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WORLD'S GREATEST OPERA CHORUSES WITH THE TORONTO MENDELSSOHN CHOIR
MASTERWORKS SERIES
Friday, March 5, 2010
7:30pm P.C. Ho Theatre

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* To select and reserve your seat, and to check its availability, please call the Philharmonic Office or email us at contact@ontariophil.ca

Including Verdi's Triumphal March and Va pensiero and Wagner's Bridal Chorus
The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Durham Youth Orchestra (DYO) join forces with the Ontario Philharmonic for a performance of uniquely grandiose opera choruses, all under the direction of Marco Parisotto.



Ruggiero LEONCAVALLO
(1858-1919)
PAGLIACCI - orchestral prelude
Bell Chorus - I zampognari
·Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
3'
4'
Giuseppe VERDI
(1813-1901)
NABUCCO Gli arredi festivi
Chorus of the Hebrew slaves -
Va, pensiero
·Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
5'
5'


Hector BERLIOZ
(1803-1869)
Roman Carnival Overture
·OP and DYO
8'
Amelia Cristina GUIZAR
(b. 1958)
Misa de Gloria (World premiere)
·Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
20'
Giuseppe VERDI
(1813-1901)
AIDA Triumphal March -
Gloria all'Egitto
12'
                Intermission
Giuseppe VERDI
(1813-1901)
IL TROVATORE Anvil Chorus - Vedi! le fosche
Soldiers' Chorus - Squilli, echeggi (blast, resonate)
·Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
3'

3'

Richard WAGNER
(1813-1883)
LOHENGRIN Bridal Chorus
- Treulich geführt ziehet dahin
·Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
5'
Richard WAGNER
(1813-1883)
DIE MEISTERSINGER Prelude
·OP and DYO
10'
Modest MUSSORGSKY
(1839-1881)
BORIS GODUNOV Coronation Scene
·Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
9'
Guest Choir: Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
The Durham Youth Orchestra joins the Ontario Philharmonic
Click here for Program Notes



TORONTO MENDELSSOHN CHOIR


NOEL EDISON, Artistic Director
ROSS INGLIS, Assistant Conductor

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (TMC) is Canada's outstanding large vocal ensemble. Founded in 1894, the Choir has maintained an unbroken tradition of live performance, flourishing under the baton of seven choral and symphonic conductors during its 115-year history. Successive conductors of the TMC have been Augustus S. Vogt, Herbert Fricker, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Frederick Silvester, Walter Susskind, Elmer Iseler, and, since 1997, Noel Edison.

Over the years, the Choir has performed in a wide range of prestigious venues, including New York's Carnegie Hall, Washington's Kennedy Center, London's Royal Albert Hall, Salzburg's Mozarteum and Vienna's Musikverein. The Choir has also participated in numerous festivals throughout the years across Canada, as well as in Prague, Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, London, Paris, Lucerne and Belgium. In January 2010, the TMC will travel to Vancouver for a series of concerts as part of the Cultural Olympiad associated with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

An important and notable aspect of the TMC's artistic output has been the catalogue of recordings produced since 1926. Most recent recordings include A Festival of Carols in 2006, the Berlioz Requiem in 1998 for the Naxos label, and Handel's Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 1986. In 1993, the Choir recorded part of the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning film Schindler's List under the direction of composer John Williams.

At home, the TMC presents over 20 concerts per season, including its own multi-concert subscription series, and guest appearances. The Choir's repertoire ranges from Renaissance masterpieces, large-scale classical and romantic works, to world premières of new compositions commissioned for and by the Choir.

Drawing from a large pool of amateur singers in Toronto and southwestern Ontario, the TMC is composed primarily of volunteers who audition each year for membership in the Choir. The Choir includes the 65-voice Mendelssohn Singers and the 20-voice Elora Festival Singers.




Noel Edison

Artistic Director, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir

Noel Edison is well established as one of the most versatile and charismatic conductors in the world today. As Artistic Director and Conductor of two world-class Canadian ensembles, the large-scale Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the chamber-sized Elora Festival Singers, Noel is widely recognized and appreciated for his skilful, interpretive work with both choir and orchestra.

Since 1984, Noel has served both as Artistic Director of the Elora Festival as well as Organist and Choirmaster at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Elora, one of the few all-professional church choirs in Canada. Noel's formal association with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir began in 1997, with the selection of his Elora Festival Singers as the professional core of the venerable Toronto institution. This is Noel's thirteenth season with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Noel is a favourite in concerts with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Elora Festival Singers on the CBC. He records regularly for the Naxos label and his extensive discography includes Arvo Pärt Berliner Messe; Psalms for the Soul; Willan In the Heavenly Kingdom; Pärt Music for Unaccompanied Choir.



In 2002, the University of Guelph conferred upon Noel the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music, and in January 2009, he was appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province's highest honour.




Durham Youth Orchestra

John Beaton, Music Director

Established in 1993 by Oshawa violinist John Beaton, the Durham Youth Orchestra provides young musicians aged 21 years and under with the enriching educational experience of performing the music of such composers as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Dvorak and Elgar. The goal of the DYO is to foster the artistic and personal growth of young musicians through the experience of playing as a large ensemble. The DYO provides the wonderful opportunity to meet other musicians with the same passion for music, to acquire teamwork skills in an orchestral setting, and to become familiar with a wide range of classical music from the 17th to the 21st century.

The Durham Youth Orchestra performs in a minimum of three concerts each season. The orchestra's involvement in the community includes concerts given in numerous Durham District schools, and for other non-profit organizations. With these efforts, orchestra members gain valuable performing experience and help contribute to the musical culture of the Durham region.

The young musicians have accompanied renowned Canadian soloists such as Erika Raum, Yi-Jia Susanne Hou or Jamie Parker. They have also had the opportunity to share the stage with soloists from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Ontario Philharmonic, Orchestra London, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, as well as some of Durham Region's most talented music students.

 

 

Amelia Cristina GUIZAR

Composer of "Misa de Gloria"

Amelia Cristina Guízar, composer
Composer Dr. Amelia Cristina Guízar was born in Mexico City. She studied both Music and Law and holds a doctoral degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium. A consummate musician she completed her composition and piano studies at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City. In addition, she completed studies in musical pedagogy with Fritz Gabor, director of the Franz Liszt Conservatory in Budapest.

Dr. Guízar’s works have been heard in major centers as London, Brussels, Louvain, Gent, Stockholm, Oslo, Paris and, of course, in Mexico City, among others. Her compositions represented Mexico in the Europalia 95 Festival in Bonn, Germany and Valencia, Spain.

Of particular interest in Dr. Guizar’s opus are several works of spiritual inspiration (e.g. the Missa Gloria performed this evening). The influence of Mexican folklore has always been present in her output among which are the more well-known “Mi Hermosa Toluca” and “San Juan de Ulúa Cautiverio”.

Dr. Guízar is the Director of Academia Sistema Opus 22, a specialized school for gifted children. She is also the founder and Music Director of the “Swiss Choral” in Mexico City. As an administrator she has held several positions of importance in Mexico. She is presently the Executive Director of the Mexico City Philharmonic.





Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1858-1919)
Orchestral Prelude and Bell Chorus from Pagliacci

Appearing as number 14 on Opera America’s list of the 20 most-performed operas, the two-act Pagliacci was inspired by an earlier one-act masterpiece, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Despite a lawsuit claiming that Leoncavallo had plagiarized the libretto for Pagliacci, the work became an instant success. It is still widely staged—usually paired on the same bill with Rusticana and remains his most notable claim to fame.

The opera premiered in Milan in 1892 under the illustrious baton of Arturo Toscanini. As an interesting historical note, the great tenor aria Vesti la giubba from the first act was recorded by Enrico Caruso and became the world’s first record to sell one million copies.

The famous Bell Chorus also occurs in the first act sung by a group of visiting musicians arriving for a festival. Amidst much merrymaking the bells begin to ring and the villagers make their way through the streets celebrating as they go…"Din, don—din, don, suona vespero" (Ding, dong—ding dong, the vespers bell.)

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves—Nabucco (1842)

Va, pensiero, probably one of the most recognizable of all operatic choruses, was inspired by Psalm 137 and is often referred to as Verdi’s “Jewish” work of art. In the story of Nabucco the words recall the chronicle of Jewish exiles from Babylon, singing about their homeland—*O mia patria, si bella e perduta!

Greet the banks of the Jordan
and Zion's toppled towers...
*Oh, my country so lovely and lost!
Oh, remembrance so dear and so fraught with despair!
Some scholars have speculated that the chorus, because of its political significance, is actually the anthem for Italian patriotism, even to the point of suggesting it replace the current Italian national anthem.

Triumphal March—Aida (1871)
Another very recognizable Verdi chorus is the Triumphal March from Aida, an opera written to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal. (This idea was later refuted by Verdi.) It is music of imposing, majestic style within a major work—a tragic love story set against the plot of Egypt’s eventual victory in a war with Ethiopia. Again, Verdi’s very public “nationalism” is evident in the music; it is “triumphalistic”, exalting the dominance of one people over another.

Anvil Chorus—Il Trovatore
One of the most readily recognized and imitated (some critics would say maligned) pieces of “classical” music in the entire repertoire is Verdi’s Anvil Chorus from his 1853 opera “The Troubadour”—Il Trovatore. The music depicts Spanish gypsies striking their anvils and singing the praises of hard work. It has been parodied in everything from a 1929 Marx Brothers film Cocoanuts—Harpo and Chico play the Anvil Chorus on the hotel’s cash register—to a popular Glenn Miller jazz version.

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)
Roman Carnival Overture

French composer Hector Berlioz wrote a number of overtures, most intended as introductions to operas. The Roman Carnival, however, was an exception. Written as a stand-alone concert piece, it was first performed in 1844 and features carnival music from one of Berlioz’ own operas, Benvenuto Cellini.
Of central prominence in the work is a famous solo for the cor anglais—English horn.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
Bridal Chorus—Lohengrin

Considered by many opera lovers to be the greatest composer of “music drama”, Wagner was unique in that he composed not only the music but also scenario and libretto for his works. His use of elaborate leitmotifs—musical themes associated with particular characters—were considered pioneering advances in musical language. The technique was borrowed by another, later opera giant, Giacomo Puccini.

The Bridal Chorus from his three-act Lohengrin has for many years accompanied thousands of brides on their promenade to the altar. In the opera itself, however, it is sung after the ceremony by the women of the wedding party. It is generally recognized as “Here Comes the Bride” and may be second in wedding ceremony choices only to Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” from Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Prelude—Die Meistersinger
One of the most popular operas in the repertoire, “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg” is the longest, still-performed works of its kind—taking about four and half hours. The opera draws much of its appeal and popularity from a faithful depiction of the Nuremberg era in which it is set. The story revolves around a guild of mastersingers who developed a craftsmanlike approach to music making using an intricate system of rules.

Pilgrims’ Chorus—Tannhauser
Tannhauser, Wagner’s “most medieval work” and one that was initially doomed to failure, is the story of the struggle between pagan love and eventual redemption through Christian love—a theme that is evident throughout most of the composer’s operas. During the second act, In a valley below Wartburg Castle, Tannhauser hears the singing of pilgrims on their way to Rome and is tempted to join them.

Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
Coronation Scene—Boris Godunov

Mussorgsky, noticeably unsuccessful in all but a few of his musical endeavours, finally managed to get Boris Godunov staged in 1874. Although it became a mainstay masterpiece, it was his last operatic attempt. The music of The Coronation Scene, is uniquely Russian in flavour, drawing heavily on Mussorgsky’s knowledge of Russian folk melodies. At the coronation, Boris’s followers are asked to “praise him… Boris our Tsar, reigns in glory over Russia…”