The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs
The opera about Apple founder Steve Jobs premiered in 2017 at Santa Fe Opera. The touring version is a little more user-friendly – 2.0, one might say. The Canadian debut of the ultramodernist work by Grammy-winning composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell is a co-production of Calgary Opera, Austin Opera, Atlanta Opera, Utah Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Feb. 4, 8 and 10, Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary.
Songs for Murdered Sisters
Joshua Hopkins performs Songs for Murdered Sisters, a song cycle conceived by the Canadian baritone after his older sibling and two other women were slain in a 2016 rampage. Composed by Jake Heggie and based on original poetry by Margaret Atwood, the piece is about the loss of a sister and the larger tragedy of domestic violence against women. The National Arts Centre Orchestra presents its live orchestral premiere. Feb. 9 and 10, Southam Hall, Ottawa; Feb. 11, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Feb. 14, Isabel Bader Centre, Kingston.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
“It is rarely that a symphony orchestra with nearly 100 players honours Toronto with a visit.” The Globe and Mail wrote that about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s concert at Massey Hall in 1914, and the statement still holds true. The ensemble from the Windy City blows back into town after more than a century away, led by maestro Riccardo Muti on his final tour as music director and conductor. On the program are selections from the canons of Beethoven and Prokofiev – oldies but goodies. Feb. 1 and 2, Koerner Hall, Toronto.
At the age of 22, violinist Hilary Hahn was already hailed by The New York Times as a “veteran.” More than two decades later, the U.S. virtuoso can now be described as cherished, her rich sounds and perfect intonation a consistent source of pleasure on the world’s important stages. This month, she sits in with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for an interpretation of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto and with the National Arts Centre Orchestra for Dvorak’s Violin Concerto. Jan. 13 and 14, Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver; Jan. 18 and 19, Southam Hall; Ottawa
Amati Concert Series
In the 1950s, Stephen Kolbinson, a grain farmer from Kindersley, Sask., liked to do two things: harvest wheat and collect 17th-century instruments created in Italy by the Amati family, considered one of the world’s first great luthiers. No disrespect to his abilities on the combine, but Kolbinson’s talent for finding fiddles was world-class. His collection of a viola, cello and two violins, acquired by University of Saskatchewan in 1959, are still making music together in a concert series presented by the university. Feb. 5, Convocation Hall, Saskatoon.
When Joel Ivany and Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre mounted its flashy adaptation of Gluck’s underworld opera Orphée in 2018, the production featured electric-guitar sounds and eye-popping costumes and choreography. As the new artistic director of Edmonton Opera, Ivany now brings his boundary-breaking notions to the Prairies. Jan. 28, 31 and Feb. 3, Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton.
How good are the acoustics at the Montreal Symphony House? Audiences will find out when the house orchestra goes unplugged – no amplification – for an exercise in pure sound, set up by stagecraft specialists Noisy Head Studio. Jan. 11 to 14 (and June 9 and 10), Place des Arts, Montreal.
Mozart wasn’t able to finish his Requiem in D minor before he died in 1791. But, as Beethoven put it, “If Mozart did not write the music, then the man who wrote it was a Mozart.” It was, in fact, Mozart’s student Franz Sussmayr who completed the work (and probably used Beethoven’s quote in his press kit afterward). Vocal soloists including mezzo Susan Platts join the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the Mozart-Sussmayr joint. Jan. 11 to 14, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Jan. 15, George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto.
The Marriage of Figaro
Intrigue, seduction and subversive servants as a wedding day approaches – the librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte had a way with a soap opera. The Canadian Opera Company presents Mozart’s popular comedic masterpiece. Jan. 27 to Feb. 18, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto.