Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

From opera to symphony and recitals, Vancouver’s concert scene has a bumper crop of offerings in this next year

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Key players in our classical music scene have begun to let us in on their plans for the next year.

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For example, at opening night of Vancouver Opera’s HMS Pinafore, general director Tom Wright outlined a tantalizing trio of productions: Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers – yes, the one with that duet! – in October; Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, given its North American premiere here in 1961, as part of the late, lamented Vancouver International Festival, and never mounted since, in February; and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman to end the season in April / May.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has recently let us in on a “back to normal” season, including the return of big international names and a much more traditional and generous buffet of major classical works. Guest soloists to particularly watch out for include Hélène Grimaud, playing Brahms’ First Piano Concerto in November, and violinist Stefan Jackiw essaying Brahms’s Violin Concerto in June. And Swedish trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger visits in May.

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Hélène Grimaud will perform Brahms First Piano Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in November.
Hélène Grimaud will perform Brahms First Piano Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in November. Photo by Matt Hennek

There are plenty of old friends and favorites to be featured, including pianist Jon Kimura Parker performing in Lenny Bernstein’s quirky symphony / concerto The Age of Anxiety in November; violinist Hilary Hahn plays Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in January. The fantastic Jussen brothers return to play Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Two Pianos in March / April; and in May James Ehnes will be heard in Korngold’s sugary Violin Concerto – the piece that helped the VSO win its Grammy. Another welcome returnee is conductor Jun Märkl, who leads the orchestra later that month.

Repertoire highlights include John Adams’s First Violin Concerto in October with Leila Josefowicz. Kaija Saariaho’s Ciel d’Hiver kicks off a December concert featuring Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Daydreams” Symphony. February will be enlivened by Berlioz ‘exotic La mort de Cléopatre and Bartok’s incomparable Concerto for Orchestra.

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Classic showstoppers

Vancouver Opera events: vancouveropera.ca

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra events: vancouversymphony.ca

Vancouver Recital Society events: vanrecital.com


Stravinsky’s rambunctious Le Sacre du printemps, paired, unusually, with Robert Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony, is on the docket in March. And there’s a belated bow to the 150th anniversary of Vaughan Williams in June 2023 with his glorious Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

New works by Vivian Fung and Cassandra Miller will be premiered and there’s a two-parter, Life Emerging I & II, in November and June, by the orchestra’s de facto composer in residence Marcus Goddard, contemplating climate change in Antarctica and the Pacific Northwest. The Antarctica section will be complemented by images from videographer and photographer Paul Nicklen. And if you’re a Bernstein fan, there’s an intriguing film / live music version of West Side Story slated for late April.

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French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau is coming to Vancouver in November.
French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau is coming to Vancouver in November. Photo by Clement Vayssieres

It’s hard to think of anything more exciting than the last couple of months of Vancouver Recital Society concerts, which included programs by pianists Yuja Wang and Evgeny Kissin, the spectacular solo cello debut of Nicolas Altstaedt and an evening with the Jerusalem Quartet.

Even so, the year ahead promises to be exceptional by any standard, launching with Filippo Gorini’s multi-faceted project on JS Bach’s The Art of the Fugue in September, followed by back to back (pun intended) programs of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The incomparable Andràs Schiff plays them on modern piano in October; the stellar French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau does them on harpsichord in November.

Then there’s a program from cellist Stephen Isserlis and pianist Connie Shih in October; Andrea Lucchesini offers a piano recital in April; and the whole Kanneh-Mason family visits in May – just a few events from a whole “Oh, wow!” season.

It’s definitely time to get out your calendars and start planning for a very full, rich season of remarkable classical events.


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