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Toronto


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Principal city of English‐speaking Canada and capital of Ontario. Rich musical life dates from 1820s. Toronto Mus. Soc. founded 1836, Phil. Soc. 1845, neither surviving for long. Mendelssohn Choir, founded 1894 by A. S. Voigt, rapidly became famous throughout N. Amer. and from 1902 sang with leading Amer. orchs. visiting Canada. First toured USA 1905 and sings regularly with Toronto SO since 1935. Toronto SO founded 1906 by Frank Welsman, performing mainstream repertory with distinguished soloists. Disbanded 1914 but in 1926 New SO (founded 1922 with Luigi von Kunits as cond.) acquired its charter and assets and became Toronto SO. Conds. were Kunits (1926–31); Ernest MacMillan (1931–56, under whom it became a major orch.); Walter Susskind (1956–65); Seiji Ozawa (1965–9); Karel Ančerl (1969–73); Andrew Davis (1975–88); Gunther Herbig (1989–94); Jukka‐Pekka Saraste (1994–2001); Peter Oundjian (from 2003). Performed in Massey Hall (capacity 2,765) 1923–82, then moved to Roy Thomson Hall (capacity 2,812). Gives 160 concerts a year. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has studios in Toronto and had its own orch. (CBCSO) 1952–64 which made recordings with Stravinsky, among others. Opera was first perf. in Toronto 1825 by co. from Rochester, NY. Various local opera cos. gave seasons until Royal Cons. Opera Sch. was founded 1946, its first prod. being The Bartered Bride (1947). From this grew the Canadian Opera Co. (1958) which perf. about six operas a season at O'Keefe Centre or the smaller Elgin Th. until the opening in 2006 (with a Ring cycle) of a new opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Has given f.ps. of several Canadian operas, f. Canadian p. of Berg's Lulu and prods. of Wagner, Strauss, and Britten. Gen. dirs. have incl. Hermann Geiger‐Torel (1958–76); Lotfi Mansouri (1976–89); Bryan Dickie (1989–93); Richard Bradshaw (from 1994, gen. dir. from 1998). Surtitles were introduced for the first time anywhere by Mansouri, 1983.

Subjects: Theatre — Music.


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