home.  Radvanovsky is clearly the reigning bel canto queen of our time.  Incredibly we now have a second soprano in Canada, ready willing and able to conquer this most challenging of repertoires. Talk about embarrassment of riches!  Toronto opera fans will get a chance to see El Khoury in person as she sings Violetta at the Canadian Opera Company in fall 2015.  

To view the documentary, go to

For more information on Opera Rara and Les Martyrs, go to

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This Week in Montreal : April 27 to May 3

This Week in Montreal : April 27 to May 3

20th anniversary of the FMCM – March 12-June 21 2015

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Festival de musique de chamber de Montréal takes off this spring with the Celebrity Series, beginning in March with the Swingle Singers and continuing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (April 2) and the Emerson String Quartet (May 12). The Elegance Classique and JazzTD Series will take place from June 6-21. Soprano Marie-Josée Lord, spokeswoman for the festival, will perform her show Femmes, paying tribute to the great sopranos of the twentieth century. Developed by Denis Brott, the festival programming embodies a spirit of celebration, resilience and hope. This year’s festival will take place in various concert halls. RB

ECM+ with the Gryphon Trio

The multimedia concert Illusions brings together the Gryphon Trio, ECM+, and baritone Vincent Ranallo. Inspired by the mysterious Piano Trio by Charles Ives and directed by Véronique Lacroix, this odyssey is the creation of three composers: Simon Martin, Gabriel Dharmoo and Nicole Lizée. Salle Pierre-Mercure, April 30, 7:30 pm. RB

Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur

Pianist Maxim Bernard presents works written during the Great War of 1914-1918 by Rachmaninov, Fauré, Bartók, Medtner, Scriabine and Ravel in an overview of early twentieth-century musical trends . April 30, 8 pm.

As part of its residency, the Ensemble Transmission presents works of LeBlanc, Harman, Haas, and Perezzani. May 1, 8 pm. RB

Pentaèdre hosts horn player Louis-Pierre Bergeron for Germanic Influences, a program of Romantic European works for wind instruments. May 1, 7:30 p.m. at the Salle de concert du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.

La Scena Musicale – Deny Arcand’s passion
Sunday, May 3, 2015, at 2:30 PM at the Grande Bibliothèque, attend a rare public interview with master filmmaker Denys Arcand. Discover Denys Arcand's secret passion! His passion? It's André Grétry's French baroque opera Zémire et Azor, composed in 1771, and the first interpretation of the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. Arcand uses a scene from this opera as a dream sequence to open his film L'Âge des ténèbres. He will discuss his work with the young singers of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal.

Singing and Quartets at the Ladies Morning Musical Club

Guardian of a venerable tradition, the Borodin Quartet is currently the oldest performing string quartet in the world. Renowned for its interpretations of Beethoven and Shostakovich, the quartet has returned in recent seasons to a wider repertoire.  Third performance at LMMC, May 3.

Concerts take place at Pollack Hall at 3:30 pm. RB


Cette semaine à Montréal : 27 avril au 3 mai

Cette semaine à Montréal : 27 avril au 3 mai

20e anniversaire du FMCM – 12 mars au 21 juin 2015
Les célébrations du Festival de musique de chambre de Montréal sont lancées dès le printemps avec la série Célébrité qui commençait en mars avec les Swingle Singers et se poursuit avec le Preservation Hall Jazz Band (2 avril) et l’Emerson String Quartet (12 mai). Les séries Élégance classique et JazzTD se dérouleront du 6 au 21 juin. Porte-parole pour le festival, la soprano Marie-Josée Lord a conçu le spectacle Femmes qui rend hommage à de grandes sopranos du 20e siècle. Élaborée par Denis Brott, la programmation reflète l'esprit de la fête, mais exprime aussi la résilience et l'espoir. Le festival se déploie cette année dans diverses salles de concert. RB

Christophe Colomb ou la découverte du Nouveau Monde
27 avril, 19h, Église Sainte-Famille, Boucherville - 25$
En première nord-américaine, partez à la découverte du Nouveau Monde avec l'ode symphonie Christophe Colomb (1847) de Félicien David. Cette oeuvre magistrale de la musique française est empreinte d'une couleur exotique. L'Orchestre de chambre de la Montérégie (OCM) et le choeur du Festival Classica sous la direction de Jean-Claude Magloire. Solistes: Marie-Ève Munger, Antoine Bélanger et Marc Boucher. Narrateur: Robert Côté. Plus de 70 artistes sur scène. 

ECM+ en compagnie du Trio Gryphon
Le concert multimédia Illusions réunit le Trio Gryphon, l'ECM+ et le baryton Vincent Ranallo. Conçue à partir du mystérieux Piano Trio de Charles Ives, cette odyssée, sous la direction de Véronique Lacroix, présente une création de trois compositeurs : Simon Martin, Gabriel Dharmoo et Nicole Lizée. Salle Pierre-Mercure, 30 avril, 19 h 30. RB

Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur
Le pianiste Maxim Bernard nous offre des œuvres écrites durant la Grande Guerre de 1914-1918 par Rachmaninov, Fauré, Bartók, Medtner, Scriabine et Ravel. Un condensé des tendances au début du XXe siècle. 30 avril, 20 h.

Dans le cadre de sa résidence, l'Ensemble Transmission présente des œuvres de LeBlanc, Harman, Haas, Perezzani. 1er mai, 20 h. RB

Concert L’influence germanique, 1er mai, 19 h 30, salle de concert du Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.

La Scena Musicale
Le dimanche 3 mai à 14h30 à la Grande Bibliothèque, assistez à une rare entrevue publique du grand cinéaste Denys Arcand. Découvrez la passion secrète de Denys Arcand! Sa passion, c’est la mise en scène de l’opéra français Zémire et Azor d’André Grétry, composé en 1771, et première représentation de l’histoire fascinante de la Belle et la Bête. Il nous parlera de son travail avec les jeunes chanteurs de l’Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal.
Voix et quatuor au Ladies' Morning Musical Club
Gardien des grandes traditions, le quatuor Borodine est actuellement le plus ancien quatuor à cordes encore en activité. Référence pour ses interprétations de Beethoven et Chostakovitch, l'ensemble est revenu ces dernières saisons à un répertoire plus vaste. 3e fois au LMMC. 3 mai.
Les concerts ont lieu à la salle Pollack à 15 h 30. RB


Argentinean tenor Francisco Brito Joins COC Barber Cast

Just received a Press Release from the Canadian Opera Company to the effect that Argentinean tenor Francisco Brito will replace scheduled Romanian tenor Bogdan Mihai as Almaviva in the alternate cast of the current production of The Barber of Seville. His first performance begins May 9th.  

Tenor Francisco BritoFor an opera with so many performances like Barber - in this case 12 plus a COC Ensemble show - most roles are double cast. A few cast changes are bound to happen. Some of you may recall the La boheme last season when we ended up with five tenors, if you count the one - another Romanian, Teodor Illincai - who cancelled before rehearsals.  These things happen. The downside is we won't get to hear the beautiful voice of Mr. Mihai, but it means we get to experience another beautiful voice, that of Signor Brito. For those curious what he sounds like, you can go to his Youtube channel for a few video clips.  On his channel, he also has videos of other singers he likes, like American tenor Gregory Kunde and the late Swedish tenor Gosta Winbergh - Mr. Brito has good taste!  I look forward to hearing Francisco Brito at the COC. 

~  Joseph So

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2015

Toronto – The Canadian Opera Companyregrets to announce that Romanian tenor Bogdan Mihai, who was scheduled to perform the role of Count Almaviva in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville this May, has had to withdraw for personal reasons. Mihai was scheduled to sing three of the production’s 12 performances. In his place, the COC has cast Argentine tenor Francisco Brito, who will make his Canadian debut. Brito shares the role of Count Almaviva with American tenor Alek Shrader who has been performing the role since the COC’s production opened on April 17, 2015.

Francisco Brito is an exciting young singer, praised for “his considerable vocal agility, [ability] to slide through his range rapidly and holding his high notes with ease,” (Seen and Heard International). A Rossini specialist, Brito made his operatic debut in Il viaggio a Reims at the 2006 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, with subsequent guest engagements of L’Italiana in Algeri at the Teatro Municipale di Piacenza and Teatro Pavarotti di Modena in 2008; Zelmira in Pesaro in 2009 and, in 2011, Il viaggio a Reims at the Teatro Argentino de La Plata in Buenos Aires and La gazza ladra at the Semperoper in Dresden, where he also appeared in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. He’s also performed with the Festival della Valle d’Itria and the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. In recent seasons, he has appeared with Oper Frankfurt in performances of Adriana Lecouvreur and L’incoronazione di Poppea, as well as in Carmina Burana and La scala di seta with Nationaltheater Mannheim and Il signor Bruschino with Teatro La Fenice. Brito can be heard in the role of Count Almaviva in the COC’s The Barber of Seville on May 9, 19 and 21.

The COC’s production of The Barber of Seville has delighted Toronto audiences since it opened on April 17 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Rossini’s masterful comedy features a veritable hit parade of a score marked by showstoppers and sparkling tunes, complemented by a colourful production described as “full of zany buffa delights” (Globe and Mail). Eight performances remain before the production concludes its run onMay 22, 2015.

The exciting young singers of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio also perform the lead roles in their own performance of The Barber of Seville on May 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are accessibly priced at $25 or $55.

Ticket Information
Tickets are available online at, by calling 416-363-8231, or in person at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office (145 Queen St. W., Toronto). Ticket prices for The Barber of Seville  range from $49 – $424 (includes applicable taxes).Standing Room tickets are available for $12 at 11 a.m. the morning of the performance, in person only at the Four Seasons Centre Box Office. Limit of two tickets per person. Subject to availability.

About the Canadian Opera Company 
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The COC enjoys a loyal audience support-base and one of the highest attendance and subscription rates in North America. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC is increasingly capturing the opera world’s attention. The COC maintains its international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation by creating new productions within its diverse repertoire, collaborating with leading opera companies and festivals, and attracting the world’s foremost Canadian and international artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Four Seasons Centre opened in 2006. For more information on the COC, visit its award-winning website,

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

This Week in Toronto (April 27 - May 3)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of April 27 to May 3

~ Joseph So

This is a great week for music fans, with concerts for every taste. The great Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin makes a rare return to Toronto for a solo recital, apparently first in fifteen years, playing works by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Chopin, and Liszt. Friday May 1st 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.
Full program details at

Pianist Evgeny Kissin (Photo: Sheila Rock)

With the Pan Am Games coming to town, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is joining the fun with not one but two Latin themed concerts this week. Roberto Minczuk, the Music Director of the Calgary Philharmonic and a native of Brazil, is in town to conduct the pieces by Bernstein, Ginastera, and Villa-Lobos. The centerpiece is a TSO commission,  Sinfonia Afrocubana, a concerto for Latin Jazz Trio and Orchestra, to be performed by the Cuban jazz piano legend Hilario Duran and his Trio. Two performances, on April 29 6:30 pm and April 30 8 pm at the Roy Thomson Hall.

Hilario Duran Trio

The other Latin themed concert is led by Canadian conductor Alain Trudel and it's aimed at families and kids. the TSO and the Platypus Theatre join forces for a fun filled programme, featuring the Liberty Bell March (Sousa), Tico-Tico no Fuba (Abreu), and Ennio Morricone's Gabriel's Oboe from the famous movie, The Mission. Saturday May 2nd 2pm and 4 pm, at Roy Thomson Hall

Conductor Alain Trudel

The Canadian Opera Company continues with the first of its two spring productions, The Barber of Seville this week. Canadian baritone Josh Hopkins is Figaro, all twelve performances of it!  The other roles are double-cast. Meanwhile, the first cast continues this week with Serena Malfi as Rosina, Alek Shrader as a screamingly funny Almaviva, an equally hilarious Dr. Bartolo by Italian buffo Renato Girolami, and Canadian bass-baritone Robert Gleadow as Basilio. Rory Macdonald conducts. Performances on Wednesday April 29th at 7:30 pm and Saturday May 2nd at 4:30 pm at the Four Seasons Centre.

COC Ensemble Studio

An interesting event this week takes place at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on Tuesday April 28 at noon. The COC Ensemble Studio members involved in the special performance on May 15 will be giving a preview of their show. Baritone Clarence Frazer sings Figaro; mezzo Charlotte Burrage is Rosina; Almaviva is shared between tenors Andrew Haji and Jean-Philippe Lazure-Fortier; Iain MacNeil is Dr. Bartolo, Gordon Bintner is Basilio; and soprano Karine Boucher is Berta, It will be semi-staged, with piano accompaniment. The program does not specify the name of the pianist, but it's like COC Ensemble Studio pianist Jennifer Szeto. This is a great chance to hear the voices of tomorrow. Be sure to line up an hour ahead to ensure a seat. Program details at

Mezzo and Broadcaster Jean Stilwell (Photo: 

Now for something a little different - for its final production of the season, Toronto Operetta Theatre is putting on Earnest, the Importance of Being by Victor Davies and Eugene Benson, a show it first premiered in 2008. As the title suggests, it's a comedy based on the Oscar Wilde play, and it stars the redoubtable mezzo Jean Stilwell. She is joined by TOT veteran Gregory Finney as Rev. Canon Chasuble. This is a fun show, just in time to usher in our much delayed Toronto spring! Four performances at the Jane Mallett Theatre, April 29, May 1, 2, 3 (mat.)

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