The Canadian Opera Company unveils its 2012-13 season of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre

COC Ensemble Studio member Adrian Kramer sang his farewell concert at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre with accompanist Christopher Mokrzewski last May.

The most significant concert presenter in this city outside the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is Nina Draganic, the unheralded doyenne of the Canadian Opera Company’s annual 10-months of free concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre.

The new season kicks off at lunchtime on Sept. 18, with a concert by the COC’s Ensemble Studio and will run its combination of classical, jazz, world and new music, dance and lecture concerts through to the end of June. Continue reading


Friday night: Three small but significant concerts for different sensibilities

New Yorker Dan Tepfer riffs on the Goldberg Variations tonight.

There are three very different concerts tonight that come from three deep traditions that play to three very different sorts of sensibilities: Continue reading

April 30: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

Soprano Erin Wall sings Richard Strauss at lunchtime on Tuesday (Larry Lapidus photo).


One of the city’s best kept chamber music secrets is this series of five concerts presented every season by these friends and patrons of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading

April 23: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

The Array Ensemble features among the guests at this year's first New Music 101 presentation at the Toronto Reference Library.


  • New Music 101, Part I at the Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library, 7 p.m.

The Toronto Reference Library (the big one, on Yonge St, one block north of Bloor St) and the Toronto New Music Alliance launch the first of four consecutive Monday concert lectures — all free — about new music.

I hosted the inaugural New Music 101 series last spring, and found it a friendly, open and stimulating way to explore the multitude of types of music and the colourful types who make it happen in this city. Continue reading

April 9: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next six days

Tuesday's concert highlight is free chamber music from three of the city's top string players, at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre (Canadian Opera Company photo).


  • Trio Arkel (violinist Marie Bérard, violist Teng Li and Winona Zelenka, cello) at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon.

Canadian Opera Company concertmaster Marie Bérard is in for a busy day that starts with an hour of fine, free chamber music with two Toronto Symphony Orchestra colleagues — principal viola Teng Li and cellist Winona Zelenka — and ends with the opening night of Jacques Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, under COC music director Johannes Debus. Continue reading

March 19: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

Pianist Alexander Seredenko performs March 21

Most prominent on the week’s calendar is a rich sampling of student work — in solos and many different kinds of ensembles — from University of Toronto (at the school as well as in the free Canadian Opera Company concerts at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre), York University, the Royal Conservatory of Music’s student opera production of  Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, and the Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, in the form of ensembles from the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. (Click on the links for more details.) Continue reading

Review: Love is all around in Toronto Masque Theatre’s latest show

Patricia O'Callaghan at Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, Feb. 3. (John Terauds iPhone photo)

It’s hard to imagine a concert where Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” the Gershwin brothers’ “Lady be Good,” Orlando di Lasso’s “Bonjour, mon coeur,” John Dowland’s “Can She Excuse,” and a reading of Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Haze,” could comfortably sit shoulder-to-shoulder on the same programme.

But not only did they coexist, they melded happily for both performers and audience last night at Toronto Masque Theatre’s latest show, Masques of Love, at the acoustically and aesthetically rewarding Enoch Turner Schoolhouse.

The show repeats tonight at 8, and is as close as one can get to a guarantee of going home afterward with a big smile and a warmed heart. Continue reading