We asked The New Classical FM hosts to share their Top 3 Picks for the upcoming season. Here’s what they chose for the best in concerts, album releases and events this fall…
1. Following in the footsteps of Toronto Masque Theatre, the Canadian Opera Company is pairing a key work from the early Baroque — Claudio Monteverdi’s experimental masterpiece of storytelling, “Il Combattimento di Trancredi e Clorinda” — with a new Canadian work, “Pyramus and Thisbe,” by Barbara Monk Feldman. It’s great that the Monteverdi, a fantastic piece by one of Western music history’s most important composers, will be getting such rare exposure, and I look forward to the new work by Monk Feldman. Also key to my excitement here is the chance to hear Krisztina Szabó, whose incomparable musicianship blew me away in Against the Grain Theatre’s “Death and Desire” last season. A home grown talent who has claimed her place amongst the great singers of our time.
2. Opening week at the TSO shows the orchestra bringing its own to the front of the stage. Audiences will get to hear just how high the level of individual playing is in the TSO when concertmaster Jonathan Crow and principal cello Joe Johnson step up to play Brahms’ Double Concerto. Lots of yummy tone and exquisite music making to look forward to there — and hey, move over Blue Jays! These guys are our home team!
3. On a personal note, I’m excited that the album I recorded with Ensemble Masques last fall has just been released. The music of Romanus Weichlein, a 17th c. Benedictine monk who has been virtually forgotten, wrote inspired music that was a happy discovery for all of us. Lush sonorities, hypnotic chaconnes, eye-widening harmonic surprises — plus works by complementary composers featuring our fabulous harpsichordist, Olivier Fortin. On the Alpha Classics label.
1. The Canadian Opera Company production of La Traviata. Tenor Charles Castronovo is singing the role of Alfredo and Ekatarina Siurina is singing the role of Violetta. Charles and Ekatarina are married and have never sung these roles together. I’m excited to see their interpretation and how they interact on stage. They will be joining us on Good Day GTA for an interview on September 22 to talk about their creative process. Both singers have beautiful voices and know these roles very well. The Canadian Opera Company Orchestra also knows La Traviata very well and I have no doubt they will accompany and support the cast superbly. The Orchestra will have a challenge on their hands playing La Traviata and the Canadian World premiere of Pyramus and Thisbe. The operas will run in repertory. La Traviata runs from Oct. 8 to Nov.6 at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
2. The Canadian Opera Company production of Pyramus and Thisbe runs from Oct. 20 to Nov. 7. Mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabo and Baritone Phillip Addis will be taking on several roles. This is a Canadian world premiere. The opera was composed by Barbara Monk Feldman in 2010. She was inspired to compose the opera from having been raised in the Gaspe Peninsula. Along with this opera are early baroque gems by Monteverdi. So we have many contrasting styles. I’m very curious to see how it will play out. Maestro Johannes Debus is conducting. He will be joining us on Good Day GTA in late September to talk about it. For more information visit COC.ca.
3. The third thing I can’t wait to see is Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble on Sept. 15 at Massey hall. Next week we will play an interview I did with Yo-Yo to talk about the concert. He is such a versatile performer. I look forward to the music and to see who Yo-Yo has invited to play with him for this concert. For more information go to roythomson.com.
1. Puttin on the Ritz, music that made the 20’s roar – October 3rd
Starring the Toronto Concert Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Kerry Stratton and featuring soloist Heather Bambrick, Puttin’ On The Ritz is the music that made the 20’s roar. Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and more; these are some of the greatest melodies of the 20th century. Join the party at the Premier Arts and Cultural Centre in Southern Georgian Bay.
2. An evening with Beethoven Concerto #3 and Symphony #9 – October 17 & 18
Starring the Toronto Concert Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Kerry Stratton.
3. Stage & Screen – Highlights from the greatest scored for film & theatre – November 28th
Some of the greatest film scores in Hollywood history including highlights from John Williams’ music from Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and ET. This performance also includes highlights from Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and West Side Story. Don’t miss this sensational concert featuring some of the greatest music from stage and screen!
1. The new novel from John Irving, “Avenue Of Mysteries”
2. The latest James Bond film, “Spectre”
3. The Toronto Blue Jays winning the World Series