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PREVIEW | A Songful Program At Toronto Summer Music

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2016 Art of Song Fellows (Courtesy Toronto Summer Music Festival)
2016 Art of Song Fellows (Courtesy Toronto Summer Music Festival)

Mid-July is an eagerly anticipated time for Toronto classical music, as it marks the start of the Toronto Summer Music Festival. For voice fans, they can look forward to an interesting program combining international stars with home-grown Canadian talent. Here’s a list of not-to-be-missed vocal concerts:

Friday July 14, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Walter Hall. The veteran American collaborative pianist Martin Katz makes a welcome return to TSMF as a mentor in the Art of Song program. In this public masterclass, Katz will put several of the Song fellows through their paces. He has had a career spanning nearly five decades. I’ll never forget two recitals I attended in the early ‘70s of the great Renata Tebaldi with Katz at the piano.

Saturday July 15, 1 p.m. Walter Hall.  Eight singers and four pianists, fellows of the Art of the Song Academy, show off their talent and artistry in the Art Song reGeneration Recital 1, under the tutelage of their mentors, soprano Soile Isokoski, pianist Martin Katz, and pianist Steven Philcox.

Tuesday July 18, 7:30 p.m. Walter Hall. The wonderful Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski returns to TSMF as a mentor, and this time she’s singing! On the program are songs by Wolf, Strauss, and Sibelius. I’ve heard her on many occasions over the past twenty years, in opera and song. Her musicality, simplicity, and sincerity have always moved me. Now that she has retired from opera, she continues to give concerts and teach, philosophies for which she shared in an interview with Musical Toronto. This is a concert not to be missed!

Thursday July 20, 5 p.m. Heliconian Hall. Young Canadian singers—soprano Lauren Margison and baritones Samuel Chan and Nathan Keoughan—join veteran pianist/songwriter David Warrack in Opera to Broadway, a program of music from opera and musical theatre. Presented by Highlands Opera Studio.

Saturday July 22,  1 p.m. Walter Hall. This is the Art Song reGeneration Recital 2, with the Fellows strutting their stuff after another week of mentoring from their teachers.

Sunday July 23, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Walter Hall. Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski passes the torch to the next generation of singers in this masterclass. Details of singers, pianists, and repertoire to be announced.

Soile Isokoski (Courtesy Rayfield Allied)
Soile Isokoski (Courtesy Rayfield Allied)

Wednesday July 26, 5 p.m. Heliconian Hall. Mezzo and CBC broadcaster Julie Nesrallah will host (and sing!) in An Afternoon at the Opera. She is joined by COC Ensemble soprano Danika Lorèn and pianist Robert Kortgaard. The centrepiece of this concert will be selections from Bizet’s Carmen.

Thursday July 27, 7:30 p.m. Koerner Hall. A Night at the Opera brings together young and veteran opera singers in selections of arias by Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi. You’ll hear soprano Danika Lorèn, mezzo Julie Nesrallah, tenor Roger Honeywell, and bass Gary Relyea, with violinist Nikki Chooi and pianist Robert Kortgaard.

Friday August 4, 7:00 p.m. Koerner Hall. Last Night of the Festival, Eh! This is of course a spinoff on the famous Last Night of the Proms, with a Canadian twist. Boris Brott conducts the National Academy Orchestra of Canada. He’s joined by mezzo Emily D’Angelo and violinist Kerson Leong in a program of typical Proms favourites. I can’t say for sure, but my guess is it’s a TSMF first—a piece where audience members will taste four small pieces of chocolate while listening to four short movements by Quebec composer Maxime Goulet in his delectable Symphonic Chocolates. How fun is that?

Friday August 4, 10:30 p.m. Koerner Hall. Late Night Encore. Mezzo Emily D’Angelo joins violinist and TSMF Artistic Director Jonathan Crow, violinist Boson Mo, violist Emily Eng, cellist Nicholas Denton-Protsack, and pianist Kathryn Tremills in Schubert’s iconic Death and the Maiden.



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Joseph So

Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
Joseph So
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