The TSO has announced its 2018/19 season; the first under the temporary (maybe!) direction of Sir Andrew Davis. I think there’s a lot to like. As ever it’s an eclectic mix of mainstream and contemporary orchestral music, major choral works, and more popular fare like film screenings with orchestra pops and Broadway but there are more guest conductors and, it seems to me, more focus on the core symphonic repertoire.
From my point of view here are some highlights:
- In November 2018, the centenary of the 1918 Armistice, Bramwell Tovey will conduct Britten’s War Requiem with the TSO, soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya, tenor Toby Spence, baritone Russell Braun, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the Toronto Children’s Chorus.
- The 2018 Messiah will be conducted by Johannes Debus with Andrew Haji and Clare de Sevigne among the soloists.
- Then in January 2019, Sir Andrew Davis Conducts Wagner features Act I of Wagner’s Die Walküre in concert with Soprano Lise Davidsen, tenor Simon O’Neill, and bass Brindley Sherratt.
- In February Barbara Hannigan is back singing and conducting in a program that includes Debussy, Sibelius, Haydn, Berg and Gershwin.
- Also in February there are a couple of showings of Casablanca with the orchestra accompanying, with Evan Mitchell at the podium. I’m not really into the film with orchestra thing but I’ll make an exception for this one on grounds of both film and conductor.
- In March Gemma New conducts Shostakovich’s seminal Fifth Symphony. Stalinists are excused attendance.
- In April Juanjo Mena conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection” with Joélle Harvey and Marie-Nicole Lemieux.
- In June there’s Orff’s Carmina Burana with Donald Runnicles conducting plus Nicole Haslett, soprano; Sunnyboy Dladla, tenor; the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Children’s Chorus.
There’s lots more of course. Full details are here.
I like the mix. I like that Sir Andrew is not hogging the podium (much as I admire his conducting) and I’m impressed by the number of female conductors. Looking ahead, Sir Andrew has two seasons while the orchestra finds a new CEO and a new conductor. They should be in place for the reopening of a refurbished Massey Hall. Dare we hope? Nah… Still things do look a little less doom laden and I fancy there will be rather more trips to Roy Thomson next season than this one.