So one thing can be guaranteed in December; lots of Messiah. This year I have four on the radar. There’s the TSO of course. This year Johannes Debus conducts with soloists Claire de Sévigné, Allyson McHardy, Andrew Haji and Tyler Duncan. One might almost have expected the COC Chorus but actually it’s the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in the loft. That one runs December 18th, 19th, 21st and 22nd at 8pm and the 23rd at 3pm. Roy Thomson Hall of course. Over at Tafelmusik, it’s Ivars Taurins with Sherezade Panthaki, Krisztina Szabó, Charles Daniels and Drew Santini plus, of course, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir. That’s on December 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st at Koerner Hall at 7.30pm. The Sing-a-Long version is at Roy Thomson Hall at 2pm on the 22nd. There’s also a workshop on the 8th at 2pm at Eglinton St. George’s United Church.
Soundstreams are presenting Electric Messiah IV at the Drake Underground on December 4th, 5th and 6th at 8pm. This year’s line up includes Jonathan MacArthur, Aviva Chernick and Alex Samaras singing while Adam Scime returns as music director There’s also Christopher Bagan, analog and electric harpsichord, Joel Schwartz, electric guitar, Jeff McLeod, electric organ, SlowPitchSound, turntablist and resident DJ, and Lybido, dancer.
Amateur choir B-Xalted, founded by writers Barbara Gowdy and Whitney Smith and made up largely of scriveners of various ilks is performing Messiah excerpts on December 11th at 8 p.m. at the Church of St. Peter & St. Simon-the-Apostle, 525 Bloor Street East. Simon Walker conducts, with organist Andrew Adair and soloists Dallas Chorley, Rebecca Gray, Charles Davidson, David Walsh and Nicholas Borg.
In less messianic news, Toronto City Opera are presenting Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro on December 6th and 7th at 7.30pm and the 9th at 2pm. This is a group that uses an amateur chorus and piano accompaniment plus professional soloists, director etc. Previously I’ve stayed away because they used to perform at the fire trap cum flea pit Bickford Centre but they now at the much swankier Miles Nadal JCC. The line up is interesting too. Alaina Viau directs with Jenn Tung at the piano. Singers include Dylan Wright, Brittany Rae, Peter Bass, Jonelle Sills and Lillian Brooks.
On December 1st and 2nd Joel Ivany teams up with Stéphane Mayer for a “transladaptation” for kids of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. With a new English libretto by Ivany and musical adaptation by Mayer, the Cinderella story is transported to a modern-day middle school. When the singing show WOW Factor lands at her school, shy Cindy must face a posse of mean girls in order to step into the spotlight and share her voice with the world. There are shows at 11am and 2pm with the Sunday 11am described as “relaxed” which I’m guessing means suitable for the younger kids. This one is being put on by the COC at the Imperial Oil Opera theatre.
In the RBA free concert series at noon you can catch Anna-Sophie Neher accompanied by
Magdalena von Eccher on the 4th. On the 5th Simone McIntosh and Rachel Kerr are performing Messiaen’s Harawi. If you possibly can catch this I really recommend it. It’s a fantastic piece. On the 11th there’s an Against the Grain retrospective with the usual suspects. Also from Atg, it’s Opera Pub on the 6th at 9pm at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club.