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THE SCOOP | Tafelmusik Celebrates The Sound Of Beauty In 45th Anniversary 2023-24 Season

By Anya Wassenberg on February 27, 2023

Tafelmusik (Photo: Dahlia Katz)
Tafelmusik (Photo: Dahlia Katz)

Toronto’s Baroque specialists Tafelmusik have unveiled programming for 2023/24 — the organization’s 45th anniversary season. In celebration of the occasion, the theme The Sound Of Beauty will be explored through ten concerts, a series of brilliant guest artists, music from the Baroque to the brand new — and, the orchestra’s first United States tour since 2019.

Tafelmusik’s Artistic Co-Directors — violist Brandon Chui, bassoonist Dominic Teresi, and violinist Cristina Zacharias — worked with Tafelmusik Chamber Choir Director, Ivars Taurins in developing the next season of music.

“We are so excited to share The Sound of Beauty with our audience and invite you all to celebrate Tafelmusik’s 45th anniversary season with us,” says Cristina Zacharias in a statement on behalf of Tafelmusik’s Artistic Co-Directors. “We have assembled an incredibly exciting array of guest directors— a combination of dear friends and fresh new faces. We have chosen music that takes us from a wild exploration of 17th-century Italy to the burgeoning romanticism of Beethoven’s Vienna. We will debut a fascinating new multimedia program created by Alison Mackay and are thrilled to bring back our traditional holiday hit, Sing-Along Messiah. Please join the orchestra and choir as we celebrate 45!”

Tafelmusik (Photo: Dahlia Katz)
Tafelmusik (Photo: Dahlia Katz)

The Sound of Beauty 45th Anniversary Season

Here’s a look at the next season in brief. The season opens with a concert featuring a favourite guest.

  • Conductor Bruno Weil, a frequent guest and collaborator over three decades, returns to open the season at Koerner Hall for an all-Beethoven program that pairs Symphony no. 4 and the iconic Symphony no. 5, performed with gut strings, period winds, and natural brass.
  • Former Tafelmusik violinist Aisslinn Nosky, Concertmaster of the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston since 2011, returns for Passions Revealed, featuring the music of Telemann, Vivaldi, Marais, and Bach.
  • Tafelmusik’s Dominic Teresi is featured as bassoon soloist for Vivaldi’s concerto, “La Notte” (The Night).
  • Harpsichordist and guest director Kristian Bezuidenhout returns for Transformations, a program with music that has been transformed, including orchestral arrangements of chamber and keyboard music by Handel, Rameau, Purcell, and J.S. Bach.

A New Multimedia Program

Staircases is a new creation by former Tafelmusik double bassist Alison Mackay. The Staircase program was created together with American bass-baritone and composer Jonathan Woody, and with music direction by Julia Wedman. The music of Purcell, Handel, Platti, and Bach, along with images and words, are used to explore the idea of staircases and their symbolism.

Tafelmusik Debuts

Tafelmusik will welcome three internationally recognized violinists in their Tafelmusik debuts. Each will serve as guest director for one concert.

  • Emmanuel Resche-Caserta, the French-Italian concertmaster of Les Arts Florissants, will direct Vive la différence, a program that echoes the rivalry between the French and Italian baroque styles with music by Lully, Corelli, Muffat, Couperin. Two women composers of the era are also featured: Antonia Bembo and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre.
  • The stylus fantasticus was popular in the early Baroque period, a kind of showcase style where composers looked to display the ingenuity of their work. Spanish violinist Lina Tur Bonet directs Fantasticus, a program that features the radical 17th-century musical style.
  • Zefira Valova, the Bulgarian concertmaster of Il Pomo D’Oro, directs Bohemian Rhapsody: Benda and Haydn, with Valova and Tafelmusik cellist Keiran Campbell performing as soloists in concertos by Benda and Haydn.

Tafelmusik Chamber Choir

The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir under the direction of Ivars Taurins will perform three concert programs.

  • Choral Kaleidoscope features the music of Monteverdi, Bach, Purcell, Rossi, Carissimi, and Lotti.
  • Tafelmusik’s Messiah returns in the style of Handel’s own productions, with the choir, orchestra, and guest soloists, including Scottish/Irish/Tanzanian soprano Rachel Redmond; Persian-Canadian countertenor Cameron Shahbazi; James Reese, an American tenor based in Philadelphia; and Enrico Lagasca, Filipino-American bass-baritone.
  • Tafelmusik’s treasured Sing-Along Messiah makes a triumphant return, directed by G.F. Handel himself.
  • The 45th anniversary season ends with A Handel Celebration, with guest soloists Amanda Forsythe, soprano, and Thomas Hobbs, tenor.

*This concert will be recorded live for future release on the Tafelmusik Media label.

US Tour

Through February 2024, Canadian violinist Aisslinn Nosky will lead Tafelmusik in a series of concerts through Ontario, leading up to the orchestra’s first United States tour since 2019.

  • The Passions program will be featured on the tour;
  • It will take the orchestra through several Eastern and Midwestern states;
  • It takes place from March 2 to 16, 2024.

Haus Musik at the El Mocambo

Launched in 2016, Haus Musik takes the music out of the concert hall and into a pub in a creative mashup with other genres of music.

  • Haus Musik returns takes up a new home at Toronto’s El Mocambo for two performances in November 2023 and April 2024.

Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute: June 9-22, 2024

The TBSI has fostered participants from 65 different countries in their journey to mastering Baroque instrumental and vocal performance. The intensive training program takes place at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

Tafelmusik will continue its long association with Opera Atelier in two production next season, with details to be announced by Opera Atelier.

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