February 2023

february2023Here’s what I’m looking forward to in February plus a few gigs I can’t make:

  • February 1st and 2nd the Chicago Symphony and Riccardo Muti are performing at Koerner Hall.  It’s a rare opportunity to hear a top orchestra in the wonderful Koerner acoustic but it’s probably sold out already.
  • On February 3rd the COC opens a run of Richard Strauss’ Salome with Ambur Braid in the title role and a stellar supporting cast.  Hard core Braid fans (and that includes me) know that this is a role she was born to sing.  It’s an Atom Egoyan production and he’ll likely tweak it but here’s a link to my review of the 2013 run.
  • February 6th sees the return of the Quilico Awards; a competition for the singers of the Ensemble Studio.  That’s at 5.30pm in the RBA and it’s free.

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January 2023

januarty wordcloudJanuary is looking quite promising on both the music and theatre front but there’s not a lot of opera…  Here’s what’s in my agenda.

January 11th to 14th the TSO have four performances of a concert that includes Mozart’s Requiem with a good looking line up of soloists.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Hannukwanzmas

dec22wordcloudSo what’s on as we move into the holiday season?

Closing out November there’s Opera Revue at Castro’s this afternoon at 3pm and a couple of concerts on Wednesday.  At lunchtime Wirth Prize winner Elisabeth Saint-Gelais and collaborative pianist Louise Pelletier present an intriguing looking programme in the RBA then at 7.30pm at Mazzoleni Hall the RCM’s Rebanks fellows are performing.  Both are free but the Mazzoleni concert is ticketed and may be sold out.

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21C 2022/23

21c_wordmark_carrier_croppedThe line up for this year’s (and a bit of next’s) 21C at the Royal Conservatory has been announced.  The full line up is here.

I’m particularly interested in the Kronos Quartet concerts on December 8th and 9th; especially the latter which features “Music for Change” including a world premiere of a piece by Tanya Tagaq.

I’ll also want to see three of the concerts in the new year.  On January 21st at 5pm there’s a Cinq à Sept concert in Temerty Hall which, among other things, features a new song cycle by Lembit Beecher and Lisa Balkan.  The following day at 3pm in Koerner Hall there’s a concert of new works by Ian Cusson and Stewart Goodyear.  Finally, on January 28th at 10pm in Temerty Hall Brian Current and the GGS New Music Ensemble have a candlelit concert of night related works including music by Bekkah Simms and R. Murray Schafer.

Lots of good stuff!

Miscellany

Less a Toronto listings summary than a quick review of things going on in various real and virtual spaces.

  • On November 6th my good friends at Opera Revue have a “gala”; Ruckus! at the Revival.  Besides the usual suspects there are several guests and I believe it starts at 6.30pm not 7.30 like the poster says.  There’s a very short and very silly trailer here.

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Chicago Symphony

As part of music director Riccardo Muti’s final tour with the orchestra, the Chicago Symphony is coming to Toronto in February for the first time since 1914.  It’s at Koerner too, so it’s a chance to see one of the world’s great orchestras in a really good acoustic.  The dates are February 1st and 2nd 2023 and the programmes are:

  • February 1st:  Beethoven Symphony No. 7 and Prokofiev Symphony No. 5
  • February 2nd: Beethoven Coriolan Overture and Symphony No. 8, Liadov The Enhanted Lake and Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition.

CSOmuti

Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography

Up next…

More shows to enjoy…

  • hr_BengalTigerWebBannerOctober 11th to November 6th at Crow’s Theatre it’s Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.  “During the chaos of the 2003 American occupation of Iraq the lives of two American marines intersect with an Iraqi gardener as they search through the rubble of war for friendship, redemption, and a toilet seat made of gold.”
  • Jarrousky1October 26th at 8pm at Koerner Hall Philippe Jaroussky is appearing with Ensemble Artaserse.  It’s a rare chance to hear somewhat controversial countertemor Jaroussky sing with orchestra in an ideal venue.  The concert includes works by a range of baroque composers.  Some of the material is relatively familiar; “Cara sposa” from Rinaldo for example, but much is by less well known composers such as Hasse and Ferrandini.  Artaserse Ensemble is a leading period instrument band that, besides Jaroussky, has appeared with such singers as Cecilia Bartoli and Andreas Scholl.
  • October 27th – 30th at Alliance Française it’s Tapestry’s Tapestry Briefs: Les Shorts qui chantent.  This will showcase scenes created at the very first bi-lingual LibLab.  Direction is by Tim Albery.
  • October 26th to November 12th at Hart House Theatre, Howland Company and Hart House Theatre have a modern adaptation by Paolo Santalucia of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
  • November 3rd at 5.30pm it’s Centre Stage at the Four Season’s Centre, live for the first time in a while.  It’s the usual format; cocktails and snacks, a competition for aspiring voices and, for the well heeled, an on-stage dinner.

If you are buying tickets look out for deals.  There’s a fair bit of discounting going on.  Some shows have clearly sold very well but others not so much.  The post pandemic bounce back looks a bit anaemic right now.

A couple more listings…

These two slipped through the cracks:

choralsplendourSeptember 21st at 8pm Soundstreams have a choral concert at Koerner Hall.  It’s called Choral Splendour and features Soundstreams’ Choir 21 with Meghan Lindsey, Rebecca Cuddy, Owen McCausland and Alain Coulombe in a programme of music by Frehner, Pärt and Vivier.  Vivier’s Zipangu will be accompanied by a live dancer and a film created by Michael Greyeyes.

sarainfoxSeptember 30th also at Koerner Hall at 8pm there’s a free concert to commemorate National Truth and Reconciliation Day.  Sarain Fox MCs a mixture of the solemn (testimony from a residential school survivor) and the less solemn (Tomson Highway with excerpts from Songs in the Key of Cree), drumming, dancing and the piano quintet version of Ian Cusson’s Marilyn Dumont songs sung by Rebecca Cuddy with the New Orford Quartet and philip Chiu.  If you haven’t heard these songs you should and if you have, but haven’t heard this arrangement, see them anyway because this is the best version!  This show is free but ticketed and tickets are going superfast.

Even more listings

pilgrims-way-titleEven more listings for early/mid October…

  • October 1st at 7.30pm at Trinity St. Paul’s Toronto Mendelssohn Singers have a concert of (mainly) contemporary a cappella music titled The Pilgrim’s Way.  This is a new initiative in which the professional core of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir will perform as a 24 person ensemble.  I’m quite fond of good professional choirs singing interesting stuff (see CD and concert reviews of The Crossing and LA Master Chorale).
  • Opera Atelier open a run of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas on the 20th at 7.30pm at the Elgin Theatre.  Meghan Lindsey and Colin Ainsworth are the lovers.  Also on the 21st and 23rd.
  • Toronto Operetta Theatre will perform Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld on the 21st at 8pm at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts.  The cast includes Vania Chan, Tonatiuh Abrego, Gregory Finney, Joshua Clemenger, River Guard and Mairi Demings.  Also playing on the 22nd and 23rd.