Tom Beedham, Noisey. The apocalypse began before the audience could find its seats. While some still filtered in from the Toronto Sony Centre’s lobby, in an unnerving scene of delirium, actors situated throughout the audience stood and shouted proclamations for the end of the world in English, German, and Latin, silencing excited chatter about the epic sensory buffet that was about to unfold.
Neil Crory, Musical Toronto. “Apocalypsis,” as the 82-year-old composer so succinctly puts it in the programme notes, “is a work in two parts. Part One describes the destruction of the world and Part Two suggests the birth of the new universe.” What he doesn’t mention is that the work (based in part on the Book of Revelation and Psalm 148) runs well over 2 hours without an intermission. As this is a spatial work and meant to wrap around the audience, part of the orchestral and choral forces were placed in the balcony of the Sony Centre with the audience taking up the main floor.
Robert Harris, Globe and Mail. Toronto’s Luminato Festival has staked a great deal on the highly original and highly idiosyncratic imaginative outpourings of a now 82-yr.-old Canadian musical wizard, R. Murray Schafer. Three long years in the making, the production of Schafer’s music ritual Apocalypsis that opened at the Festival Friday night brought together 1,000 musicians, singers, actors, dancers and technicians. It assembled a cast of internationally-known stars. It cost over a million dollars. It was a high-profile, big-time gamble.
The gamble paid off.
Michael Vincent, Toronto Star. Singing with a singular voice, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir lined the balcony with impressive numbers. Rather than coming out for the fourth movement, they sat motionless until it was their turn to sing. But once they did, their voices filled the hall like the massive organ that loomed at their backs.
Arthur Kaptainis, Musical Toronto. I am always up for a sermon on the life everlasting, and the great finale, made of glorious sonorities onstage and off, did not fail. Oundjian found respiration in the phrasing and drama in the entries. Brass playing was firm, woodwinds were colourful and strings had the ring of truth. Most important, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (prepared by Noel Edison) entered with breathtaking solemnity. Remarkable how gripping a pianissimo equilibrium can be.
John Gilks, Opera Ramblings. The orchestra, complete with off stage brass high up at the back of the hall, and choir; the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir were on excellent form. The choir is large and can produce sound ranging from considerable subtlety to the full on power needed to work with the hundred odd musicians, heavy on the brass and drums, in the big climaxes.
Joseph So, Musical Toronto. Once in a while, when the music gods are smiling down from heaven and all the stars are aligned, an audience will get to witness an extraordinary musical event, a performance that will stay in memory for a very long time. Last evening’s Verdi Requiem was just such an event.
Trish Crawford in the Toronto Star: On a recent spring evening, commuters on their way home were stopped in their tracks by the sound of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir singing in Brookfield Place’s Galleria.
Under the direction of conductor Noel Edison, 70 voices soared to the glass roof of the atrium as they serenaded the rush hour crowd of Bay Street office workers.
Following a competitive application process, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir named Jennifer Min-Young Lee as the incoming associate conductor for Fall 2015. Jennifer will hold this two-year position for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons. During her tenure she will work closely with Artistic Director Noel Edison and will conduct the Choir in rehearsal and in concert.