Vienna Philharmonic makes a rare visit to Toronto, with Atom Egoyan on hand
Star guy Adrian Brijbassi took in a performance of the amazing Vienna Philharmonic on the weekend. Here's his report.
Atom Egoyan and his wife Arsinée Khanjian were among the concertgoers treated to a rare and remarkable performance by the Vienna Philharmonic at Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday afternoon. The orchestra’s first appearance in Toronto since 2006 was also its only Canadian date on a six-city, eight-show North American tour that began on Feb. 25.
Conductor Semyon Bychkov, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, led the musicians through a stirring interpretation of three master works: Franz Schubert’s “Symphony No. 2 in B-flat Major”, Richard Wagner’s epic “Tristan and Isolde” and Bela Bartok’s sublime “The Miraculous Mandarin.”
“The Wagner was just fabulous,” said Egoyan, director of “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Ararat.”
Khanjian, a Genie Award winner, said the entire show “was like poetry.”
Considered one of the world’s finest orchestras, the Vienna Philharmonic features the best of the best of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Once accepted into the Philharmonic, the musicians are in for life.
The concert brought out classical music fans, including several visitors from Austria. Among them was Astrid Pockfuss of the Vienna Tourist Board, who is in town for a brief stay to promote her beautiful city. Along with the ever-present markets and coffeehouses that Vienna is famed for, Astrid says there’s a growing arts and club scene.
The Viennese are also looking forward to celebrating a couple of milestone birthdays next year. Gustav Klimt would have been 150 in 2012 and his most famous work, the oft-imitated “The Kiss”, will be the key part of a series of exhibitions looking at the artist’s work and influence on Europe’s modernist movement around the turn of the 20th century.
The other big anniversary will be celebrated by the same group of men (and one or two women) who just wowed Toronto. The Vienna Philharmonic turns 170 in 2012 and while the musicians tour often, seeing them in their hometown would be sweet.
And speaking of sweet, the much-loved Sachertorte made it from Vienna, thanks to the Hotel Sacher, and was served at a post-concert reception at Roy Thomson. If the music, art, culture and history of Vienna don’t convince you to go, this decadent dessert just might.