Ken Stephen, Large Stage Live! Wonderful as the soloists were, the honours of the evening, as far as the Requiem were concerned, rested with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Coincidentally (or not?) the first of the four concerts this week fell on January 15, the exact 125th anniversary of the founding concert of the choir in 1894 under Dr. Augustus Vogt. Throughout the work, the choristers excelled in the agility needed for the faster passages (the Offertorio and the Kyrie fugue the most stunning examples) while finding the necessary power for the more solemn and sombre sections. Impressive indeed were the many passages placed low in the voice registers, and here in particular the singers maintained firm tone and immaculate blend in places where some choirs get into difficulties.
Joseph So, Ludwig Van Toronto. To my ears, the glory of the evening belonged to the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. At the risk of being branded Toronto-centric, I feel strongly that the TMC is the premiere choral ensemble in Canada. Despite not having a permanent conductor at the moment, the TMC continues to do well. The Sanctus and Rex tremendae were two of the many highlights of the evening.
Dave Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. When I look at the TSO calendar of concerts at the start of the season, the first to be penciled into our calendar are invariably those that include the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. There is something extraordinary about the choral orchestral sounds that touches my soul like nothing else can. The stunning power and beauty of our fine orchestra takes me to another space when it is enveloped by the over-arching sopranos or pierced by the strength of the male voices. Last night’s concert had an extra degree of ‘specialness’ (if that’s a word). Mozart’s Requiem in D minor K.626has been consistently close to my heart since I first fell in love with choral music in my first year of university.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.