TSO 16/17

Last night saw the Toronto Symphony announce its 2016/17 plans.  The event itself was rather an upgrade from last year.  Rather than a 10am affair with coffee and donuts and a press conference in the lobby of Roy Thomson Hall we got wine and canapes and the “show” itself had the audience seated on the stage and in the choir loft of the hall itself; an unusual POV at least.  There were also performances from the TSO Ensemble and a terrifyingly accomplished fourteen year old pianist Leonard Lediak who will debut with the orchestra during Mozart 261 (incidentally relocated to Koerner Hall this time around).


So, from an Operaramblings perspective what are the the things to watch out for.  Renée Fleming is singing at the opening night gala and I’m guessing this will be avery much “last chance to see”.  There will also be a Mahler 3 with Jamie Barton as soloist later in the season.

The Decades Project continues with the 20s and 30s.  I was really pleased to hear Peter Oundjian make a heartfelt plea for people to stop treating the music of the 20th century as “intimidating” and “difficult” and just listen to it as part of the repertoire that has been accumulated over the centuries.  That’s something the COC might usefully take on board.  Chatting with people afterwards whose grandparents weren’t yet born when the works in question were composed rather reinforced this.  The highlights vocally are all from the 30s (June 2017) when there will be Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Orff’s Carmina Burana and a Joel Ivany directed semi-staged version of Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with Wallis Giunta as soloist.  The 20s section (October/November 2016) is mainly symphonic with works by Vaughan-Williams, Kodaly, Milhaud and Shostakovich among others.

The New Creations Festival (March 2017) will include a new piece by Tanya Tagaq and Christine Duncan which may well stretch the definition of vocal music almost as far as the fabled J-P Sartre Black Forest gateau stretched ideas of patisserie.  Lots of other interesting material here for contemporary music fans.

There’s lots more of course.  The mainstream symphonic repertoire is well represented with an impressive line up of conductors and soloists.  There are young people’s concerts and a Chinese New Year celebration.  There are pops and more collaborations with TIFF on films with live orchestra.  Ratatouille anyone?  I promise that if they ever do Wallace and Grommit I’ll go.  There’s also a special focus on Canadian music during 2017 for the sesquicentennial of Confederation (try saying that five times fast!)

Full details are here.

1 thought on “TSO 16/17

  1. I look forward to season announcements almost as much as concerts themselves so this is a pretty exciting time of year for me! That said, I’m usually somewhat disappointed when my dreams of avant-garde Soviet piano concerts and bonkers La Fura dels Baus opera productions go unfulfilled. This one is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s disappointing, though hardly surprising, to see such conservative programming but there are a few standout performers and a few genuinely interesting concerts to look forward to. The Decades Project has been underwhelming up till now (not least because the TSO undermined its own concept by featuring composers whose works are not representative of the defining traits of that era, e.g. Rachmaninoff) but the Belshezzar’s Feast concert gets it all right with the inclusion of Hindemith and Berg. The James Ehnes concert included in the New Creations Festival is another standout, featuring a pair of works by indie crossover talents Owen Pallett and Mica Levi. Additionally there are a number of exciting soloists in the lineup. I’m especially keen to see Jan Lisiecki since I failed to secure tickets to his performance at Koerner Hall a few months ago. Hopefully the pic of Jan in the TSO brochure, looking like a handsome young vampire, doesn’t entice so many Twilight tweens that this too becomes an impossible ticket! Overall it’s the sort of safe, solid, unimaginative season we’ve come to expect from the TSO.

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