ReGENERATION – July 21st part 2

So back to Walter Hall at 4pm for the last of the Regen concerts featuring song.  This time Renee Fajardo and Jinhee Park kicked things off with a very fine set starting with Herr Schumann’s sinister Die Soldat and Frau Schumann’s Die Lorelei.  This was all smoothly and elegantly sung bar a slight tendency to push high notes.  There was some very impressive pianism here too.  The set concluded with Schoenberg’s Galathea; a bold and interesting choice, where Renee managed to create an almost cabaret timbre without ever sacrificing accuracy.  Nicely done!

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ReGENERATION – July 21st part 1

The last two ReGENERATION concerts featuring song took place in Walter Hall yesterday at 1pm and 4pm.  Both featured four singers doing a set with piano, a vocal piece with chamber accompaniment and a chamber piece.  All the members of the Artsong Academy programme appeared at least once.  First up was tenor Joey Jang with Frances Armstrong at the piano with a set of Schubert and Schumann.  He sounded OK, if a bit underpowered, in Liebesbotschaft with its fairly fast rhythmic lines but technical issues showed up in the slower pieces requiring real legato.

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L’Histoire du Soldat

Most music lovers have probably heard the music from Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat in either orchestral or chamber arrangement but it’s rare for the work to be given in its full staged form but that’s how it was presented (more or less) last night at Koerner Hall by the Toronto Summer Music Festival in association with LooseTEA Music Theatre.  That form includes a narrator, an actor (originally three actors, nowadays usually just a single actor/narrator) and dancer.  Plus, of course, the band; violin and bass, clarinet and bassoon, cornet and trombone, piano.

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Prégardien and Drake at Walter Hall

German tenor Christoph Prégardien and English pianist Julius Drake teamed up at Walter Hall last night for one of the finest Liederabends that I have ever been privileged to hear.  The first set was all Mahler; six songs from Das Knaben Wunderhorn plus one from the Rückert-Lieder.  It started strongly with three essentially comic songs; all donkeys, geese and magic rings.  The teamwork between the musicians was exemplary.  and the attention to text by both parties penetrating.  And then it was the little things that raised the bar from excellent to exceptional; the use of a pause, the slight lingering on a syllable, the accelerando into a comic line.

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Tears of Exile

Last night’s Toronto Summer Music Festival offering was Tears of Exile; a series of settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, sung by  the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal.  There were excerpts from Renaissance era settings by Tallis, Lassus and Morales together with VaughanWilliam’s O vos Omnes and Mauersberger’s Wie liegt die Stadt du wüst; the last two riffing off the ancient theme to “lament” respectively the Great War and the destruction of Dresden in 1945.

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SOLT and Classical Pursuits

soltSummer Opera Lyric Theatre has announced its 2018 season.  There are three shows.  Massenet’s Manon plays July 27th (8pm) and 29th (2pm) and August 1st (2pm) and 4th (8pm).  Handel’s Semele plays July 28th (8pm) and August 1st (8pm), 3rd (8pm) and 4th (2pm).  Mozart’s Così fan tutte plays July 28th (2pm) and 31st (8pm) and August 2nd (8pm) and 5th (2pm).  Guillermo Silva-Marin directs the young artists of SOLT and all performances are at the Robert Gill Theatre, University of Toronto, 214 College St. (entrance on St. George).  Subscription packages for $60 are available. Single tickets are $28, ($22 for students and seniors).  For subscription and single tickets call 416-366-7723 (Mondays to Fridays from 12 pm to 6 pm), at the door 2 hours prior to performances, or online at www.ticketmaster.ca.

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Artsong reGENERATION – part 2

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Danielle Vaillancourt

So it was back to Walter Hall at 7.30pm for Saturday’s second instalment.  This time the programme kicked off with the Schumann Piano Quartet in E flat Major Op. 47 before the singers.  The first singer up was mezzo Danielle Vaillancourt with pianist Jing Lee Park.  They gave us just two songs.  The first was Fauré’s Il pleure dans mon coeur followed by Duparc’s Au pays où se fait la guerre.  Vaillancourt has excellent French diction, a really interesting timbre and plenty of power.  This was pretty fine singing.  Jing Lee Park made the most of her chance to shine in the rather lovely piano part in the Duparc. Continue reading