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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Singing through Centuries celebrates 125 years of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir!

Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Interim Artistic Director David Fallis curated a magnificent program entitled Singing through the Centuries, a homage to the longevity of the Choir’s musical excellence. At his creative best, Fallis found works that not only showcased the music of three centuries, but also found music that uplifted the human spirit, including a newly commissioned piece by Cree-descended composer Andrew Balfour.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Singing through Centuries: TMC’s 125th – a review

Leslie Barcza, barczablog. Today the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir celebrated their 125th anniversary with a gala concert at Koerner Hall, joined for the occasion by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (who haven’t yet had their centennial, and who only came into existence in 1922). Led by the TMC’s Interim Conductor & Artistic Advisor David Fallis (whose title could also be “saviour” although he’d probably blush at the suggestion), the program he assembled, titled “Singing through Centuries”, is a fascinating nod to the occasion being celebrated.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir: Canada’s Oldest Choir Celebrates 125 Years

Denise Lai, La Scena Musicale. Founded in 1894, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) is Canada’s oldest choir. It performed its first concert at the inaugural season of Massey Hall in January 1895. John McCrae, who famously penned the war memorial poem “In Flanders Fields,” was in attendance. Throughout its long history, the TMC has been served by eight artistic directors. Since 2018, David Fallis has been its interim conductor, and the choir undertakes an international search for an artistic director to take the helm in 2020-21.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir at 125

David Perlman, The Wholenote. Remarkably, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has had only eight conductors in the course of its 125-year history that will be celebrated in an anniversary gala concert at Koerner Hall this coming October 20. Even more remarkable, five of those – Augustus Stephen Vogt (1894-1917); Herbert A. Fricker 1917-1942; Sir Ernest MacMillan (1942-57); Elmer Iseler (1964-1998); and Noel Edison (1997 to 2018) – account for almost 120 years of the 125. This is not to say, however, that the length of an individual’s tenure is the sole indicator of its importance. There’s an old saying that if you want something done well, give it to a busy person. David Fallis, who took up the reins as the TMC’s interim artistic director in 2018 after the abrupt departure of Noel Edison, and will step down at the end of the coming season, is a case in point. By TMC standards it will have been a very brief tenure, but he will have made his mark at a pivotal moment for the choir. By the time this issue of the magazine has been published, he will have led the Choir’s September 28 Singsation workshop, and the TMC will be at work preparing for the October 20 anniversary concert, which Fallis will conduct, and beyond that, their annual Festival of Carols (December 3 and 4) at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra as their guests.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony 2018-2019 #5: Romantic Opulence and Worldly Pleasures

Ken Stephen, Large Stage Live!. The combined forces of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Youth Choir acquitted themselves magnificently throughout the cantata, from the majestic opening cry of O Fortuna to the rapid-fire yet still completely clear diction of In taberna quando sumus or Veni, veni, venias.  The steadiness of the tone was noteworthy and the choral blend across the full dynamic range was an unfailing delight.
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Categories: 2018-2019 Season and Media Reviews.