Around Canada

Estonians Honor Choral Tradition In Toronto Return

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – As part of its North American tour, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir sang solemn music of Arvo Pärt, Estonia’s most famous composer, and Canadian music by composers of Estonian descent.

Toronto Symphony Salutes Own With ‘Canadian Legacy’

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Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Except for an introductory work, the evening was given over to Canadian scores not receiving premieres. The five main pieces were premiered decades ago and written by composers who are no longer living.

Coming Events: Canada Turns 150, Makes Joyful Noise

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By Colin Eatock

DATE BOOK – The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has organized Canada Mosaic in celebration of the country’s 150th year. Commissions from the nation’s many distinctive musical voices will ring out at orchestras coast to coast.

Montreal ‘Ladies’ Club Serves Up Classical Cream

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By Arthur Kaptainis

MONTREAL – Since 1892, the Ladies Morning Musical Club has sponsored concerts in Montreal, although men can now attend and recitals are later in the day. Soprano Karina Gauvin offered art song, folk and cabaret.

Joyce DiDonato Devises Inventive Recital Variation

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By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – The American mezzo-soprano’s extragavant project, In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music, includes contemporary media, a period-instrument orchestra, and stage movement, along with stellar vocalism.

Trio And Soprano Serve Up Charming And Eclectic Menu

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By Bill Rankin

CALGARY – For their subtle concert at the University of Calgary, Toronto’s Gryphon Trio and Canadian soprano Patricia O’Callaghan performed works from various traditions, including classical, pop, and cabaret.

Mullova Is Special As She Mixes With Early-Music Group

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova isn’t an early-music specialist, or a specialist in anything, really. But she was a first among equals with members of the Italian ensemble Accademia Bizantina.

Singular Sonorities In Four New Works Get Big Bass Boost

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By Arthur Kaptainis

MONTREAL – Reveling in a big, big way, the Montreal Symphony lauded the 50th anniversary of the city’s Metro subway and explored new sounds in Jewish music in back-to-back concerts. Also unveiled – a monster octobass.

Lackluster Staging Undercuts Strong Singing in Norma

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By Arthur Kaptainis

TORONTO – Sondra Radvanovsky shines in the daunting title role, with Russell Thomas as Pollione, in a misbegotten if harmless rendition of Bellini’s bel canto drama to open the season at the Canadian Opera Company.

Near Centennial, Vancouver SO Is Also Near Change

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By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – Bramwell Tovey began his next-to-last season as the Vancouver Symphony’s most successful music director ever with a splashy proposition very much to his taste, including a roof-raising Le sacre du printemps.

Monteverdi Helps Musicians Honor Late Conductor

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By Arthur Kaptainis

MONTREAL – The Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal paid tribute to Christopher Jackson, its leader until his death last year, with a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers led by Jackson friend and colleague Julian Wachner.

Festival Mimics Concert Styles Of Old London Town

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – A “London Calling” theme has yielded chamber music programs for 2016 Toronto Summer Music, which reconstructs 18th- and 19th-century traditions for coronations and fashionable concert societies.

Charles Pope Jr., Noted Canadian Critic, Dies At 69

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By Earl Arthur Love

IN MEMORIAM – Charles Pope Jr. of Ottawa, Ontario, an elegant writer who was a longtime correspondent for Opera Canada and frequent contributor to ConcertoNet.com, died suddenly on May 31, 2016.

Grand Mahler 8th Caps Minczuk Era With Calgary Phil

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By Bill Rankin

CALGARY – There was a spirit of unabashed sentimentality as well as musical energy when the Calgary Philharmonic and a sold-out audience said farewell to Roberto Minczuk, who is moving on after a decade as music director.

Toronto Festival Yields Gamut Of New Compositions

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Colin Eatock

TORONTO – The third annual Twenty-First Century Music Festival at the Royal Conservatory of Music presented scores ranging from here-today-gone-tomorrow works to pieces that could have some staying power.

Artistry Afresh At National Arts Centre Orchestra

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By Richard Todd

OTTAWA, Canada – It wasn’t the last concert of the season or even a regular subscription concert. But the orchestra’s “Life Reflected” program was an impressive climax to Alexander Shelley’s first year as artistic director.

Coming Events: Small-Scale Gems Dot Northern Fests

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By Colin Eatock

DATE BOOK – Haitian born Canadian soprano Marie-Josée Lord’s small-ensemble homage Femmes, with archetypes from Delilah to Piaf, embodies the vibrant spirit of Canadian summer festivals in historic venues and scenic locales.

Patrician, Populist Impulses Compete In New Music Fest

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By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – Chamber groups Kronos Quartet and Standing Wave joined the Vancouver Symphony in a four-day fest of the new, shaped by conductor Bramwell Tovey and quirky choices of composer Jocelyn Morlock.

Long Estranged, Dutoit, Montreal Reignite Old Fire

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By Earl Arthur Love

MONTREAL — After slamming the door on the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in 2002, Charles Dutoit, who is 79, returned for the first time to conduct two concerts, and a brilliant Petrouchka recaptured their storied rapport.

A Baroque Band Stretches To Make Beethoven Modern

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, under the German maestro Bruno Weil, completed its cycle of all the Beethoven symphonies with a Ninth that – like Nos. 1-8 – was permeated by a sense of striving and struggling.