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

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Concert review: Yo-Yo Ma the seductive star of night with Toronto Symphony

Yo-Yo Ma performs Night Music: Voice in the Leaves with nine members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall (Dale Wilcox photo).

Yo-Yo Ma was on hand in Toronto this week to demonstrate how, very often, the finest musical artistry is one that you don’t see, only hear. Continue reading

Interview: Caitlin Smith tries to balance personal and political in new opera about war in Afghanistan

Then-Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, centre, Maj. Erik Liebert and diplomat Richard Colvin, right, in Afghanistan, in 2006 (Jim Farrell/Edmonton Journal photo).

Opera lives and dies by the force of conflict — most often on questions of love and fidelity that have nothing overtly to do with current events.

Toronto composer Caitlin Smith is merging the two in a timely take on love of truth and fidelity to the ideals of an open society in her first opera, When This War Ends (Or, Some Questions You May Have Regarding Our Recently-Concluded Engagement in the Graveyard of Empires), a journey into the dark heart of the decade-long war in Afghanistan. Continue reading

May 28: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

The opening page of Franz Schubert’s Octet, the centrepiece of a chamber concert by Toronto Symphony musicians on Monday.

MONDAY

  • Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, 7:30 p.m.

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Today: Two very different takes on French art song, from Continuum and Neapolitan Connection

The words of French literary and film icon Jacques Prévert (1900-1977) animate today’s premiere by Continuum Contemporary Music.

Every now and again — like today — the sun, moon and stars align to create curious musical eddies of Frenchness around the city. Here are two very different options for our Dominical delectation: Continue reading

Interview: Organist Christian Lane finds inspiration in breadth of colour and sound

American organist Christian Lane performs at an Organix 12 gala concert at Metropolitan United Church on Friday night (Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University News Office photo).

Christian Lane‘s dream was to earn a music degree so he might find work and inspiration on Broadway.

Instead, the 31-year-old American has amassed several music degrees, is the star organist and a professor at Harvard University, and spends his free time giving concerts around North America and the U.K. Continue reading

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.

CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY

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. Continue reading