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

Opera review: A clever blend of Baroque and modern in A Synonym for Love at the Gladstone Hotel

Emily Atkinson as Teresa in Volcano Theatre and Classical Music Consort production of A Synonym for Love at the Gladstone Hotel (John Lauener photo).

Take something like an opera, give it something like a staging across four floors of a Victorian hotel, and you either have a treat or a disaster on your hands.

Fortunately for the clever troupe of singers, actors and orchestra musicians having the dramatic time of their lives at the Gladstone Hotel until Aug. 31, their modern English adaptation of George Frideric Handel’s 1707 cantata Clori, Trisi e Fileno, renamed A Synonym for Love, is an unqualified success. Continue reading

Introducing: The Grande pièce symphonique by César Franck

Sainte-Clothilde basilica in Paris inspired César Franck.

The pipe organ has had several lives over its five-century history, the grandest as a symphony orchestra substitute, starting in the second half of the 19th century.

We have a chance to hear a live performance tomorrow of the French composition that heralded this great, golden chapter in the instrument’s history: the Grande pièce symphonique. The 30-minute work will be performed by Simon Walker, one of Toronto’s bright young organ virtuosos, at St James Cathedral, at 1 p.m. Continue reading

An operatic synonym for bittersweet at the Gladstone Hotel

Scott Belluz and Tracy Smith Bessette in Ross Manson and Ashiq Aziz’s A Synonym for Love, adapted from an opera by George Frideric Handel, at the Gladstone Hotel (John Terauds iPhone photo).

The performing arts are an ecosystem where birth and death are forever locked in a passionate tango. The year’s most fascinating operatic gambit — coming to life at the Gladstone Hotel Sunday through Aug. 31 — is a case in point. Continue reading

Cineplex unveils 2012-13 The Met: Live in HD schedule

Cineplex has released the dates of Canadian screenings of performances from the Metropolitan Opera’s 2012-13 season. The tickets go on sale Sept. 4 to the general public. Met Opera members and Cineplex Scene club members get the first picks, on Aug. 22. Continue reading

Flying acrylic discs are history as last of Roy Thomson Hall’s sister buildings unveils acoustic makeover

Melbourne’s 1982 symphony hall has lost its Casavant pipe organ along with Theodore Schultz’s acrylic discs as part of a massive renovation project.

Melbourne, Australia’s Hamer Hall, whose acoustics were engineered by the same guy as Roy Thomson Hall’s, has reopened its doors to a fresh, vibrant new sound. Continue reading

Classical music clings to youthful saviours as Roy Thomson Hall announces 2012-13 season

Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez makes her solo Toronto début at the Glenn Gould Studio on Feb. 22 (Monica Trejo photo).

There isn’t much classical programming any more from Roy Thomson Hall with the demise of its mainstage concert series. But what may be missing in quantity is still there in youthful quality, according to today’s announcement of the 2012-13 season.

The best news is that Roy Thomson Hall continues its advocacy of rising vocal talents with a series of four recitals with piano at the Glenn Gould Studio collectively billed as Canadian Voices. Continue reading