La Scena Musicale

Monday, 19 October 2015

Cette semaine à Montréal (19 à 25 octobre) / This Week in Montreal (October 19 - 25)


Alban Gerhardt au LMMC – un retour attendu

Le Ladies’ Morning Musical Club recevra l’un des grands violon­cellistes de notre époque, Alban ­Gerhardt, qui a joué à l’âge de 21 ans avec l’Orchestre philharmonique de Berlin sous la direction de Semyon Bychkov. Au programme : Barber, Britten, Beethoven, Brahms (dimanche 4).

Nommé en hommage au compositeur tchèque emprisonné à Theresienstadt en 1941, le quatuor Pavel Haas est devenu l’un des plus importants ensembles de chambre. Il fait ses débuts au LMMC le 25 octobre. Les concerts ont lieu à la salle Pollack à 15 h 30.

Alban Gerhardt et chat
Crédit photo: Kaupo Kikkas

Engelbert Humperdinck’s Märchenoper

If you go to Opera da Camera’s production of Hänsel und Gretel this month, make sure you drop breadcrumbs to find your way home. Starring Martin-Muchel Boucher as Peter, Anik St. Louis as Getrude, Meagan Zantingh as Hänsel, and Valérie Bélanger as Gretel. The production also features Sous-sol Sisters, a young women’s chorus from NDG, and members from the Hudson Classical Ballet School. Don’t miss this evening of fun for the whole family. (Oct. 17, 18, 22, and 24)

Trio Montréal : deux trios français

Formé de Julie Triquet, violon, Julie Trudeau, violoncelle et Olivier Godin, pianiste, le Trio Montréal propose un concert consacré à deux œuvres de jeunesse de grands compositeurs français. Le Premier Trio en sol majeur de Claude Debussy, composé alors qu’il n’avait que 18 ans et qu’il séjournait en Italie, sera suivi du Trio en sol mineur, op. 3 d’Ernest Chausson, qu’il a composé à l’âge de 26 ans, influencé par son héros de jeunesse, Richard Wagner. Maison de la culture Frontenac. Concert animé par Edgar Fruitier, lundi 19, 20 h.

ECM+ et le Turning Point Ensemble

Directrice d’ECM+, Véronique Lacroix présente, pour la première fois à Montréal, le Turning Point Ensemble, dirigé par Owen Underhill. Ensemble phare de l’Ouest canadien, le TPE joue des œuvres de Dorothy Chang, Jocelyn Morlock, Farangis Nurulla-Khoja et Ana Sokolović, de même qu’une création d’Anthony Tan, gagnant des prix du jury et du public combinés, lors de Génération2014 de l’ECM+. Salle de concert du Conservatoire, mardi 20, 19 h 30.

OM – un programme aux accents patriotiques

Invités par l’Orchestre Métropolitain pour souligner ses 35 ans, les compositeurs canadiens Éric Champagne, D. Dion, G. Dharmoo et E. Hall se prêtent au jeu des variations sur un thème de Jacques Hétu. Dirigé par Julian Kuerti, le programme présente aussi des extraits de Má Vlast de Smetana et la Fantaisie écossaise de Bruch, interprétée par la violoniste Yolanda Bruno, lauréate du grand prix OSM Standard Life 2013 et du prix Espace musique. Du 20 au 25 en tournée dans les arrondissements.

Clavecin en concert – du baroque au contemporain

Sous la direction du claveciniste Luc Beauséjour, Clavecin en Concert présente des compositeurs baroques et québécois. Avec Nicolas-Alexandre Marcotte, clavecin, Amanda Keesmaat, violoncelle, et Grégoire Jeay, flûte. Œuvres de Hamel, McKinley, Boismortier, Vivaldi, Kirnbearger, Devienne. Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, vendredi 23, 20 h.

Schulich in Concert Series: A Celebration in Art Song

McGill professors Michael McMahon and guest baritone Gerald Finley are organizing a mini-festival A Celebration in Art Song beginning with a Gala of distinguished McGill alumni on Oct. 23, which includes Donna Brown, Dominique Labelle, Jacqueline Woodley, Rihab Chaieb, Annamaria Popescu, Benjamin Butterfield, Philippe Sly, and Gordin Bitner, with guest artist Catherine Thornhill Steele. Mark Simons is featured on clarinet.

The concert series continues with a concert dedicated to Schubert on Oct. 24, which features Shannon Mercer and Gerald Finley, with Michael McMahon on piano. Finley and McMahon are giving two masterclasses, one on Oct. 25 at 7 h 30pm, the other on Oct. 26 at 2 h 30pm.

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This Week in Toronto (Oct. 19 - 25)

My Toronto Musical Previews for the Week of October 19 to 25

~ Joseph So

Stormy Landscape, painting by Nicolas Poussin that inspired Barbara Monk Feldman's Pyramus and Thisbe

Two big news on the operatic front this week.  First is the opening of Pyramus and Thisbe at the Canadian Opera Company, the first mainstage Canadian opera since Randolph Peters' The Golden Ass, with libretto by Canadian literary icon Robertson Davies, way back the last Century! Yes, it was 1999 when the COC was still performing in the Hummingbird Centre, previously known as the O'Keefe.   It starred the beloved Canadian mezzo Judith Forst. I recall enjoying the show. Sadly my positive reaction wasn't shared by some critics, and to my knowledge this opera has never been revived, underscoring the risk of putting on contemporary pieces. The COC is taking a considerable risk with Pyramus and Thisbe by Canadian composer Barbara Monk Feldman, her first foray into opera. It's based on the story from Ovid's Metamorphoses, about a boy and a girl who fall in love but are forbidden to marry by their parents. Sounds familiar?  This archetypal story of the star-crossed lovers is also the basis for many literary and musical creations, from Shakespeare's and Gounod's Romeo et Juliette to Bernstein's West Side Story.Composed in 2008-2010, this short opera involves two soloists, here sung by baritone Phillip Addis and mezzo Krisztina Szabo. This is paired with two other short Monteverdi pieces, Lamento d'Arianna, the surviving fragment of the opera on the story of Ariadne; and Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.  The three works add up to a total of 70 minutes performed without an intermission, an extraordinarily short evening as opera performances go! I attended a media preview very early in the rehearsal process and find the music intriguing. The third singer, tenor Owen McCausland, is the narrator in Il combattimento. COC Music Director Johannes Debus is at the helm. Oct. 20th and 23rd 7:30 pm, and Oct. 25th 2 pm at the Four Seasons Centre

Rehearsal of Il combattimento (l. to r. Krisztina Szabo, Christopher Alden, Phillip Addis, Owen McCausland) Photo: Chris Hutcheson) 

Meanwhile, La traviata is receiving uniform praise from the critics and the public. It continues on Oct. 21 and 24. I went to the first All Canadian cast show on Oct. 16 and it was a terrific performance with three excellent principals, so either cast you can't go wrong!

Opera Atelier's Armide by Lully

The other big news this week is the fall season presentation of Opera Atelier's Armide by Lully. Composed in 1686, it's about as far removed chronologically and aesthetically as you can get from the Monk Feldman opera which is receiving its world premiere this week.  If the set backdrop of Pyramus and Thisbe is inspired by Rothko, OA's Armide is ultra-traditional. OA is the premiere baroque company in Canada, so everything is historically informed if not totally authentic.  This show stars OA frequent guest soprano Peggy Kriha Dye in the title role, opposite the Renaud of tenor Colin Ainsworth. The cast also includes Aaron Ferguson, Daniel Belcher,  Stephen Hegedus, Meghan Lindsay, Carla Huhtanen and Olivier Laquerre, making this an exceptionally strong cast. David Fallis leads the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Six performances October 22 to 31.  With it's fantastical story, it fits right in with the Halloween Season. To top it off, to celebrate OA's 30th anniversary season, after its run at the Elgin, it travels to the Palace of Versailles - how cool is that!

Soprano Erin Wall (Photo: Tara McMullen)

As part of its Decades Project (1900-1909), the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting  A Sea Symphony featuring two of Canada's premiere singers, soprano Erin Wall and baritone Russell Braun. In keeping with the nautical theme, the Vaughan Williams piece is paired with Debussy' La Mer, showing the divergent style of the two composers from the same period. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian conducts. Wednesday Oct. 21 and Saturday Oct.24 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein (Photo:

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein gives a recital at Koerner Hall on Sunday Oct. 25 3 pm. On the program are Schumann's Kinderszenen Op. 15, Bach's French Suite No. 5, Schubert's Four Impromtus, plus an unfamiliar work by American composer Philip Lasser, Breughel Suite. The very short program note on the Koerner website mentions that images of Breughel paintings will be projected on a screen during the playing of the Lasser composition, a Canadian premiere.

Cuarteto Casals (l. to r. violinist Abel Tomas, cellist Arnau Tomas, violinist Vera Martinez, violist Jonathan Brown)
The Barcelona-based Spanish string quartet, Cuarteto Casals, is giving a recital of  Mozart, Ravel, and Kurtag under the auspices of Music Toronto, on Oct. 22 8 pm at its usual venue of Jane Mallett Theatre.

Opera By Request, the artist-driven opera group, is presenting one of Rossini's most scintillating comic creations, L'Italiana in Algieri. William Shookhoff is at the piano. The concert opera takes place at the College Street United Church 452 College St. in downtown west on October 23 7:30 pm.

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