16th Season: 2010-2011


Very shortly after Janacek’s 1917 summer holiday in the Moravian spa-town of Luhacovice, he began setting the poems of Ozef Kalda – a railway official who had a knack for fiction writing – detailing a young farm boy’s infatuation with a gypsy girl. Janacek himself was living a similar story – that summer in Luhacovice he had fallen in love – or perhaps lust? – with the young wife (he was twice her age!) of an antique dealer from Pisek. Though Kamila Stosslova did not return his affection, there are more than 700 letters that survive to chronicle the composer’s unrequited affection. The Kalda settings eventually came to make up the celebrated song-cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared, considered to be one of Janacek’s most sensual – even perverse – compositions. We leave this dramatic Czech ‘glutton for punishment’ (700 letters is a LOT of letters!) for another kind of music drama – this time, Italian “style”! We will regale you with excerpts and operatic gems from Verdi, Donizetti, Tosti and Rachmaninov.

The programme will include Rachmaninoff romances, Janacek’s Diary of One Who Disappeared, Italian songs by Tosti, highlights from Verdi’s Rigoletto, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lamermoor and a four-hand arrangement of the ouverture from Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algieri. To convey these tips on love, longing and lust, are tenor Colin Ainsworth, baritone Peter McGillivray, sopranos Rachel Cleland-Ainsworth and Lucia Cesaroni, together with pianists Inna Perkis and Boris Zarankin, soprano Sarah Halmarson and mezzo soprano Leigh-Anne Martin.

The first 50 ticket orders for this special Mother’s Day concert, will receive an additional ticket, compliments of Inna and Boris.
Bring your Mom, bring a friend, the choice is yours.

* Based on a first come, first serve basis, applicable to new sales only, for the May performance only

> All Concerts start at 3pm at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, Toronto

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-


Have you ever wondered why it is that the most exotic countries of Europe are found along the edges of the continent? And yet, for all their richness, fullness of character and vibrancy, they are nothing alike in their music! Our Urgo-Finnic group – made up of Bartok, Arvo Part, Kodaly and Sibelius – is entranced by mysterious Asia, while the Spaniards – Albeniz, Granados and Rodrigo – embrace the Gypsy presence and the sounds of ther North African neighbours. Inviting you on this colourful journey are sopranos Joni Henson and Teiya Kasahara, baritone Olivier Laquerre, accordionist Joseph Macerollo and pianist Ricker Choi. The concert will be hosted by Julia Zarankin, who will introduce the Spanish, Hungarian, and Finnish cultures, what unites them and what makes them different. Canadian actor Fiona Byrne will be reading poems by the great Spanish poet Garcia Lorca. Fiona recently starred as Natalya in Soulpaper Theatre’s ‘A Month in the Country’, and is a regular at the Shaw Festival.

This concert is sponsored by Horatio and Jackie Kemeny.

> All Concerts start at 3pm at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, Toronto

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

We’ve uncovered a new mystery of history! Within a three year span at the end of the first decade of the 19th Century, a “Mighty Four” was born – Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann and Liszt! We promise not to overwhelm you with these Romantic composer heavyweights – lighter fare on our teatime menu will be provided by our winded musicians, and will include Brahms’ lyrical Op. 40 Horn trio. Creating this bearable lightness of being are sopranos Allison Angelo and Eve-Rachel McLeod, mezzo soprano Erica Iris Huang, violinist Marie Berard, clarinettist Katie Norman and Joan Watson on the French horn.

> All Concerts start at 3pm at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West, Toronto

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

To begin our 16th season, we travel to Russia and celebrate the music born out of the infamous oppression and censorship of the Communist regime. This is the Russia of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, and of the poet Alexander Blok – creators who ultimately found salvation only in their art. Our programme will feature the rarely performed Shostakovich masterpiece “Seven Romances of Alexander Blok” – a late work that exemplifies the complexity of the time: the songs are as simple and touching melodically as they are charged with intense suffering. Shostakovich reminds his listener that this is as much the time of optimistic marches, of the promise of brotherhood and paradise on earth as it is of the Gulag and of concentration camps.

To earn money and to appease the authorities, Shostakovich turned to writing music that would appeal to the masses – and appeal, it did! One melody found its way to the silver screen in the 1943 Hollywood film “Thousands Cheer” and it is no wonder: even his “popular” music is inspired. Alongside Shostakovich, we have programmed another great Soviet confectioner of melody: Isaak Dunayevski. Virtually unknown to the Western world, he was the most successful film composer of his time and his prolific output is full of memorable tunes.

The scope of the Communist totalitarian regime – and the bright Red colour that often heralded its infamous oppression and censorship – reached far beyond the geographical borders of what we now recognize as Russia and permeated the musical output of the entire Eastern Block. Off Centre celebrates the music of the Red composers – Shostakovich, Dunayevski, among others – who found salvation in their art. As we begin our 16th season “of contrasts”, who but Franz Schubert could lead us out of this Red tyranny and subjugation into freedom and redemption? Join tenor Ryan Harper, baritones Vasil Garvanliev and Giles Tomkins, soprano Ilana Zarankin, violinist Jacques Israelievitch, cellist Winona Zelenka, and our very own pianists Inna Perkis and Boris Zarankin in a programme of tears and laughter.

Post a comment

Early subscribers will receive 2 complimentary tickets to the concert of their choiceSUBSCRIBE
+