COC free concert season announced

Jan19RBA4The COC has just released the line up for the free lunchtime concert series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.  It’s the usual rich and eclectic mix of vocal, chamber and piano music with world music, jazz and dance thrown in for good measure.  Here are the highlights from my point of view:


  • As usual the Ensemble Studio open the season. (September 27th)
  • Darkness and Love – Russian bass Dimitry Ivashchenko and pianist Rachel Andrist in a program celebrating Russian song that includes Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death (inevitably!) and works by Rachmaninov, Borodin, and Tchaikovsky. (October 11th)
  • Artists of the COC Orchestra perform Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.  Not vocal but one of my very favourite pieces of music. (October 13th)
  • UoT opera students perform Mozart. (October 25th)
  • Voices of Women – Soprano Magali Simard-Galdès and pianist Olivier Hébert-Bouchard present a concert of works byfemale composers. (November 8th)
  • Ayre – Against the Grain Theatre returns with their new presentation of Argentinean Osvaldo Golijov’s song cycle, Ayre. Miriam Khalil and  11 instrumentalists unleash a fusion of Arabic, Hebrew, Sardinian, and Sephardic folk melodies and texts. This may be the most exciting concert of the season. (November 10th)
  • A recital by Wirth prize winner Chelsea Rus. (December 1st)
  • Echo/Sap’a – Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations mezzo Marion Newman presents a concert on the theme of reconciliation, featuring works by Canadian composers. Dustin Peters’ song cycle, Echo|Sap’a, explores the journey of The Echo (or Sap’a in Kwakwala), a para-natural entity that mimics the sounds and movements she encounters throughout the woods and waters. Violinist Kathleen Kajioka joins the program in a performance of Kinanu, a lullaby composed by Newman for her baby sister.  This is one in a most welcome series of First Nations related concerts for the sesquicentennial. (January 5th)
  • Lost in a Russian Forest – Croatian-born Goran Jurić (Sarastro in the COC’s The Magic Flute) presents Russian works but not (mercifully) Songs and Dances of Death. (January 24th)
  • The COC Orchestra Academy with Jacquie Woodley perform a baroque program. (January 26th)
  • Phillip Addis and accompanist Emily Hamper perform a program including the song cycles Waypoints by Erik Ross and Histoires Naturelles by Maurice Ravel. (January 31st)
  • Mélodies of the Heart – Members of the COC Ensemble Studio perform a  recital of French mélodies. Mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo presents Messiaen’s Trois Mélodies and Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis, while Bruno Roy offers Don Quichotte à Dulcinée and Poulenc’s La fraîcheur et le feu. (February 9th)
  • The Christina and Louis Quilico Awards – Artists of the COC Ensemble Studio compete in the 7th edition of the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards. Each artist will perform an aria of his or her own choosing and a second aria selected by the panel of judges. (February 13th 5.30pm to 7.30pm)
  • Andrew Haji and Liz Upchurch perform Britten’s Serenade and other stuff for Valentine’s Day.  If you haven’t heard the big guy sing Britten you should! (February 14th)
  • Russian soprano Elena Tsallagova offers a concert of French and Russian music that includes Debussy’s Rondel Chinois and Bizet’s song cycle Feuilles d’album, as well as Rachmaninov’s Lilacs and Rimsky Korsakov’s Romance Orient. (February 16th)
  • Since Then… – Five years ago to the day, Canadian Ileana Montalbetti bid farewell to the COC Ensemble Studio in her Les Adieux recital accompanied by pianist Rachel Andrist. Can it really be that long?  Anyhow they are back with a program of works by Mozart, Verdi, Strauss and Britten and the Toronto premiere of Robert Ursan’s songs based on the poetry of Shakespeare. (February 23rd)
  • Millan & Faye present Opera for All Ages – Kyra’s annual march Madness show for kids of all ages. (March 14th)
  • Fête – Toronto-based Collectìf is dedicated to exploring and expanding the world of art song performance by presenting innovative, song-based theatre. In a newly-compiled pastiche, entitled Fête, Collectìf presents staged vignettes of art song based on Verlaine’s iconic poetry cycle, Fêtes galantes.  These guys shows are well worth seeing and I’m glad they are getting some more exposure. (April 18th)
  • Women on the Edge – Allyson McHardy teams up with pianist Rachel Andrist in a concert about women “on the edge.” And who better?  The program includes Schumann’s Poèmes de la reine Marie d’Ecosse, Zemlinsky’s Six Songs after Poems by Maeterlinck, and the Ophelia songs by Berlioz, Chausson, and Saint-Saëns. (May 9th)
  • Aaron Sheppard reflects on the brevity of life in Finzi’s A Young Man’s Exhortation. (May 10th)
  • Lauren Eberwein joins members of the COC Orchestra in a program featuring two of J.S. Bach’s cantatas: Ich habe genug, BWV 82, and Vergnügte Ruh, BWV 170. (May 11th)(*)
  • Dawn Always Begins in the Bones – This is the world premiere of Ana Sokolović’s Canadian Art Song Project commissioned cycle.  COC Ensemble Studio members perform songs and ensembles based on texts from across Canada.  The CASP commission concert is always an event. (May 17th)
  • Charles Sy and Hyejin Kwon’s farewell concert featuring Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin. (May 18th)

The full line up can be found here.  All concerts are free and are at noon unless otherwise indicated.


*I have a Tosca on the 12th.  I think I may just take a sleeping bag.


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