Toronto Mendelssohn Choir 2023-24 Season: Hear the Passion
La Scena Musicale
September 1, 2023
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has big plans for its upcoming 2023-24 season.
Artistic Director Jean-Sébastien Vallée’s programming is based on the theme “Human Passion Unleashed.” Vallée explains that this season’s repertoire resonates deeply with the core of human emotions, embracing the full spectrum of passion, intensity, and vulnerability. His choices reflect his vision to forge a connection between the audience and the profound depth of human expression that choral music can convey.
TMC’s season opener In Time is a unique immersive experience that combines music and dance, showcasing Toronto dance group Compagnie de la Citadelle. This is complemented by two baroque masterworks—Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Christ lag in Todesbanden—and coupled with a newly composed piece by Caroline Shaw.
Two grand choral masterpieces anchor the season. According to Vallée, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana evokes primal energy and celebrates life’s raw vitality through its thunderous percussions and soaring melodies. Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, on the other hand, delves into the poignant reflections on mortality and the human experience, creating a stirring exploration of both sorrow and hope. “Through these emotionally charged compositions, my aim is to immerse our listeners in the profound and moving world of choral music.”
By contrast, Franz Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle will be sung by a smaller chamber group, with baritone Brett Polegato and Philip Chiu at the piano. “This melodic journey not only traverses physical realms but serves as a profound allegory for the intricate voyage of human existence—an unending pursuit that defines our very being,” Vallée said.
The remaining program consists of TMC’s own Festival of Carols and Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, both perennial holiday traditions and audience favourites.
Tracy Wong, TMC’s new Composer in Residence, will present her new commission alongside Carmina Burana. She will lend her creative expertise to the Conductors’ Symposium with another new piece. The symposium, a training ground for emerging conductors, will also spotlight Gabriel’s Fauré’s Requiem and Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir, to commemorate the milestone anniversaries of both composers’ passing.
Community outreach is at the heart of TMC’s mission. Singsation and other outreach activities will continue to play a vital role in promoting inclusivity, artistic enrichment, and cultural exchange within the community, while fostering a deeper appreciation for choral music and its ability to connect people.
Summing up the upcoming season in Vallée words, “I invite the Toronto audience to join in exploring the profound depths of choral music and experiencing the transformative power it holds. Through every note sung, I hope to ignite a spark of emotion, inspire contemplation, and ultimately leave an indelible imprint on the hearts of those who share in this artistic journey with us.”
Read the full review on the La Scena Musicale.