On Saturday evening the Toronto Mendelssohn Singers gave a very beautiful, carefully constructed and thought provoking concert. To start with it was at the Church of the Holy Trinity which, as most Torontonians will know, is a sort of social hub servicing the spiritual and material needs of Toronto’s homeless as best they can. All the more ironic as it sits in the shadow of that iconic temple of consumer capitalism the Eaton Centre.
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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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Even 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.