La Scena Musicale

Friday, 5 June 2015

Neuvième édition du Festival Bach Montréal 2015

par Renée Banville

Très attendu des amateurs, le Festival Bach Montréal se tiendra du 22 novembre au 5 décembre. Le festival est heureux d'offrir aux mélomanes 24 spectacles de qualité qui seront présentés dans 12 salles.

On remarque, entre autres ensembles célèbres de retour à Montréal, Europa Galante, la « Ferrari de la musique baroque italienne » et l'ensemble de musique ancienne allemand l’Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (AKAMUS). Fondé en 1982 en République démocratique allemande, AKAMUS, qui joue le plus souvent sans direction d'un chef, ouvre le festival à la Maison symphonique le 22 novembre, tandis que Europa Galante, créé en 1990 par le violoniste Fabio Biondi, est présenté en prélude à la salle Bourgie le 14 novembre.

Des solistes parmi les plus acclamés dans le monde participeront à cette édition du festival. On signale la venue du maître du pianoforte Kristian Bezuidenhout, deux concerts de la pianiste chinoise Zhu Xiao-Mei qui offrira les Variations Goldberg et l’interprétation des Suites pour violoncelle seul de Bach par le jeune prodige allemand Isang Enders.

En grande première à la demande populaire, le Festival propose à son tout jeune public son premier concert Bach. Le spectacle Bach incognito avec les membres de l’Orchestre symphonique de l’Agora leur sera présenté le samedi 28 novembre en après-midi. Après le succès des années précédentes, la Nuit des Choeurs, ce concert de chorales pour la famille est de retour. Un programme tout à fait original permet aux mélomanes d'apprécier le Clavier bien tempéré de Bach dans un contexte nouveau, alliant le danseur Nô Matsato Matsuura et le claveciniste Frédérick Haas.

Pour le dernier concert du Festival à la Basilique Notre-Dame, Alexander Weimann et Arion Orchestre Baroque proposent un programme raffiné, dans lequel figure le Magnificat de Bach. En postlude, les 16 et 17 décembre, l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal et le Choeur de l'OSM, sous la direction du chef d'orchestre américain John Nelson, présenteront deux concerts de l'Oratorio de Noël de Bach, devenu un symbole musical incontournable du temps des Fêtes.

La programmation est disponible dès maintenant sur le site : www.festivalbachmontreal.com



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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Park Takes Day 1 of Montreal Voice Competition

By Wah Keung Chan
Photo: Antoine Saito


Let’s get the suspense out of the way. South Korean soprano Hyesang Park took the Day 1 Finals of the 2015 Montreal International Musical Competition (MIMC). From the first notes of her opening aria “Je veux vire dans ce reve” from Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, we knew her voice would soar above the orchestra, and it unfolded as expected, with a spontaneous final standing ovation after her last aria.

Park’s programme was perfectly planned, concluding with the mad scene from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. The repertoire in between, a Mozart concert aria, Dupac's Chanson triste and Rachmaninov's Ne py krasavitsa, pri mne, seemed just like filler, as her diction was not always the best. Park has a clear and well projected voice capable of a wide dynamic range. What sets her apart is her ability to use her instrument at the service of story-telling, and she accomplished that with musicality, and nuanced facial and body expression. Technically, she sings with an innate legato and she is capable of effortless swelling tones. The long mad scene from Lucia is a risky way to end a competition programme and Park carried it off almost effortlessly (9 out of 10 on the high notes). It was the perfect end to the evening, leaving the audience smiling home.

However, the conclusion wasn’t so clear at the start for audiences following the competition from the quarter and the semifinals. Some favourites in the smaller Bourgie Hall (444 seats) didn’t transfer well to the larger symphonic size Maison symphonique (2000 seats), as was the case for the first two finalists on Day 1.

French soprano Anais Constans exhibited a coloratura soprano with a nice legato. It just seemed a bit light; in Bourgie Hall, her voice sounded bigger. Her show piece “Caro nome” from Verdi’s Rigoletto was taken rather too slow and consequently, it seems more like a vocalise, void of rapture. As I mentioned, she has nice control and a good legato, but the moments I was anticipating a forte or fortissimo were not met.

Macedonia baritone Vasil Garvanliev captivated the semifinals with an entertaining recital full of vocal variety and dramatic flair. I had found his voice grainy and he tended to croon; by this I meant that his voice lacked a core, it seems all overtones with a missing fundamental sound. I worried that this would limit his ability to communicate in the big hall, and I was proven right. His aria from Handel’s Rinaldo didn’t make much of an impression over the orchestra, and the famous aria “Kogda” from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin left us wanting for a bigger, clearer voice (where is Dmitri Hvorostovsky when you need him). Garvanliev’s drama showed in Ravel’s cycle Don Quichotte a Dulcinee, but the serenade “Deh vieni alla finestra” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni lacked seduction as it sounded muted.

Mahler’s Rucket Lieder seemed like an odd choice to end his performance, but it actually helped his cause. I give Garvanliev a B for “Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft” because he performed it so restrained; it’s supposed to be a serenade and he sang it like a lullaby. Between “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder” and “Liebst du um Schonheit,” a true musician finally came through, and suddenly a more solid forward sounding voice was heard.

It then suddenly came to me that maybe Garvanliev was not a baritone after all. In the 2002 inaugural MIMC, then baritone Joseph Kaiser sang a high note that rang out, and I told him afterward that he could be a tenor. I guess enough people told him that, as in just two years, he re-emerged as a lyrique tenor winning competitions and making it to stage at the Met. Last night, I heard something similar from the Macedonian. He sang a moving “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”, but what amused me most was the effortless high F at the end. The closing “Um mittenacht” was forceful. So I’ll put it out there and go on the record: Vasil Garvanliev is a tenor.

The competition concludes tonight with three more competitors: South Korean tenor Keewoon Kim, Japanese baritone Takaoki Onishi and Canadian soprano France Bellemare, whose semifinal perforamnce of Dvorak's Song to the Moon reminded me of Canadian Marianne Fiset who won the 2007 MIMC.

The winners' Gala will take place on June 5 at 7:30 PM at Montreal's Maison Symphonique.



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This Week in Montreal - June 1 to 7

 
Kiya Tabassian (Photo: Michel Pinault)


This Week in Montreal - June 1 to 7

Constantinople – The Golden Door
From yesterday's Constantinople to the Istanbul of today, Kiya Tabassian and his musicians offer a musical portrait of this luminous city situated between East and West. The Golden Door's classical and popular music illustrates the cultural wealth and diversity that have made this city a crossroad of civilizations. Produced by Constantinople, in collaboration with Fondation Arte Musica. Salle Bourgie, June 4, 8 pm. www.bourgiehall.ca 

The Violons du Roy (Photo: Brigitte Thériault)

 Violons du Roy - Mozart in Paris
The record by the Violons du Roy and the young harpist Valerie Milot has been critically acclaimed. Milot joins the orchestra again, under the direction of Mathieu Lussier, to interpret Boieldieu's charming concerto, an essential part of the harp repertoire. Also on the program: Rameau, Gossec and Mozart. Salle Bourgie, June 5, 7:30 pm. www.violonsduroy.com

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Cette semaine à Montréal du 1 au 7 juin

Valérie Milot (Photo: Frédérik Robitaille)

 Cette semaine à Montréal du 1 au 7 juin


Constantinople - La porte d'or
De la Constantinople d’hier à l’Istanbul d’aujourd’hui, Kiya Tabassian et ses musiciens proposent un portrait musical de cette ville lumineuse sise entre l’Orient et l’Occident Les musiques savantes et populaires de la Porte d’or illustrent la richesse et la diversité culturelles qui ont fait de cette ville le carrefour des civilisations. Production de Constantinople, en collaboration avec la Fondation Arte Musica. Salle Bourgie, 4 juin, 20 h. www.sallebourgie.ca
 
Violons du Roy - Mozart à Paris
Le disque des Violons du Roy et de la jeune harpiste Valérie Milot a été acclamé par la critique.
Milot retrouve l’orchestre, sous la direction de Mathieu Lussier, pour interpréter le charmant concerto de Boieldieu, un incontournable du répertoire pour harpe. Aussi au programme : Rameau, Gossec et Mozart. Salle Bourgie, 5 juin, 19 h 30. www.violonsduroy.com

104e édition du Prix d'Europe - du 7 au 12 juin
Les demi-finales et l'épreuve finale du Prix d'Europe se dérouleront du 7 au 12 juin à la Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, de 13 h à 22 h. Le concert gala et la remise des prix auront lieu à la salle Bourgie le 14 juin à 14 h 30, sous la présidence d'honneur de monsieur Edgar Fruitier. Invitées : Valérie Milot, harpiste, et Anne-Julie Caron, percussionniste. www.prixdeurope.ca

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Sunday, 31 May 2015

This Week in Toronto (June 1 - 7)

My Toronto Concert Picks for the Week of June 1 to 7

~ Joseph So

Cellist Sharon Robinson and violinist Jaime Laredo (Photo: Christian Steiner)

With the Pan Am Games getting ever closer, it seems that "American Programming" is front and center everywhere in town. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is bringing us All American, a program of American classics old and new, from Gershwin's An American in Paris, to John Adams' scintillating Short Ride in a Fast Machine, a piece that I seem to recall hearing at the New Creations Festival a couple of years back.  It's one of Adams' most popular pieces. Special guests on this occasion are the Bolivian-born American violinist Jaime Laredo and his second wife American cellist Sharon Robinson. Together they make up two of the three members of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. Laredo and Robinson will play the Canadian premiere of the Double Concerto for Violin and Cello by Andre Previn. Also on the program is the Symphony No. 1 by Samuel Barber. Three performances - June 4th at 2 pm, June 6th at 7:30 pm, and June 7th at 3 pm, the first two shows at Roy Thomson Hall and the last, matinee show at the George Weston Recital Hall in North York.  Peter Oundjian conducts.  http://tso.ca/en-ca/concerts-and-tickets/2014-2015-Season/EventDetails/All-American.aspx

Poster for AtG's Death and Desire

The cutting edge Against the Grain Theatre is known for never doing anything mundane or obvious, but even they may have outdone themselves this time, with Death and Desire, a show that combines Schubert's Die schone Mullerin with Olivier Messiaen's Harawi. If this sounds audacious, it's because it is, but most likely AtG can pull it off, like their previous shows! I was not able to attend the sneak preview at the RBA noon hour recital a couple of weeks back, so I am looking forward to experiencing it on opening night June 2.  Additional performances on June 3, 4, and 5, all at 8 pm at the Neubacher Shor Contemporary Gallery, a venue unfamiliar to me. The address is 5 Brock Avenue in west side of Toronto, off Queen St. West between Dufferin and Lansdowne. The soloists are mezzo Krisztina Szabo and bass-baritone Stephen Hegedus. Christopher Mokrzewski is at the piano and Joel Ivany directs.   http://www.againstthegraintheatre.com/shows/deathanddesire

Artists at the 20th Anniversary Gala (Photo: www.offcentremusic.com)

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Off Centre Music Salon, To celebrate, there's a gala concert this coming Sunday, June 7 2 pm at its usual venue of Glenn Gould Studio. There's a huge list of artists announced, including Russell Braun, Krisztina Szabo, Nathalie Paulin, Joni Henson, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Carolyn Maule, Lauren Segal, James Westman, Norine Burgess, Monica Whicher, and of course Boris Zarankin and Inna Perkis. David Goldbloom is the MC. This will be an exciting and glittery event and a must attend event for supporters of Off Centre. http://offcentremusic.com/concerts.html


Violinist Veronique Mathieu and pianist Stephanie Chua

Now that the COC season is over and the singers have sung their last songs at the noon hour concerts, there are still other interesting programs to be seen and heard at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre.  One that caught my eye this week is In Praise of Women: Music for Violin and Piano. Violinist Veronique Mathieu and pianist Stephanie Chua are giving a recital of works by women composers - Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Clara Schumann, Maria Molinari, Heather Schmidt, Ingrid Stolzel and Grazyna Bacewiz. I have to admit other than Schumann, the other names are new to me. For more information click on - http://www.coc.ca/PerformancesAndTickets/FreeConcertSeries/June.aspx  
Here is a link to the program - http://files.coc.ca/pdfs/concert150602.pdf










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