May 14: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

There are three performances of the COC’s Gianni Schicchi between Tuesday and Sunday.


We’re down to the last couple of weeks of the COC’s season, and the production to catch while you can is the double-bill of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, fabulously brought into the present day by director Catherine Malfitano, and paired with the richly intriguing Florentine Tragedy, by Alexander Zemlinsky.

They’re well sung and excellently conducted by Sir Andrew Davis (who is also busy with the Toronto Symphony this week — see below).

There are performances of the double bill on Tuesday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday at 2 p.m. For my review, click here. For details and tickets, click here.

Here’s a little Gianni Schicchi trailer:


One of New York City’s finest, Renée Anne Louprette, organist at Trinity Church, Wall St, has a fascinating lunch hour programme for the magnificent Karl Wilhelm organ at Church of the Holy Trinity, behind the Eaton Centre.  Most of the music is Baroque. Yes, there is Bach, but also several nearly unknown treasures. The recital ends with three pieces by 20th century French organist-composer Jehan Alain.

The recital is rpesented as part of the Oganix 12 festival.

Here is a strange-to-watch midi performance of Alain’s Variations sur un thème de Clément Jannequin, from the recital programme:

  • New Music 101 lecture/concert at the Toronto reference Libreary, 7 p.m. Free.

Here’s a friendly, no-repssure way to explore the edges of the city’s musical envelope. The Globe and Mail‘s Robert Everett-Green hosts this evening’s sampler of new music with two very different collectives: New Adventures in Sound Art, with specializes in environmental creations, and junctQin, a trio that has never met a keyboard they can’t use in a novel way.


  • Members of the COC Orchestra, with music director Johannes Debus at the piano at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon. Free.

Not interested in keeping idle after conducting The Tales of Hoffmann, Canadian Opera Company music director Johannes Debus introduces an hour of chamber music with concertmaster Marie Bérard, clarinettist James Shields, violinist Csaba Koczó, violist Theresa Rudolph Koczó and cellist Alastair Eng to present one of the most beautiful pieces of chamber music ever written, the Clarinet Quintet by Johannes Brahms.


Christian Gerhaher

  • Baritone Christian Gerhaher with pianist Andras Schiff at Koerner Hall, 8 p.m.

It’s a celebration of German masterpieces by one of their finest interpreters, as baritone Christian Gerhaher sings a rich German recital programme anchored on Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe and four of the Wilhelm Meister songs. He will also sing five relatively obscure Lieder by Joseph Haydn and the Beethoven chestnut, Adalaide. Gerhaher’s accompanist is the ever-meticulous Andras Schiff.

For all the details, and tickets, click here.

Here’s an intimate, informal video of Gerhaher singing Beethoven’s cycle An die ferne Geliebte (To a Distant Beloved) with Gerold Huber:


Evgeny Kissin (Michael J. Lutch photo).

  • Pianist Evgeny Kissin and conductor Sir Andrew Davis join the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m.

One of the world’s great pianists, Evgeny Kissin, plays one of the best-loved piano concertos, by Edvard Grieg.

One of the world’s great Richard Strauss conductors, Sir Andrew Davis (the workaholic former Toronto Symphony Orchestra music director also conducts three performances of the double bill at the COC this week), leads two gorgeous orchestral pieces by that composer, Don Juan and Der Rosenkavalier.

It’s a recipe for two nights of delicious music.

For concert details and tickets, click here.


  • Organist Christian Lane performs an Organix 12 festival gala concert at Metropolitan United Church, 7:30 p.m.

Christian Lane, winner of the last Montreal International Organ Competition, arrives with a programme largely drawn from his new ATMA CD. I’ll have more on this later in the week.

If you want details immediately, click here.


Royal St. George’s College Chapel.

  • The Toronto Continuo Collective at Royal St. George’s Chapel, 8 p.m. PWYC.

Many of the city’s finest period-performance musicians belong to this group, led by lute master Lucas Harris and keyboard player Boris Medicky.

They explore lesser-known repertoire in intimate concerts, some of them held in one of Toronto’s virtually unknown wonder spaces, the stub of Toronto’s onetime unfinished St. Alban’s Cathedral, now known as the Chapel of St. George’s College, which sits on the north side of St. Alban’s Square on Howland Ave., in the Annex.

(I have an enduring soft spot for the place; I was the last organist and choirmaster at St. Alban’s.)

Singing with the instrumentalists, which include the Consort of Viols, are soprano Emily Klassen and tenor Bud Roach. The programme is all French Baroque.

Here’s a sample of the group’s quality, featuring Klassen, singing a dramatic rectiative by English composer Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666):

John Terauds


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