Peter Oundjian’s triumphant finale to his fourteen-year tenure with Toronto Symphony!

David Richards, Toronto Concert Reviews. Not many people get a goodbye celebration at Roy Thomson Hall.  Such was the case last night for Peter Oundjian with the hall filled to the choir lofts with an adoring public including the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell (Lieutenant Governor of Ontario), the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian ended his remarkable fourteen years at the orchestra's helm as the TSO closed out its 2017/18 season. The sustained standing ovation by the sold-out hall was just the beginning of the show of love and appreciation for the music he has given and for what he has done for the orchestra, the city and the province.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Oundjian Ode to Joy

Leslie Barcza, Barczablog. We heard Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  The piece is ideal for this sort of occasion, an instant happening. For three movements the orchestra plays while a crowd of brooding faces watch and listen from the stage. It was almost like three different symphonies, totally unlike one another, each in the presence of the 150 formally attired singers of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, waiting their turn. The dissonance that opens the last movement might almost sum up the shock we feel when oh my they’re standing up, perfectly synchronized. Something is going to happen!  Of course it won’t be a surprise when they also sing in perfect synchronization.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

CANDIDE at TSO Gives You Permission to Laugh

Taylor Long, Broadway World. Conductor Bramwell Tovey began the evening by saying, "in light of the way things are... I want to give you permission to laugh." It didn't take very long before the audience was in stitches with laughter. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed Leonard Bernstein's CANDIDE last weekend, accompanied by some of the country's greatest classical voices - Judith Forst and Tracy Dahl - and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. The evening was a spectacular display of fine music, drama, and comedy.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Candide with the Toronto Symphony: using our imaginations

Leslie Barcza, barczablog. This felt like a very authentic performance to me, Bramwell Tovey kicking the TSO, chorus & soloists along at a wonderful pace.  Tovey even got into the act, singing & dancing himself, but he was having a great time.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

TSO’s Candide Pushes Bernstein’s Wordplay A Little Too Far

Arthur Kaptainis, Ludwig Van Toronto. While the score brims with good tunes and snappy rhythms, Candide’s travels never really acquire anything like dramatic momentum. Characters inexplicably return to life (as the duet “You Were Dead, You Know” explicitly acknowledges) and the unpleasant misadventures are essentially random.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Halls Brings TSO Messiah Brilliantly Into Focus

Arthur Kaptainis, Ludwig Van Toronto. In the age of sexed-up and dumbed-down Messiahs, it is good to be reminded how utterly self-refreshing Handel’s masterpiece is when addressed by the right personnel under a conductor with something to say. Such were the conditions that prevailed Monday in Roy Thomson Hall, where Matthew Halls led the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and a crack quartet of Canadian soloists in through a performance that could fairly be called electrifying.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

The enduring high note of Handel’s Messiah returning in dual Toronto productions

John Terauds, Toronto Star. No one expects a stopgap to turn into a masterpiece. But that’s what happened to George Frideric Handel when one of his collaborators, Charles Jennens, handed him some texts to set to music. Messiah has, since its premiere in Dublin at Easter time 275 years ago, become one of the best-loved pieces of classical music in the English-speaking world. Toronto is no exception, becoming a virtual shrine to Messiah at this time every year. The city’s two flagship orchestras — the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on modern instruments, and Tafelmusik Orchestra on historical ones — present multiple performances every December. The two-hour oratorio, either in part or whole, is also heard in churches, cathedrals, schools and community concerts from the city core to rural villages.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

The Toronto Symphony Remembers…

Jeff Mitchell, Toronto Concert Reviews. (T)he Toronto premiere of an hour-long work entitled Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, by Vancouver-based composer Jeffrey Ryan, with text by Canadian poet Suzanne Steele, who spent time with the Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan between 2008 and 2010.  Her “observations of a Canadian battle group’s road to war and that of their loved ones, before, during and after war”, as expressed through her vivid and graphic poetry, set the stage for the dramatic and visceral music composed by Ryan.  The work is written for orchestra, vocal soloists, as well as adult and children’s choruses. Each of the soloists were exceptional, singing music that was not as lyrical or melodic as one often hears in a requiem but that was, at turns, percussive, violent, plaintive and emotionally raw, even at its quietest moments.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra lifts war into art with Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation

John Terauds, Toronto Star. Art loves conflict and resolution, while the real world muddles along in the sludgy mass between the two. But art, carefully applied and administered as it was by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Thursday night, can lift that sludgy mass up and turn it into something almost as beautiful as neat resolution.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.

Toronto Symphony Remembers Afghanistan War With Deeply Moving Tribute

John Terauds, ludwig van Toronto. The second half of the program belonged to Ryan and Steele’s 60-minute Requiem, with full orchestra and four vocal soloists augmented by the always-excellent Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Children’s Chorus. Soprano Measha Brueggergosman, mezzo Allyson McHardy, tenor Colin Ainsworth and baritone Brett Poegato did excellent work with what was often difficult singing, bringing genuine emotion to the text.
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Categories: 2017-2018 Season and Media Reviews.