Listening: The ghosts of Wagners future and past hover over Gluck, Elgar and Schoenberg

Susan Graham starred in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Iphigénie en Tauride, desolately staged by expat Torontonian Robert Carsen.

Grabbing the heart with text and music takes many forms. This weekend, we have a chance to sample opera reduced to its essence, and two very operatic ways of crafting oratorio and cantata.

The first comes via CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera, which broadcasts the Canadian Opera Company’s critically praised production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 1779 masterpiece, Iphigénie en Tauride, featuring American mezzo Susan Graham in the title role. Continue reading

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Concert review: Pax Christi Chorale reigns in Elgar’s glorious Kingdom

This afternoon, a packed house at Koerner Hall was treated to a rare and stirring performance of Edward Elgar’s oratorio The Kingdom by the Pax Christi Chorale, in honour of its 25th anniversary. Continue reading

Interview: Stephanie Martin leads grand Elgar oratorio about ordinary people out to change the world

Pax Christi Chorale director Stephanie Martin

A visit to England’s 300-year-old Three Choirs Festival in 2004 sparked a dream in Toronto organist, conductor and York University music professor Stephanie Martin to present The Kingdom, one of Edward Elgar’s grandest choral works.

That dream turns into reality — via years of planning and months of preparation — at Koerner Hall on Sunday afternoon, as Martin leads her 120-singer Pax Christi Chorale, 48-piece orchestra and a worthy clutch of soloists in the first Canadian performance of the work in a quarter century. 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).

MONDAY

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