Monday, August 29, 2011

Concert Highlights for the 2011-2012 Season

The 2011-2012 concert season is shaping up to be an exciting one and here are some of my highlights that I will be seeing and hopefully writing about this year.

Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (Song of the Earth) dominates September with this enormous work scaled down to the stark setting of piano and vocalists.  The all-Canadian triple threat of Benjamin Butterfield, tenor, Elizabeth Turnbull, mezzo-soprano and John Hess, piano will perform this marathon of a love song to nature at Convocation Hall on September 23rd.  Put this on your calendar as Das Lied von der Erde is rarely performed and even rarer still in an intimate concert.

Run - don't walk to see James Ehnes, violin at McDougall United Church on Saturday October 1st.  How many times to you get to see an internationally renound violinist in a small church?  Thanks to the Edmonton Chamber Music Society for arranging what I'm sure will be a great concert.  

Pro Coro has an exciting year to choose their new conductor - you have a chance to see all three hopefuls in action at three concerts in October, November and February.  I'm sure we will see some great work this year as the finalists will want to impress!

I already have my ticket for the Edmonton Chamber Music Society's presentation of Dido and Aeneas by Daniel Taylor's Theatre of Early Music at Convocation Hall on Monday February 13th.  OK, a small confession here - I already have my ticket because I've had a big schoolgirl crush on Alexander Dobson's (Aeneas) voice for a long time so I'm very excited to see him in this role ... of course everyone else is great too!! Daniel Taylor, one the great countertenors of the world, and Noemi Kiss (Dido), Benjamin Butterfield, Grace Davidson, and Julia Doyle will all be performing.

The operatic theme continues with the University of Alberta's Opera Performance program which brings us Orphée aux Enfers on Sunday March 25th at 3pm at the Winspear Centre.  Orpheus goes into the underworld again with Offenbach's satire of Gluck's Orfeo and Euridice - yes, opera can be funny.  I have to admit I'm surprised time and time again at opera audiences in Edmonton who are unpretentious enough to laugh out loud and really enjoy their opera - so 'loosen up' everybody else!

Edmonton Opera's season culminates with Beethoven's only opera Fidelio on April 21, 24 and 26 next year.  This all Canadian production is the first ever in Alberta and may be director Brian Deedrick's swan song as he leaves his post as Artistic Director of Edmonton Opera (we hope not Brian!)

Finally, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Be a member of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra!  Maestro Bill Eddins gives us a preview of the Symphony's Carnegie Hall performance on May 4th next year with several Canadian soloists and composers. 

I hope to see you at a concert! I'll be the one scribbling on my notepad trying to look inconspicuous ...

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