TORONTO CONCERT REVIEWS

Music reviews of the finest concerts in Toronto and beyond!
- ​symphonic, choral, opera, chamber, jazz and period music​ -

Last night, violinist Jonathan Crow and pianist Coral Solomon gave a spectacular concert to open the first ever Toronto edition of the George Enescu Festival at Jeanne Lamon Hall in the Trinity-St. Paul Centre.


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​​by David Richards
T
oronto ON September 20th 2019

The Royal Conservatory Orchestra exceeds its high bar of expectations in its first concert of the season!

Conrad Chow, Barry Shiffman, Nuné Melik, David Hetherington and Michael Berkovsky; Photo credit: Iuliana Pacso

​​by David Richards
T
oronto ON September 15th 2019

Elmer Iseler Singers and Festival of the Sound unite to celebrate 40 years of music-making!

COC's Turandot: a stunning new production to begin an exciting new season!

Conductor Tania Miller and the Royal Conservatory of Music
Photo courtesy of The Royal Conservatory/Koerner HallPhoto by Lisa Sakulensky

Dvořák’s Fairy-Tale Tragedy: COC Mounts Rusalka with appropriate Gloom and Doom

​​Review by David Richards
T
oronto ON September 29th 2019

George Enescu Festival expands to Toronto in spectacular fashion

Sondra Radvanovsky as Rusalka in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Rusalka, 2019; Photo credit: Michael Cooper

​​Review by David Richards
T
oronto ON September 29th 2019

Rob Kapilow gives a lesson on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 with UofT Symphony

Conductor Rob Kapilow
Photo credit: robkapilow.com

Toronto’s Tafelmusik is internationally known for its historically authentic performance of music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The ensemble uses period instruments and follows the performance practices of the time. The results over forty years  have been impressive, and the performance and leadership of their new director, Elisa Citterio, have elevated their already high standard of playing.


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​​by Paul Merkley F.R.S.C.
T
oronto ON September 20th 2019

George Enescu Festival: Family and friends come together for great music!

The new season for the Toronto Symphony opened last night with new faces in the orchestra and not one but two familiar faces sharing both the conducting and solo roles. Canadian soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan along with violinist and conductor John Storgårds both did double duty.  The concert contained emotionally charged music from the late 18th century Haydn to 21st century composers Dutilleux and Brett Dean.


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Baroque strings wax Romantic: Tafelmusik performs Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky

It seems too long since the curtain came down on Otello and La Bohème last spring. Last night at the Four Seasons Centre, the Canadian Opera Company’s first offering of the new season was a brilliant and daring new production of Giacomo Puccini’s final opera, Turandot


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​​by David Richards
T
oronto ON September 8th 2019

The voices were strong, the orchestra expressive, and the staging complex and effective in yesterday evening’s excellent production of Rusalka. The sets and props travelled from the Chicago Lyric Opera to the Four Seasons Centre for this production, another successful operatic collaboration between Toronto and Chicago. Dvořák’s second-last opera, first performed in Prague in 1901, is a musical masterpiece with the libretto by Jaroslav Kvapil based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (no happy ending this time) and more directly influenced by Friedrich de la Motte Fouquée’s Undine of 1811 (the title character Rusalka is a water sprite, or a “wave”). 


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​​Review by Paul Merkley F.RS.C.
T
oronto ON October 13th 2019

Toronto Symphony Orchestra opens its new season with music from four centuries

Gustavo Gimeno brings attention to detail and fresh energy to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra!

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra demonstrated unequivocally last night at Roy Thomson Hall that it is a superb orchestra and in the hands of its new maestro, Gustavo Gimeno, the future of its artistic excellence is assured. 


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Incoming Music Director and Conductor Gustavo Gimeno and the Toronto
​Symphony Orchestra; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

John Storgårds and Barbara Hannigan with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
​Photo credit: Jag Gundu

My wife and I have been attending many of the summer music festivals around Southern Ontario for the past several years, but I have to confess that we have never ventured north to Parry Sound for the Festival of the Sound. What a shame! Yesterday’s concert at Eglinton St. George’s Church was for us a taste of the Festival that screamed out for a visit.


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I had a sense last night that George Enescu would have loved the concert, the second of three in Toronto’s inaugural George Enescu Festival. Joe Ringhofer, in his pre-concert chat, quoted George Enescu who once said, “The sacred mission of music is to bring souls together”. Enescu would have enjoyed the variety of great music bringing together family, friends and community, much as he did as a violinist, conductor and composer.


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It was like a homecoming for me last night. Arriving at the Edward Johnson Building for a performance of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, I couldn’t help but remember when, as a young freshman in the fall of 1965, I walked up the same steps and into the enormous lobby of the then almost new structure where many of my musical values would take shape.


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Elisa Citterio and Tafelmusik take a bow at Koerner Hall following their season opener, Tafelmusik meets Tchaikovsky; Photo credit: Seanna Kennedy

Tamara Wilson (foreground) as Turandot in the Canadian Opera Company
​Production of Turandot, 2019; Photo credit: Michael Cooper

​​Review by David Richards
T
oronto ON October 10th 2019

​​Review by David Richards
T
oronto ON September 30th 2019

Violinist Jonathan Crow and pianist Coral Solomon at George Enescu Festival
Photo credit: Iuliana Pacso

​​Review by David Richards
T
oronto ON October 5th 2019

It’s easy to get excited in anticipation of a Royal Conservatory Orchestra concert, but at the beginning of a new school year, with a new group of incoming students, the expectations run even higher. The Glenn Gould School has set a high bar for its pre-professional training orchestra. Would the orchestra live up to the standards set by its previous versions? Would the concerto soloist be up to the virtuosity required?


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Conductor Lydia Adams, the Elmer Iseler Singers and Guest Artists