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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 singing through three centuries with a gala concert to launch its 2019/20 season

The TMC celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2019 with a gala concert with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at Koerner Hall. The Choir was founded in 1894 by conductor Augustus Vogt and had its first concert on January 15, 1895 in Massey Hall.  The Choir has performed in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, as Toronto went from a city of 200,000 to the Greater Toronto Area of over 6 million. A lot has changed over the years, but the Choir continues to hold annual auditions for all choir members, a practice started by founder Augustus Vogt.The Gala Concert will take place Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 3:30 pm at Koerner Hall. The Choir will be joined by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, long-time musical partners with the TMC and a youngster at only 97 years old. TMC Conductor David Fallis has put together a program that brings together the three centuries in three major works: Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, composed in the late 1880s and re-orchestrated by him in 1894, the year of the founding of the TMC; Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, composed in 1930 and one of the greatest choral-orchestral works of the 20th century; and for the 21st century a new commission by acclaimed Cree composer Andrew Balfour. Andrew’s commission for the TMC will set one of the Biblical psalms in Cree, interwoven with words by Indigenous poet Karen Vermette.
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Categories: 2019-2020 Season and Media Releases.

Toronto Symphony–Mendelssohn Choir Messiah

Leslie Barcza, barczablog. Toronto is Messiah town, as I’ve joked before. Handel’s most popular Biblical oratorio is everywhere at this time of year. Tonight I took in the second of six offered this week by the Toronto Symphony, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and soloists under the baton of Johannes Debus, the Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company. We’ve heard him lead operas at Four Seasons Centre, I wondered what he’d be like leading an oratorio down the street with the TSO & TMC. And in fact it was the cleanest clearest Messiah I’ve heard at Roy Thomson Hall.
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Categories: 2018-2019 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Makes Handel’s Messiah Shimmer With The TSO

Arthur Kaptainis, ludwig Van Toronto. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s greatest hit every December, generally with a new conductor. Our Messiah maestro this year is both familiar and surprising: Johannes Debus. On Monday, the music director of the Canadian Opera Company oversaw a performance in Roy Thomson Hall that was agreeable in particulars but lacking something in drama. The stars of the show, numbering about 110, were in the loft. Clearly, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir has not lost interest in this annual assignment. “For unto us a Child is born” was exuberant and the stresses of “Let us break their bonds asunder” were spot-on. Sections were perhaps not of exactly equal strength — we all know which letter comes first in SATB — but counterpoint was vigorous and the tone was lucid at all dynamic levels. This great institution seems to be thriving under the interim supervision of David Fallis.
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Categories: 2018-2019 Season and Media Reviews.