Last night Koerner Hall live streamed a concert by the COC orchestra conducted by Johannes Debus with guest soloist Adrienne Pieczonka. It was a mostly Beethoven concert bookended by the Egmont Overture and the Symphony No.2. In between came a set of more Beethoven, Schubert and Wagner sung by Adrienne.
It all feels slightly surreal. This one was streamed live though I chose to watch it this morning when I was a bit more awake! So, there was the usual concert ritual but with plague mutations which was a but disconcerting. Johannes and Marie Bédard elbow bumped rather than shook hands. Johannes and the strings were masked. The winds were enclosed in little perspex boxes. And, of course, the only applause came from the people on stage. Nonetheless i found myself curiously moved at times which doesn’t happen very often with streamed concerts.
It was interesting and enjoyable to hear the COC orchestra play rep that they don’t usually do. I particularly liked the Egmont Overture which was very dramatic and exciting. The symphony was well played too. It really is a fine orchestra. Adrienne’s set wasn’t especially long but I enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard Erlkönig with orchestra (arr. Berlioz). It’s interesting and Adrienne has the power to characterise the different voices clearly while singing with a full orchestra. There was also “Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin” from Fidelio. This is truly noble music invoking two things we desperately need right now; hope and courage. And, indeed, it was nobly sung. Der Engel and Träume from the Wesendonck Lieder rounded out a set which I thoroughly enjoyed but honestly left me feeling very sad for what we have lost and have yet to lose.
The technical quality; sound and video on this stream is really very good with none of the stuttering I ran into on the last Koerner stream. The stream is available on demand at this link but requires a purchased pass code to access.
Photos are caps from the video.
Hoping this is the start of a renewed effort to feature the COC Orchestra in future concerts. I feel that a lot was lost when that all came to an end a decade or so ago. So many opportunities to perhaps schedule unusual, less-performed operas, and hear the orchestra in song rep like Berlioz’s Nuits d’ete etc plus orchestral rep. I know it’s always a matter of $$$ for these things – but as you say, an excellent orchestra that, IMHO, doesn’t get enough opportunities to shine outside the pit.