The Power of Words

Yesterday’s RBA concert was an intriguing mix of music and poetry presented by soprano Zi Xin Emily Lapin (soprano), Jialiang Zhu (piano) and Kathryn Knowles (polymath with her poet on).  It was a carefully curated programme and it featured surtitles throughout (major bonus points for that).

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The Pilgrim’s Way

Saturday night saw the inaugural concert of the Toronto Mendelssohn Singers; the professional core of the much larger Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, at Trinity St. Paul’s with Jean-Sébastien Vallée conducting.  There were four pieces on the programme; one very substantial and three shorter works.  Things kicked off with a pleasant but essentially conventional arrangement by Dierdre Robinson of Steal Away. This was followed by an Arabic piece by composer-in-residence Shireen Abu-Khader called I Forgive where the choir was joined by soloist Raneem Barakat.  This dealt with the short life and death of Egyptian LGBTQ activist Sarah Hegazi and was rather beautiful with intriguing Arab influences especially in the solo part.  Then came Elgar’s Lux Aeterna arranged for choir by John Cameron.

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