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Saturday listening: Canadian Opera Company's excellent Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi double bill on CBC Radio 2

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The Canadian Opera Company cast in last season’s new production of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (Michael Cooper photo).

The Canadian Opera Company’s new production of one-act opera pair A Florentine Tragedy and Gianni Schicchi was a treat last spring. It is being broadcast this afternoon on CBC Radio 2’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera.

Catherine Malfitano directed a fine cast that featured the notable Toronto début of baritone Alan Held as well as a number of fine voices from Canadian Opera Company ranks.

Sir Andrew Davis teased out both richness and colour from the COC Orchestra.

A Florentine Tragedy is by underappreciated composer Alexander Zemlinsky. It’s a tightly structured drama that pairs well with the frothy comedy of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (source of the popular aria “O mio babbino caro”).

The broadcast begins at 1 p.m. (Eastern) and streams live on the CBC website. For my full review of the opening night last spring, click here.



Rudolf Buchbinder plays with the Orchestre de Paris.

For anyone craving a textbook symphony concert rendered in textbook style, Wednesday night’s performance at the Salle Pleyel by the Orchestre de Paris under music director Paavo Järvi and veteran Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder is available in high-definition audio and video on demand (for free) at here.

Buchbinder plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with compelling simplicity. Järvi delivers neat readings of Antonin Dvorák’s Symphonic Variations and Symphony No. 8.

The palate cleanser is Buchbinder’s encore, a sparkling twirl through gilded ballrooms via Alfred Grünfeld’s Soirée de Vienne, a piano transcription of Johann Strauss Jr waltzes.

John Terauds

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