March 12: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days


Monica Whicher and Russell Braun sing on Monday at Walter Hall.

  • Baritone Russell Braun and soprano Monica Whicher at University of Toronto’s Walter Hall, 7:30 p.m.

This is a must-attend recital for vocal fans: Two of the country’s great singers, accompanied by pianist Steven Philcox, in a fascinating programme that mixes all song genres, and features a lot of fine Canadian content.

The two singers are close, old friends, which adds a particularly fine chemistry to their collaborations.

They’ve neatly themed their programme along a dawn-to-dusk timeline:

Norman Nurmi: My Lord What a Morning – duet
Amy Beach: The Year’s at the Spring – Whicher
Ned Rorem: Early in the Morning – Braun
Samuel Barber: The Daisies – Braun
Lori Laitman: Will There Really Be a Morning? – Whicher
John Greer: The Song of the Chore (from A Sarah Binks Songbook) – Whicher
Keith Bissell: A Cassandre – Braun
Imant Raminsh: Si os partieredes al alba (from Three Spanish Lyrics) – Whicher
Ben Moore: In the Dark Pine Wood – Braun
Lee Hoiby: In the Wand of the Wind – Whicher
Charles Ives: Tom Sails Away – Braun
Arr. John Greer: Little David Play on Your Harp – duet

Lerner and Loewe: Get Me to the Church on Time (My Fair Lady) – Braun
Stephen Sondheim: Not Getting Married Today (Company) – Whicher
Cole Porter: In the Still of the Night / Night and Day – duet
Leonard Bernstein: Tonight (West Side Story) – duet

Claude Vivier: Hymnen an die Nacht – Whicher

Samuel Barber: On Boundless, Boundless Evening – Braun; Promiscuity – Whicher; Nocturne – Whicher

Jeff Smallman: Nuits d’etoiles – Braun
R. Murray Schafer: Wiegenlied – Braun
Oskar Morawetz: Elegy – Braun

Arr. Aaron Copland: The Little Horses – Braun
Trad. American Folk Song: Mine Eyes Are Now Closing to Rest – Whicher
Morten Lauridsen: Sure on This Shining Night – duet

For more details, and tickets, click here.


  • Violist Rivka Golani and pianist Stéphan Sylvestre at Gallery 345, 8 p.m.

One of the word’s great, veteran viola players, Rivka Golani, is in town for a recital organized by Les Amis Concerts with University of Western Ontario prof Séphan Sylvestre at the intimate Parkdale gallery/music venue.

The whole, emotionally succulent programme is made up of works not originally written for viola: Max Bruch’s Kol Nidre; Franz Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata and the Cello Sonata, Op. 36, by Edvard Grieg.

For more details, and tickets, click here.

Here is Golani, in typically fiery form, with the first movement of the Grieg sonata, accompanied by Michael Hampton:


(Stephen Dirkes photo)

This free lunchtime concert features Toronto recorder master Alison Melville and her trilling musical adventures in birdland, with collaborators Andrei Streliaev, Ben grossman, Kathleen Kajioka and Debashis Sinha.

Tokyo String Quartet

  • Tokyo String Quartet at Jane Mallett Theatre, 8 p.m.

In its final two seasons with founding members, violinist Kikuei Ikeda and violist Kazuhide Isomura, the very fine Tokyo String Quartet switches from treating Music Toronto audiences with works by Ludwig van Beethoven, to starting off a full cycle of quartets by Béla Bartók with the first two.

The recital begins with Joseph Haydn’s G Major String Quartet, Op.64, No. 4.

Tickets are availble online at or by phone at 416-366-7723.

Here is the Novak Quartet with the third movement of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 1:


Talented young Toronto opera director and Against the Grain Theatre co-founder, Joel Ivany, continues to explore alternate ways of presenting performances with a fascinating mixed programme titled The Seven Deadly Sins (And Holier Fare) at Parkdale’s Gallery 345.

There’s a comprehensive, witty look at the show and the company, written by Ivany for online theatre mag, The Charlebois Post, here.

You’ll find all the other details you need, including how to reserve the $30 tickets, here.

Here’s a fine vintage clip of the Seven Deadly Sins Prologue, sung in 1993 by Theresa Stratas and Nora Kimball, accompanied by the orchestra of the Lyon Opéra, conducted by Kent Nagano:


Soprano Leslie Ann Bradley

  • The Aldeburgh Connection at Walter Hall, 2:30 p.m.

A quartet of young singers — soprano Leslie Ann Bradley, mezzo Erica Iris Huang, tenor Graham Thomson and baritone Geoffrey Sirett — joins Aldeburgh Connection co-artistic directors (and piano accompanists) Stephen Ralls and Bruce Ubukata in an art song feast built around the music of Franz Schubert.

Ralls and Ubukata write this about the concert:

Outside the town of Želiezovce (once known as Zselíz), on the border of Slovakia and Hungary, lie a decayed park and palace which belonged to a branch of the Esterházy family. Here Schubert stayed in the summer of 1818 as music tutor to the two daughters of Count Johann. Again in 1824, he repeated his visit – this time to become warmly attached to the elder daughter, Caroline. Presenting the extraordinarily beautiful music written for the lucky family, and in particular for Caroline, this concert constitutes our annual Greta Kraus Schubertiad.

For ticket information, click here.

Here a 2009 clip of Sirett, singing “God’s World,” a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and “This Room,” a poem by John Ashbery, set to music by Ricky Ian Gordon. The accompanist is Don St. Pierre:


2 thoughts on “March 12: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

  1. I’ve just discovered your site – a wonderful window onto the music in and around Toronto. Much appreciated. Thank you!

  2. Hi John,

    Just wanted to share two items that might interest you – Russell sang Carmina Burana with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the combined Ottawa choirs under Diego Matheuz and was just a marvel- not afraid to take vocal chances to create character – and such a beautiful sound!

    Also, you’ll be interested to know that Geoffrey Sirret is one of this year’s Grand Prize Winners in the Ottawa Choral Society’s New Discoveries Auditions for Young Artists. He thrilled us all!

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