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GUIDE | Holiday Gift Suggestions For The Classical Music Lovers On Your List From LvT

By Anya Wassenberg on December 8, 2023

Image by Frauke Riether (CC0C/Pixabay)
Image by Frauke Riether (CC0C/Pixabay)

Gift buying can be a little stressful, especially for those who seem to already have it all. When it comes to classical music lovers in particular, they may just be discerning people with exquisite tastes.

What kind of gifts would they enjoy? Writers Joseph So, Arthur Kaptainis, and Toronto City Editor Anya Wassenberg have a few suggestions.

Solomea: Star of Opera’s Golden Age by Andriy J. Semotiuk (2023)

Considered one of the leading dramatic sopranos at the turn of the 20th century, it seems shocking that so little is known about Solomea Krushelnytska today. More than a singer, the Ukrainian soprano was a leading force in the world of opera. She premiered the roles of Salome and Elektra in Italy, working with Arturo Toscanini. Solomea also helped to rehabilitate Puccini’s now-classic Madama Butterfly from its disastrous debut at La Scala. She moved back to Western Ukraine just before the outbreak of WWII. The book is written by Canadian family member Andriy J. Semotiuk. You can order it [HERE].

Mahler 8: Minnesota Orchestra, conductor Osmo Vänskä; Minnesota Chorale, National Lutheran Choir, Minnesota Boychoir, Aneglica Cantanti Youth Choirs (BIS)

Music Director Osmo Vänskä’s finale at the end of his contract with the Minnesota Orchestra was Mahler’s No. 8, the so-called Symphony of a Thousand. It’s an ambitious work that incorporates four choirs, eight soloists, and a huge orchestra. His final performances with the MO in June 2022 were recorded as part of their Mahler Recording project. They’ve been released on a new recording under the BIS label that is sure to thrill any lover of vocal or choral music — or Mahler. Buy it directly from the Minnesota Orchestra [HERE].

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 op. 125 (Bärenreiter Ode to Joy The Fascsimile Edition)

An important bicentennial looms on May 7, 2024 — of the first performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Published by Bärenreiter, a German company specializing in classical music with a scholarly bent, a newly released facsimile score aims to present a version as close as possible to the one the composer intended. Bärenreiter has published a full-size facsimile of the autograph manuscript, uniting elements from Berlin, Bonn and Paris. The Old Manuscripts and Incunabula company of New York prices it at US$995. You can order it from the publisher for 868.00 € [HERE].

La Fanciulla Playing Cards

Inspired by the card scene in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, the Metropolitan Opera offers a two-deck set of poker-sized playing cards. Enrico Caruso as Dick Johnson is seen on one deck, Renata Tebaldi as Minnie on the other. The reasonable price of US$11.25 does not include a Canadian shipping fee of US$34.95. Still a good bet. The cards are exclusive to the Met Opera gift shop, and can be ordered [HERE].

Live Music

What’s better than a win-win situation? Needless to say, tickets to live performances make a wonderful gift, and a subscription or gift certificate to either a favourite ensemble or even a venue like Koerner Hall gives your loved one something special, as well as supporting your local Toronto arts scene. From fun outings like Opera Revue in a local bar to gala concerts, Toronto’s classical music scene has a wide range of experiences to offer. For the more imaginative, you can try a trio of tickets to three different kinds of performances and/or ensembles — you’re limited only by your imagination. AND for those who can’t make it to concerts, there are several excellent online subscriptions such as Early Music TV or Symphony Live.

Music Lessons

Turn the music lovers in your social circle into musicians and singers with the gift of music lessons. When you give the gift of music lessons, you’re opening up a new world. Whether you choose an institution like the Royal Conservatory of Music, or one of Toronto’s many fine private instructors, you’ll be giving the recipient skills that will open up a whole new appreciation of music. There’s nothing like the thrill of being able to make music.

Here’s hoping the season is a happy and peaceful one for you and yours.

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