The Three Tenors

Today’s RBA lunchtime concert featured the three tenors; Kammersinger Michael Schade, currently appearing as Aegisth in the COC’s Elektra, Irish tenor Mick O’Schade and Scottish folksinger Michael McSchade.  They were most ably supported by COC Concertmaster Marie Bérard and Sandra Horst at the piano.  The concert was billed as a tribute to John McCormack and Fritz Kreisler but sad events had morphed it into also being a tribute to the CBC’s Neil Crory.  I hope, and believe, that he would have appreciated the combination of whimsy and serious music making.

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Five star Elektra

Richard Strauss’ Elektra opened last night in a revised version of James Robinson’s 2007 production.  The setting is fairly straightforward and a bit drab; vaguely Victorian, or perhaps Gormenghast, which seems about right for the hagridden House of Atreus.  The stage is severely raked; back to front. and stage left to right.  There are a couple of walls with entrances.  There’s a strange little hut which, it turns out, forms a sort of trap door to the palace.  Costumes are either shapeless (ladies) or vaguely reminiscent of evening wear (gentlemen).  In this setting the action plays out convincingly enough with even difficult scenes like Elektra’s “death dance” well handled.  The tricky scenes between Elektra and Klytämnestra and Elektra and Orest have the appropriate degree of tension and suspense.

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The actual, for real, COC 2018/19 season

chemistexplaThis just in:

The fall season will open with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in the Carsen production as predicted yesterday.  The (pleasant) surprise is that Gordon Bintner will sing the title role.  Joyce El-Khoury sings Tatiana and Joseph Kaiser is Lensky.  Johannes Debus conducts.

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A Tribute to Maureen Forrester

Last night’s TSO concert was billed as a Tribute to Maureen Forrester with Ben Heppner MCing.  Inevitably the main even was Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde but first there was a sesquie and the premiere of a new piece; L’Aube, for mezzo and orchestra by Howard Shore (he of Lord of the Rings etc).  This was a setting of five poems by Elizabeth Cotnoir. It was retro, lush, tonal and, in a sense, well crafted but with very little variation between the movements, all of which were very slow.  Susan Platts rich mezzo added to the rather soporific effect. Call me an unreformed modernist if you like but I’m really not sure what a piece like this adds to the symphonic repertoire.

Susan Platts, Peter Oundjian (@Jag Gundu)

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Coming right up

Simone-Osborne-Gordon-Bintner-3And in the week ahead…

There are still tickets available for Erin Wall and Asitha Tennekoon at Mazzoleni on Sunday.

On Monday evening at 7.30pm in Walter Hall veteran Canadian mezzo Judith Forst is giving a free master class.

Thursday is the big day.  At lunchtime in the RBA you can catch Simone Osborne and Gordon Bintner, currently headlining in L’elisir d’amore on the COC main stage, accompanied by Liz Upchurch (free of course).  Later, at 8pm there’s A Tribute to Maureen Forrester at the Symphony.  That program features, inter alia, Michael Schade and Susan Platts in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.  The program will be repeated on Friday at 7.30pm.  Last I checked there were still $25 tickets available.

Photo courtesy of the lady herself.

 

 

Moors and Christians

Schubert could write great melodies and he had a real affinity for the voice so one might expect him to have been successful when he turned his hand to opera.  He wasn’t with Fierrabras which wasn’t performed until decades after his death and has been revived seldom since, most recently at Salzburg in 2014 where it was recorded. It’s easy to see why.  The libretto is awful and even if the music were really amazing, which it isn’t but more of that later, I doubt it would have made much impact.

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And now, the TSO

tso-music-director-peter-oundjian-photo-credit-sian-richardsHot on the heels of the RCM, the Toronto Symphony has announced its 2017/18 season, whih will be Peter Oundjian’s last as Music Director.  There’s lots of sesquicentennial stuff of course but here’s a summary of the interesting vocal stuff (rock and roll and other children’s music omitted).

September 27,28 and 30, 2017: Brahm’s German Requiem with Erin Wall and Russell Braun.

October 19 and 20, 2017: Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Susan Platts and Michael Schade.  This is billed as a Maureen Forrester commemoration.

November 9 and 11, 2017: Jeffrey Ryan’s Afghanistan:Requiem for a Generation with Measha Brueggergosman, Alysson McHardy, Colin Ainsworth and Brett Polegato.

December 16, 19, 20, 22 and 23, 2017: Handel’s Messiah with Karina Gauvin, Kristina Szabó, Frédéric Antoun and Joshua Hopkins.

April 26 and 28, 2018: A concert performance of Bernstein’s Candide with Tracy Dahl, Judith Forst, Nicholas Phan and Richard Suart.

June 2 and 3, 2018: A concert called Water Music with Leslie Ann Bradley singing Dvorak, Schubert and Mozart.

June 28 and 29, 2018:  Peter Oundjian signs off with a Beethoven 9.  Soloists tba.

Full details here.