La Scena Musicale

Saturday, 28 November 2015

This Week in Toronto (Nov. 30 - Dec. 6)

Toronto Concert Previews for the Week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 6

~ Joseph So

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky

Top vocal news this week is the recital by Canada's "Bel Canto Queen" Sondra Radvanovsky, under the auspices of Show One Productions. The American-born soprano makes her home a stone's throw from the GTA. So far we've enjoyed her Aida and Elisabetta, as well as her first Four Last Songs with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and a couple of recitals. This Friday Dec. 4th 8 pm at Koerner Hall, she'll be giving a recital with her regular pianist, Anthony Manoli, in a program of songs by Vivaldi, Bellini, Strauss and Liszt. This is a great opportunity to hear Radvanovsky, until her next opera engagement in town, which I understand is coming soon!

For the inveterate voice fans, there's another opportunity to see Sondra Radvanovsky - in action as a teacher. She is giving the Riki Turofsky Masterclass in Voice on Tuesday Dec. 1st 2 pm at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building on the campus of University of Toronto. She'll be putting the U of T Opera Program students through their paces. I attended her last masterclass there about three years ago, and I find her to be an excellent teacher - insightful and cogent in her comments, and always kind and encouraging. This is a free event. For the list of masterclass participants, go to

TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow (Photo: Sian Richards)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a real "Heart of the Repertoire" program this week, an All-Tchaikovsky evening of his Violin Concerto with TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow as soloist, Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, and Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" - talk about "meat and potatoes" programming!  Performances on Dec. 2, 3, and 5.The Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra is adding to the symphonic forces in the Onegin selections on Dec. 2 and 3. Peter Oundjian conducts.

Pianist Jan Lisiecki

Arguably the hottest young Canadian pianist today, Jan Lisiecki is making waves on both sides of the Atlantic. He is giving a recital at Koerner Hall on Sunday Dec. 6 at 3 pm. On the program are works by Chopin, Mozart, Liszt and Mendelssohn. The recital is already sold out but do check with the box office for returns.

Pianist-lawyer Linda Ippolito is giving a noon hour recital at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre on December 1st. Billed as Preludes and Pralines, Ippolito is playing some of her favourite works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Prokofiev and Billy Mayerl. Here's the link to a pdf file of her complete program -  Be sure to line up ahead of time to ensure a seat. 

Tafelmusik Director Ivars Taurins

This being December, we can expect a plethora of Christmas programming. Here are three that caught my eye.  Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is presenting Bach's Christmas Oratorio, with soprano Jana Miller, countertenor Benno Schachtner, tenor James Gilchrist, and baritone Peter Harvey, under the direction of Ivars Taurins. Dec. 3, 4, 5th 8 pm at Trinity St Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street West. There's a matinee on Dec.6th.

Baritone Matthew Zadow

Elmer Iseler Singers, joined by the Amadeus Choir under the direction of Lydia Adams, is presenting Handel's Messiah. Soloists are soprano Meredith Hall, mezzo Laura McAlpine, tenor Bud Roach and baritone Matthew Zadow. Performance takes place on Dec. 4th 8 pm at the Metropolitan United Church, 56 Queen Street East in downtown Toronto.

Pax Christi Chorale conductor Stephanie Martin

For a departure from English Canada's favourite Christmas piece of Messiah, why not attend the Pax Christi Chorale's presentation of Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ under the direction of Stephanie Martin. Soloists are soprano Nathalie Paulin, tenor Sean Clark, baritones Olivier Laquerre and Matthew Zadow, and bass Alain Coulombe. Dec. 6th 3 pm at Grace Church on the Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road.

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Monday, 23 November 2015

Cette semaine à Montréal (23 à 29 novembre) / This Week in Montreal (November 23 - 29)

Chapelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur

Jeudi 26, 19 h 30, Daniel Lanthier interprétera au hautbois et au hautbois d’amour baroque, en compagnie de Geneviève Soly à l’orgue positif et clavecin, des œuvres de Marcello, Bach, Försteret, C.P.E. Bach et Haendel.

Dimanche 29, 15 h, place à l’art vocal en compagnie de Marianne Fiset, soprano et Mari-Ève Scarfone, piano. Au programme : Lieder de Schumann, Mahler et Strauss.

Daniel Lanthier, crédit photo: Jostijn Ligtvoet Fotografie

Nov. 26, 7:30 pm. Daniel ­Lanthier on oboe and oboe d’amore baroque, accompanied by Geneviève Soly on the positive organ and harpsichord. Pieces by Marcello, Bach, Försteret, C.P.E. Bach, and Handel.

Nov. 29, 3 pm. The vocal arts with soprano Marianne Fiset and MariEve Scarfone on piano. Program includes Schumann’s Lieder, Mahler, and Strauss.

Jean Derome en Concert / Jean Derome in Concert

En compagnie de la clarinettiste Lori Freedman, Jean Derome présentera ses compositions Oiseau-Lyre (flanqué d’une colonnade) et Les Jumeaux, ainsi qu’une création de Lori Freedman et quelques improvisations. Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, vendredi 27, 20 h.

With the clarinetist Lori Freedman, Jean Derome presents his compositions Oiseau-Lyre (flanqué d’une colonnade) and Les Jumeaux, as well as a composition by Lori Freedman and various improvisations. Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Nov. 27, 8 pm.

Neuvième édition du Festival Bach Montréal 2015 / Ninth Edition of the Montréal Bach Festival 2015

Très attendu des amateurs, le Festival Bach Montréal se tiendra du 22 novembre au 5 décembre et offrira aux mélomanes 24 spectacles présentés dans 12 salles.

L’Ensemble Caprice et le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal se joignent pour offrir, le 27 novembre à la Maison symphonique, deux œuvres de circonstance de Haendel, l’Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne et l’Anthem for the Foundling Hospital, ainsi que le quatrième Concerto Brandebourgeois de Bach et le Magnificat de son fils, C.P.E. Bach. Les trois grands B (Bach-Beethoven-Brahms) seront présents le 23 dans un concert qui réunit le pianiste Serhiy Salov, le violoniste Axel Strauss et la violoncelliste Kateryna Bragina. 

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. 

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.

The much-anticipated Montréal Bach Festival takes place Nov. 22 to Dec. 5, offering music lovers 24 concerts presented in 12 different venues.

The Ensemble Caprice and the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal unite to offer two pieces from Handel’s occasional works, Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne and the Anthem for the Foundling Hospital, as well as Bach’s fourth Brandenburg ­Concerto and C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificat, on Nov. 27 at the Maison Symphonique. The three great Bs (Bach-Beethoven-Brahms) are presented on the 23rd in a concert bringing together pianist Serhiy Salov, violinist Axel Strauss, and cellist Kateryna Bragina.

Some of the most celebrated soloists in the world will participate in this edition of the festival. Worth mentioning are pianoforte ­master Kristian Bezuidenhout, two concerts by Chinese pianist Zhu Xiao-Mei who will perform the Goldberg Variations, and the ­performance of Bach’s Cello Suites by young German prodigy Isang Enders.

For the Festival’s final concert at Montréal’s Notre Dame Basilica, Alexander Weimann and Arion Baroque Orchestra offer a refined program featuring Bach’s Magnificat.

Elektra – Opéra de Montréal

La présentation par Opéra de Montréal de l’opéra en un acte Elektra de Richard Strauss marque le retour du chef Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Le rôle titre sera interprété par la soprano étatsunienne Lise Lindstrom, qui a tenu la vedette dans la récente production de Turandot au Met. La distribution, brillante, inclut Nicola Beller Carbone en Chrysothémis, Agnes Zwierko en Clytemnestre et Alan Held en Oreste. La mise en scène est assurée par Alain Gauthier. Les 21, 24, 26 et 28 novembre à 19h30.

Opéra de Montréal’s presentation of Richard Strauss’s one-act opera Elektra features the return of the Orchestre Métropolitain under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. American soprano Lise Lindstrom, who recently starred in the Met’s production of ­Turandot, will also play the title role in this production. The distinguished cast includes Nicola Beller Carbone as Chrysothemis, Agnes Zwierko as Klytemnästra, and Alan Held as Orest. The staging is by company regular Alain Gauthier. Nov. 21, 24, 26, and 28, 7:30 pm.

Britten et Mahler : Lieder et mélodies anglaises / Lieder and English Songs

La Société d’art vocal de Montréal reçoit la mezzo-soprano Susan Platts le 29 novembre dans un récital de mélodies et de lieder de Britten et Mahler. Elle est accompagnée par Alan Darling au piano et Neil Kimel au cor. Le 29 novembre à 15h.

The Société d’art vocal de Montréal is hosting mezzo-soprano Susan Platts this November in a recital of art song and lieder by Britten and Mahler. The recital features Alan Darling on piano and Neil Kimel on horn. Nov. 29, 3 pm.

VivaVoce : intégrale des cantates de Bach / Complete Cantatas of Bach Series

Dans le cadre de sa série consacrée à l’intégrale des cantates de Bach, en collaboration avec la Fondation Arte Musica, Viva Voce présente deux cantates de J.S. Bach : Schwingt freudich eugt emport, BWV 36 et Aus der Tiefen ruhe Ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131, interprétées par la soprano Stephanie Manias, l’alto Charlotte Cumberbirch, le ténor François-Olivier Jean et la basse Cairan Ryan. Le public est invité à une causerie de Gilles Cantagrel le mardi 24 novembre de 17h30 à 19h à l’auditorium Maxwell Cummings au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal (admission gratuite pour les détenteurs d’un billet de concert). Le 29 novembre, arrivez 45 minutes avant le début du concert prévu à 14h pour participer à la répétition, si vous voulez chanter le final avec le chœur!

In collaboration with the Arte Musica Foundation, VivaVoce presents two cantatas by J.S. Bach: Schwingt freudig euch empor!, BWV 36 and Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131, featuring soprano Stephanie Manias, alto Charlotte Cumberbirch, tenor François-Olivier Jean, and bass Cairan Ryan. The public is invited to a talk with Gilles Cantagrel on Tuesday, November 24 from 5:30 to 7 pm at the Maxwell Cummings Auditorium in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (free ­admission with a concert ticket). Nov. 29 at 2 pm, arrive 45 minutes early for a rehearsal if you want to sing the final chorale!

Nuit de Noël : Premier concert de Noël du Trio Fibonacci

Le Trio Fibonacci est heureux de présenter son premier concert de Noël et invite le public à vivre les premières émotions du temps des fêtes en famille le 27 novembre prochain, à 19 h 30, avec Nuit de Noël, à la Salle Bourgie. Le programme est concocté dans la lignée des concerts du Trio qui, comme à son habitude, nous emmène sur des chemins musicaux classiques jalonnés de quelques pépites musicales rarement entendues ailleurs, dont certaines pièces inédites transcrites spécialement par le Trio à cette occasion. 37,50 $ (régulier), 32,25 $ (ainés), 20 $ (étudiants)

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

This Week in Toronto (Nov. 23 - 29)

Toronto Concert Previews for the Week of November 23 to 28

~ Joseph So

Russian pianist Yulianna Avdeeva (Photo: Christine Schneider)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is busy this week with several events. As part of the TSO's Bravissimo Masterworks Series, Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal are in Toronto for an evening of music making. Opening the program with Bach / arr. by Mahler Suite for Orchestra, Harpsichord and Organ, followed by Stravinsky's Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. The soloist is Russian pianist Yulianna Avdeeva who won First Prize at the Warsaw Chopin Competition in 2010. The centerpiece of the evening is Shostakovich Symphony No. 10.  There's a friendly rivalry between the TSO and the OSM over the years. Any time the OSM is in town, it's an occasion. Wednesday Nov. 25 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall.

American conductor Kent Nagano (Photo: Benjamin Ealovega)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting the ever-popular young person's piece, Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with Rick Mercer as the narrator. This event is a fund raiser for the Hospital for Sick Children. Also on the program is another perennial favourite, Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. More virtuoso display can be found in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, featuring pianist Coco Ma. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian is at the helm. Thursday Nov. 26 at 7:30 pm.

American conductor Ward Stare

The TSO ends the week with yet another pops concert with guest American maestro Ward Stare. The concert is billed as Romeo and Juliet versus West Side Story. It includes excerpts from the Prokofiev ballet and the Bernstein Broadway musical, but not the Gounod opera. Other pieces on the program include Ravel's Tzigane, a show piece for the violin, played by Angelo Xiang Yu; Prelude to Act 3 of Wagner's Lohengrin; and Chausson's Poeme for Violin and Orchestra.  Nov. 28 at 7:30 pm and 29 at 3 pm.

Lucia Cervoni (Julie) and Clarence Frazer (Jean) Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

The Soundstreams/Canadian Stage production of Philippe Boesmans' Julie continues this week at the Bluma Appel Theatre in St. Lawrence Centre. Composed in 2005, it's the third operatic adaptation of the August Strindberg play after American Ned Rorem (1965) and Brit William Alwyn (1977). This 75 minute chamber opera stars an All-Canadian cast of mezzo Lucia Cervoni (Lucia), Clarence Frazer (Jean) and Sharleen Joynt (Christine). Matthew Jocelyn directs and Leslie Dala conducts the chamber orchestra. I attended opening night, and found the musical values to be very high, with three fine singing actors. It's a show well worth seeing, if you're at all interested in contemporary opera.  Click on  for my review.  Performances on Nov. 25, 26, 28, 29. Go to website for details -

Canadian pianist Andre Laplante

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the premiere choral force in Canada, is presenting a program of German Romantics of Brahms, Schubert, and Liszt - never mind the last composer is Hungarian...
The pieces are all very familiar - Brahms' Zigeunerlieder and Schubert's Standchen for example, but we are used to hearing these as solo voice pieces. Here we have the full choir singing, under the direction of Noel Edison. The solo piano pieces, the three Petrarch Songs, are also typically sung by solo voices. Here these are played by Canadian pianist Andre Laplante. He'll also play Schubert's Moment Musicales No. 1, 2, and 6.

Vienna Boys Choir (Photo: Lukas Beck)

The fabled Vienna Boys Choir is making a welcome return to Koerner Hall in Toronto on Sunday Nov. 29 at 3 pm. Coming with them is Korean conductor Bomi Kim, the first-ever female Asian conductor of the Vienna Boys Choir.

Vienna Boys Choir Conductor Bomi Kim (Photo: Credia)

The first half of the program includes works by Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, Handel, Saint-Saens, Poulenc, Mozart, and Schubert. The second half is made up of Christmas Carols from around the world - it's that time of year again! According to the Koerner Hall website, this concert is already sold out, but there are always returns, so do check with the box office.

Apollon Musagete Quartett

This week, Music Toronto is presenting yet again another chamber group in their Toronto debut - the Polish Apollon Musagete Quartett playing works by Dvorak and Schubert. This group has won many awards, including the ARD Munich (2008), Rising Stars of Vienna's Musikverein (2010), BBC New Generation (2012) and Borletti- Buitoni Trust (2014).  Thursday Nov. 26  8 pm at the usual venue of Jane Mallett Theartre, St. Lawrence Centre.

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