​​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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The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir turned its fall concert into a gala celebration yesterday. With the help of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and sublime, diverse music of exaltation, it celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding in 1894. An extensive social media campaign no doubt boosted ticket sales resulting in a full house at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall


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

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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Review by David Richards
Toronto ON November 10th 2019

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

Cast of Don Giovanni – Opera Atelier 2019; Photo credit: Bruce Zinger

On Friday, October 18th, Koerner Hall kicked off this season’s TD Jazz Series with the man who performed the second ever concert at Koerner Hall – 22-time Grammy Award winning pianist Chick Corea, joined by the phenomenal bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade.  These virtuosos have performed frequently together as Trilogy since 2013, and much of last night’s stunning program of multi-faceted jazz music was drawn from two recordings released in 2014 and 2018. Executive Director, Performing Arts, Mervon Mehta thanked Next Pathway for sponsoring this evening’s performance, as well as BMO Financial and the Toronto Star for their sponsorship of Koerner Hall’s 11th season.


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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

Chick Corea; Photo credit: www.chickcorea.com

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

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

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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A stellar cast and brilliant orchestral playing result in a remarkable performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra!

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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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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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

Singing through Centuries celebrates 125 years of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir!

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

Opera Atelier performs Mozart’s Don Giovanni: Music, Mores, and Morals

​​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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Sir Andrew Davis conducts TorontoSymphony Orchestra soloists, and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in Massenet’s Thaïs; Photo credit: Jag Gundu

Conductor Lydia Adams, the Elmer Iseler Singers and Guest Artists

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

Chick Corea Trio: Trilogy

​​Review by Jeff Mitchell
T
oronto ON October 19th 2019

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in
Andrew Balfour’s Mamachimowin; Photo credit: John Hryniuk

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

Review by Paul Merkley, F.R.S.C.
Toronto ON November 1st 2019

Last night’s foréee into Grand Opera by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall was indeed very special. It is rare to attend concert versions of grand opera with full orchestra. (I haven’t been a fan of the scaled-down piano accompanied versions). TSO’s Interim Music Director Sir Andrew Davis led an outstanding cast in a dramatically and musically charged performance of Massenet’s Thaïs that kept me riveted for the full two and a half hours. That the performance was being recorded for the Chandos recording label meant that orchestra, soloists and chorus were all fully prepared to make it a memorable night.


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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

TORONTO CONCERT REVIEWS

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

Opera Atelier has grasped the essence of Don Giovanni as an opera buffa. Artistic director Marshall Pynkoski furnished a facsimile of a note (on the cover of the program) in the hand of Mozart, who designated this in the title as “opera Buffa in two acts.” The music-dramatic choices that flowed from this (the right ones) propelled the cast to an excellent, evocative performance. In addition to the light-hearted music and the farsical (sometimes dark-farsical) repartée, there are also serious, beautiful arias in Don Giovanni, and these stood out in relief against the comedic background. Colin Ainsworth’s (Don Ottavio) aria “Da la sua pace…” was lovely and serene.


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​​Review by David Richards
T
oronto ON October 22nd 2019