This year’s Toronto Summer Music Festival runs from July 12th to August 4th and, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 is war themed, though to be honest it wears it pretty lightly. As always there is one big vocal star. This year it’s German tenor Christoph Prégardien. He has a recital at Walter Hall with Julius Drake at 7.30pm on July 17th. He also pops up on the 20th at the same time and place to sing Schubert’s Die Forelle with Stephen Philcox in a program that features chamber music by Schubert, Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff. There’s no word on public masterclasses but he’s around for a few days so I suspect that something will emerge.
OK so who noticed that Barbara contains RBA twice? A perfect fit one might say and so it proved. In a short late afternoon concert Ms. Hannigan, joined by the TSO Chamber Soloists (Jonathan Crow, Peter Seminovs, Teng Li and Joseph Johnson) and Liz Upchurch, showed her chops as one of the day’s best interpreters of modern vocal music. First up was the String Quartet No.2 by Schoenberg. This is a most unusual quartet in that the players are joined by a soprano soloist for the third and fourth movements. It’s also unusual in that, although it predates Schoenberg’s full blown serialism, the first three movements are tonal (just) but the last is a full on experiment in atonality. None of this makes it easy to play or sing!