Since he joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2011, Jonathan Crow has served reliably as the orchestra’s concertmaster. As well, the violinist from Prince George, BC, has demonstrated his excellence as a chamber musician in the New Orford Quartet. And last week, he stepped before his own orchestra to appear as a concert soloist, in Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
So what’s Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera all about? Is it about [A] the murder of a Swedish king? Or [B] events in colonial Massachusetts? Or [C] is it about other things – and the setting doesn’t much matter?
The Canadian Opera Company’s staging of Ballo (rented from the Berlin Staatsoper), confronts the viewer with these issues. Directors Jossi Weiler and Sergio Morabito have placed Renato, Riccardo, Amelia and the rest of the cast in a Kennedy-era American ballroom. With neon lights and mirrored chandeliers, the stage was bright and colourful, in marked contrast to the gloominess that often envelopes Ballo productions. And the appearance of several dead bodies hanging from the ceiling gave Act II an arrestingly surreal quality.
Here’s a review I wrote for Classical Voice North America, the online journal of the Music Critics Association of North America. (You can find CVNA here.)
First appearing on Toronto’s crowded concert scene in 1982, Soundstreams Canada quickly established itself as an ambitious presenter of contemporary music. Over the years, artistic director Lawrence Cherney has focused on several genres of new music, and one of these is choral repertoire. Playing to his strengths, for Soundstreams’ Feb. 2 concert he presented a program of choral music from Canada and Europe in Toronto’s Koerner Hall that was billed as a celebration of Canadian choirs.
Here’s the review I wrote of the COC’s new production of Così fan tutte for Classical Voice North America. (See here for the CVNA website.)
The Canadian Opera Company has clearly pulled out all the stops for Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Opening on January 18 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre, this new production is staged by film-maker Atom Egoyan, is led by COC music director Johannes Debus, and features a well-chosen cast.
I'm a composer and writer based in Toronto – and this is my classical music blog, Eatock Daily.
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