By Neil Crory on October 20, 2014
The much-anticipated Toronto debut of the $300,000.00 pianist - Rafał Blechacz - took place on Sunday afternoon at Koerner Hall. The near capacity audience was treated to a somewhat old-fashioned programme which included Bach's Italian Concerto, Beethoven's "Pathétique" Sonata and, after intermission, a collection of diverse works by Frédéric Chopin.
By Neil Crory on October 15, 2014
"Maria Callas Is Coming!" trumpeted one newspaper headline a few days before the Greek-American soprano was to make her highly anticipated Toronto debut on October 21, 1958. Vocally, the diva was at the peak of her game and the height of her celebrity, so it is perhaps not surprising that an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 opera fans gathered to hear her perform in the cavernous Maple Leaf Gardens - home not only to the Maple Leafs, but also to New York's Metropolitan Opera on tour. So dense were the crowds of fans, the Toronto Daily Star reported, that when she appeared, police had to drive a path through the cheering throngs...