Around Canada

Choruses Outshine Pale Repertoire In Toronto Showcase

By Colin Eatock
TORONTO - Three of Canada's best choral ensembles combined into a 60-voice "super choir" of supple flexibility to perform music of Latvian composer Uģis Prauliņš and counterparts from Finland, Poland, Norway and Canada.

Canadian Opera’s ‘Così’ Doesn’t Equal Sum Of The Hearts

By Colin Eatock
TORONTO - Operatic arithmetic doesn’t always work in quite the same ways that normal math does. The sum of an ambitious production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte at Canadian Opera Company is a hodge-podge, engaging in some respects, tedious in others.

Winnipeg Festival Takes ‘New Music’ To New Territory

By Holly Harris
WINNIPEG – For 23 years, the Winnipeg Symphony's annual New Music Festival has been a mid-winter rite in the frigid Manitoba clime. "This year we break out into new genres,” says music director Alexander Mickelthwate of the week-long fête entitled Beyond.

Early Music Group Brings Life Spark To Sepulcral Hall

By Lev Bratishenko
MONTREAL - Studio de musique ancienne offered Venetian polychoral music as part of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art's "Splendors of Venice" exhibition. But Bourgie Hall, where they performed, is no Saint Mark's Basilica.

Bronfman Brings Power, Glory To Beethoven Cycle

By David Gordon Duke
VANCOUVER - Part of the fun in hearing Yefim Bronfman do all five Beethoven piano concertos within the context of three Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concerts was in how this game of connections played out.

Rossini’s Comedic ‘Italian Girl’ Finds Home in Calgary

By Bill Rankin
CALGARY -- Calgary Opera has commissioned or co-produced four new main stage shows in the past decade, including Jake Heggie's Moby Dick. But it opened the 2013-14 season with some delicious nineteenth-century fun.

Gamelan Hybrids Display Uneven Charms in Toronto

By John Terauds
TORONTO -- The Indonesian gamelan has long fascinated Western composers. And what they love, they must appropriate. The Esprit Orchestra explores how Lou Harrison and others have gone about it.

Ax’s Brahms Spices Bland Night With Toronto Symphony

By Colin Eatock
TORONTO -- Peter Oundjian, in his tenth season as music director of the TSO, led the local premiere of Gary Kulesha's Third Symphony and teamed with Emanuel Ax in Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2.

‘Scottish’ Program Done With a Flair In Vancouver

By David Gordon Duke
VANCOUVER -- For a city with Caledonian roots so strong it had a separate "Mac and Mc" section in early phone books, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra offered a stylish program of all-Scottish music by non-Scots composers under guest conductor Jun Märkl.

Pianist Hamelin Takes the Road Less Traveled

By Colin Eatock
TORONTO -- "If you look at my discography, I don't think you'll find anything like it anywhere else," says Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin in a wide-ranging interview. "I've always had a taste for the unfamiliar."

Bayrakdarian Tells Stories in Song for Edmonton Recital

By Bill Rankin
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian genuinely conveys the stories of the songs she sings with physical, emotional, and musical charisma, and she is never more captivating than when she is singing an ornamented vowel.

Stylish ‘Abduction’ Kicks Off Season For Opera Atelier

By Colin Eatock
TORONTO -- Beyond Canada's borders, Opera Atelier isn't nearly as well-known as it ought to be. Its period-based production of Mozart's Abduction From the Seraglio, now playing, reflects the mom-and-pop operation's distinctive house style.

Yannick’s Return To Montreal Band Is a Mixed Affair

By Robert Markow
MONTREAL - The Orchestre Métropolitain has been blessed with a succession of outstanding music directors who brought the orchestra to higher planes of artistic excellence. The latest is none other than Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who remains loyal.

Griffey Secures Toronto’s Elusive Staging of ‘Grimes’

By Colin Eatock
Tenor Anthony Dean Griffey flew in on short notice to sub for ailing Ben Heppner and save the Canadian Opera Company season opener "Peter Grimes." But Benjamin Britten's 1945 masterpiece was not well served by the single-set community hall staging.

Tafelmusik Shows Virtues, Limits in Beethoven Concert

By Colin Eatock
The leading period ensemble in Toronto is the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, best known for its historically informed performances of Baroque repertoire. But the orchestra has been gradually pressing forward, embracing the Classical and even the early Romantic eras.

Summer Festivals: Small Treasures Await Discovery in Eastern Canada

By Colin Eatock
There's certainly no lack of summer music festivals in Eastern Canada. They're big and small, urban and rural, wide-ranging or strictly classical in their programming. Here are half a dozen festivals you may not know about.

Summer Festivals: Lanaudière Casts Musical Riches in Pastoral Setting

By Robert Markow
Nestled in picturesque, rural Quebec, is the small city of Joliette, home to Canada's largest classical summer music festival. The Lanaudière Festival has grown from a mere three concerts by the Montreal Symphony in 1977 to more than 30 events packed into a four-to-five week period in July and early August.

Canadian Opera’s ‘Carmelites’ Solid In Theater Values

By Colin Eatock
At first glance, it looks simply threadbare. But with poised and ritualized staging, director Robert Carsen has created a poetic theatrical experience. As well, the grand starkness of Michael Levine's design focuses attention on significant details

Half Full, Half Empty: All-Glass Concert at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio

By Colin Eatock
The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra paid Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio a visit last night. It was at the end of a mini-tour of Ontario, organized by the Numus concert society. The program was billed as “The Film Music of Philip Glass” – and although it wasn’t quite all film music, it was certainly all Glass.
Classical Voice North America