TSO Messiah via Mozart

Leslie Barcza, barczablog. Tonight I heard something different from the Toronto Symphony. The TSO’s annual Messiah in Roy Thomson Hall with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir may seem like a ritual, but it actually varies from year to year. Every time we get different soloists; more on that in a moment. And some years they vary the actual musical score that’s being played. Handel’s Messiah has been presented in many versions, using many performance philosophies even if you don’t go for something radical like Soundstreams’ “Electric Messiah” or Andrew Davis’s muscular re-orchestration that’s been done a few times at the TSO. This year we’re hearing Mozart’s take on Messiah.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Mozartian Messiah Is A Unique Experience

Joseph So, Ludwig van Toronto. While one could quibble with the musical structure of the Mozartian version, it remains enjoyable, to be sure. Alexander Shelley made an auspicious TSO debut, leading the orchestra in a very crisp reading of the score. He’s a fine conductor, and let’s hope he’ll be back. His fast tempo, together with the cuts in this version, means that the performance only lasted two and a half hours including intermission. ... And, one can count on the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir to deliver each and every time. It was at its best in “Surely, He hath borne our griefs,” offering up thrilling tone and impressive power.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

‘Messiah’ gets a Mozart makeover from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

John Terauds, Toronto Star. The TSO is not presenting George Frideric Handel’s original 1741 “Messiah,” but Mozart’s 1789 version. Not only that, but the TSO’s five performance will be led by Alexander Shelley, the exciting National Arts Centre Orchestra music director, and sung by a dream team of Canadian operatic soloists: soprano Jane Archibald, mezzo Emily D’Angelo, tenor Isaiah Bell and baritone Russell Braun. As usual, the choral parts will be sung by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

The Trombone Shall Sound? Mozart’s Handel’s Messiah: An Orchestra Librarian’s Nightmare

Gary Corrin, The Wholenote. For many North American orchestras, playing in the pit for ballet performances of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a common holiday tradition. This was my experience, first as a clarinetist and then as an orchestra librarian. My first encounter with Messiah as a professional, however, was during my interview for the librarian position of the Phoenix Symphony when I was asked, “What edition do you like for the Messiah?” It is an extraordinarily complex question – much more so than I would have known at the time. I managed to offer up something I’d learned from a couple of sing-along Messiahs I had attended – the organizer cautioning the audience/performers about the different numbering systems in various publications. But over the succeeding 30 years I have learned that there is much more to it than that, as I hope to share with you in this article.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Hallelujah! Handel’s Messiah still has special quality for choristers decades later

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register. When Susan Worthington gets home from “Messiah” rehearsals with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir she’s hungry and tired, but her brain is still full of music. “You can’t go to bed right away,” she said. “Rehearsals can be incredibly inspiring. We can work very hard. Working hard is good for you.” An alto who takes pride in singing the difficult parts that fall between soaring sopranos with the tune and booming basses who lay down the foundation, Worthington has been singing “Messiah” with Toronto’s oldest and biggest concert choir since the 1980s. She will be on stage at Roy Thomson Hall once again this Advent season for another performance of the iconic oratorio with Mozart’s orchestration. Performances are scheduled for Dec. 17-18-20-21-22. “The experience can be different every single year, but it still has the same kernel of inspiration that speaks to our hearts and, for me personally, to my soul,” Worthington said.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Review: Thaïs

Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto. Marshalling a prodigious display of orchestral and vocal resources, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra treated near sold out audiences to an all too brief two-night run of landmark concert performances conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Partnered by a phalanx of one hundred plus choristers courtesy the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir directed by David Fallis, a succession of enthusiastic soloists and ensemblists provided proof positive of the intensely emotional, grandly operatic tale’s abiding power to seduce.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

A stellar cast and brilliant orchestral playing result in a remarkable performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra!

Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Last night’s foréee into grand opera by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall was indeed very special. It is rare to attend concert versions of grand opera with full orchestra. (I haven’t been a fan of the scaled-down piano accompanied versions). TSO’s Interim Music Director Sir Andrew Davis led an outstanding cast in a dramatically and musically charged performance of Massenet’s Thaïs that kept me riveted for the full two and a half hours. That the performance was being recorded for the Chandos recording label meant that orchestra, soloists and chorus were all fully prepared to make it a memorable night.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Sir Andrew Davis And The TSO Offer Rare Treat In Massenet’s Thaïs

Stephan Bonfield, ludwig van Toronto. The TSO, under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, the Toronto Mendselssohn Choir, and a talented cast of singers, treat Toronto to a lively, nuanced performance in the nineteenth-century French grand opera tradition.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Massenet’s Thaïs loses its impact in transition from opera to concert stage

John Terauds, Toronto Star. Thaïs Grand Opera in Concert. 3 stars out of 4. The playwright George Bernard Shaw enjoyed playing music critic. He described French opera master Jules Massenet as “one of the loudest of modern composers.” The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, hosting a rare concert performance of an opera on Thursday night, proved Shaw’s point.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir celebrates its 125th Anniversary with Singing Through Centuries

Denise Lai, La Scena Musicale. Canada’s oldest choir celebrated its 125th birthday with a gala concert at Koerner Hall yesterday afternoon. Interim artistic director David Fallis put together a diverse program that featured works from each of the three centuries in which the choir has performed. Among the many alumni and friends in attendance was Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
More

Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.