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)

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

 

 

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.

 

Mahler Resurrection

Mahler’s Symphony No.2 in C Minor “Resurrection” is a massive beast using multiple percussionists, a very large brass section (who rather disconcertingly troop on and off stage multiple times), choir and two vocal soloists and it lasts an hour and a half.  It’s also a very peculiar animal emotionally; combining almost naive folk dance tunes with passages of haunting beauty and extreme bombast.  Last night, in the second of two performances at Roy Thomson Hall, Peter Oundjian and the TSO give it a spectacularly unrestrained performance.

mahler2 Continue reading

It’s that time of year

atg_dandd_webposter_revisedIt’s that time of year when the musical calendar kind of grinds almost to a halt in Toronto.  Looking ahead to June there’s not a whole lot on offer, at least in the opera/choral/artsong departments.  The big event is Against the Grain’s Death and Desire show, of which I saw the first half previewed in the RBA.  It’s on at the Neubacher Shor Gallery (Queen and Dufferin) on June 2nd to 5th at 8pm.  Tickets are going fast so if you plan to go, head here soon. There’s a Mahler 2nd (Resurrection) Symphony at the TSO on June 10th (8pm) and 12th(7.30pm).  Erin Wall, Susan Platts and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir will join the orchestra with Peter Oudjian conducting. Then it’s Luminato.  The big deal for opera fans here is R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis.  David Fallis will direct what sounds like a Cecil B. DeMille scale extravaganza.  It’s at the Sony Centre on June 26th and 27th (8pm) and the 28th (2pm).  At your own risk…