Three French treats guaranteed to brighten a midwinter's Saturday
It's barely light out, and it's already clear that it's going to be one of those slate-grey, can't-wait-for-spring Saturdays.
Here are three antidotes, filled with musical colour as well as heat-generating drama. Two are free:
ON THE NET: Ravel's Shéhérézade
This is a powerful performance by the Orchestra National de Lyon under conductor Josep Pons, the new music director at the Liceu opera in Barcelona. The soprano is Mireille Delunsch, who has rarely strayed far beyond her native France in a rich, busy opera career.
ON RADIO: Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride, 1 p.m. on CBC Radio 2
The last of Gluck's French operas had its premiere in Paris in 1779. The Metropolitan Opera is broadcasting a remount of its 2007 production, again starring mezzo Susan Graham in the title role, and tenor Placido Domingo as her brother Oreste. Given that Domingo is coming to Toronto to inaugurate the BlackCreek Music Festival on June 4, this is a good chance to hear how improbably fine a 70-year-old can sound.
LIVE AND IN-PERSON: Unaccompanied 20th century choral music
Peter Mahon leads the Tallis Choir in a 7:30 p.m. concert at St. Patrick's Church (141 McCaul St.) that features Four Motets for a Time fo Penitence as well as the Four Christmas Motets by Francis Poulenc. The programme also contains the Mass for Double Choir by Frank Martin, a Swiss-born composer who died in 1974. Tickets are $10-$30.
Written in the 1920s, the Mass is a compelling blend of old and new. Here is the beginning and end -- Kyrie and Agnus Dei -- as sung by the University of Southern Mississippi Chorale (and one enthusiastic baby) led by Gregory Fuller, and whose aesthetic pairs up very nicely with Poulenc's: