Jan 29, 2018

Tafelmusik Turns 40! Celebratory 2018/19 Season Unveiled

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Celebratory 2018/19 Season Unveiled

Bach St Matthew Passion directed by Masaaki Suzuki

New Vivaldi concertos recording featuring Elisa Citterio
Tafelmusik on Tour: France, United States, Western Canada, Ontario

The Harlequin Salon: A new creation by Marco Cera

Guest artist debuts: Enrico Onofri, Roberta Invernizzi, David Blackadder

“No wonder Tafelmusik seem especially inspired, as they are unafraid
to allow themselves to grow in all directions.”
—Barcza Blog

Toronto, January 29, 2018 … Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir released balloons and uncorked the bubbly as details of its 40th anniversary season were announced this evening at a launch party at The Great Hall on Queen Street West. Under the leadership of Music Director Elisa Citterio, the 2018/19 season celebrates Tafelmusik’s four decades as a global leader in period performance and sets the stage for an inspiring future. Tafelmusik musicians Meghan Moore, soprano, and Patrick Jordan, viola, hosted the evening, which included remarks from Citterio, Choir Director Ivars Taurins, Board Chair Helen Polatajko, and Managing Director William Norris, and featured performances by the orchestra and choir. Subscriptions for the 2018/19 season will be available starting mid-February.

North America’s most active and innovative period orchestra will pull out all the stops to mark its 40th birthday in style, performing a wide range of concerts in seven venues across Toronto. Highlights of Tafelmusik’s 2018/19 season—the first curated by Elisa Citterio— include such baroque masterpieces as St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach; the release of Tafelmusik’s first recording with Elisa Citterio; national and international tours; The Harlequin Salon, a new multimedia creation by Tafelmusik oboist Marco Cera; the return of Alison Mackay’s stunning Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House; the launch of a new cycle of Mozart concertos; and debuts by internationally acclaimed guest artists, including Masaaki Suzuki, conductor; David Blackadder, trumpet; and two of Citterio’s frequent collaborators, Roberta Invernizzi, soprano, and Enrico Onofri, violin.

"It fills my heart with emotion and pride to announce Tafelmusik’s 40th anniversary season—the first bearing my signature,” said Elisa Citterio, Music Director. “Tafelmusik cherishes a legacy founded on many years of research, study, and tireless work, complemented by a freshness, joy, and passion that is renewed each time the proverbial curtain rises. The musical selection we offer during our anniversary season is born of shared ideas, dreams, and visionary projects that grow from Tafelmusik’s embrace. Internationally renowned guest artists will grace our stage, some for the first time, nourishing and stimulating our spirits with emotion. We musicians will pour ourselves into each and every note; we hope you will enjoy these concerts, each one unique and irreplaceable."  

Guest Artist Debuts

Sound the Trumpet!
David Blackadder, trumpet soloist

“David Blackadder's baroque trumpet role was deliriously, vertiginously virtuosic.” —Classical Source
Renowned British trumpeter David Blackadder makes his Tafelmusik debut in Sound the Trumpet!
(Nov 21 to 25, 2018), a festive musical journey through baroque Europe. Elisa Citterio directs joyous Christmas concertos by Locatelli and Corrette, as well as J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 2, featuring Blackadder as soloist.

The Tempestuous Violin
Enrico Onofri, guest director and violin

“Flexibility, precision, and imagination. Onofri … gave us much more than an interpretation, he played a musical game, always experimenting, always amazing.” —Diario de Sevilla

“Is there anything more powerful than music?” asks Enrico Onofri. The charismatic baroque violinist, former concertmaster of Il Giardino Armonico and mentor to Elisa Citterio, makes his Tafelmusik debut with The Tempestuous Violin (Feb 7 to 10; Feb 12, 2019). This program explores music’s role in inciting human passions and unleashing the power of Mother Nature, and features Onofri and Citterio as soloists in works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Castello, Gabrieli, and Scheidt, among others. 

Bach St Matthew Passion
Masaaki Suzuki, guest director

“Suzuki has demonstrated an uncanny intuition and understanding of Bach’s genius.” —Classics Today
In a standout highlight of this anniversary season, Masaaki Suzuki, multi award-winning conductor and founder of the Bach Collegium Japan, makes his Tafelmusik debut conducting one of the masterpieces of Western art music, Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Mar 21 to 24, 2019). This monumental work for vocal soloists, two choirs, and two orchestras contains some of Bach’s most exquisitely crafted music. Guest soloistsJames Gilchrist, tenor, in the marquis role of Evangelist; Stephan Macleod, bass-baritone, as Christus; Hannah Morrison, soprano; Terry Wey, countertenor; and Tyler Duncan, baritone, join Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for these extraordinary performances heralding Easter.

Multimedia Concerts

The Harlequin Salon  (World Premiere)
Created, scripted, and illustrated by Marco Cera
Roberta Invernizzi, soprano

“A thrillingly fierce shower of coloratura. There can be few finer advocates for Vivaldi’s operatic music.”—Bachtrack (on Roberta Invernizzi)
Tafelmusik oboist and visual artist Marco Cera draws on his considerable talents to bring the dazzling creativity of an 18th century Roman soirée to life in The Harlequin Salon (Jan 16 to 20, 2019). This tour- de-force program is created, scripted, and illustrated by Cera, who inhabits the role of caricaturist, painter, and consummate party host, Pier Leone Ghezzi. Cera’s sketches will appear in real time on a screen behind the musicians. 

Joining Elisa Citterio and a chamber ensemble drawn from Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is one of the world’s finest singers of Italian baroque music, soprano Roberta Invernizzi, who assumes the mantle of the famous prima donna Faustina Bordoni. Together, they take audiences through arias and sinfonias by Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Porpora, and others.

Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House
Created by Alison Mackay

Tafelmusik’s groundbreaking multimedia fusion of European and Arabic music, created by Alison Mackay, returns to Koerner Hall under the direction of Elisa Citterio (Feb 21 to 24, 2019). Inspired by the opulent world of 18th-century European and Syrian coffee houses, Tales of Two Cities is performed entirely from memory by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra with narration by actor Alon Nashman. In addition to music by European baroque composers such as Telemann, Handel, and Bach, audiences will hear classical Arabic music performed by Trio ArabicaMaryem Tollar, voice and qanun; Demetri Petsalakis, oud; and Naghmeh Farahmand, percussion. Tales of Two Cities was filmed before a live audience at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and released on DVD and CD in 2017.

Vivaldi, Mozart, and Haydn
Mozart 40
In a fitting start to the 40th anniversary season, Music Director Elisa Citterio leads Tafelmusik in Mozart’s bold and evocative 40th Symphony at Koerner Hall (Sept 20 to 23, 2018). Tafelmusik’s first-ever performances of Mozart’s vivacious Violin Concerto in D Major feature Citterio as violin soloist, and launch a new cycle of Mozart concertos.

Vivaldi con amore
Following her electric performances of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons last year, Citterio assumes the solo role in the composer’s love-themed concertos “L'amoroso” and “L'amato bene” for Vivaldi con amore (Oct 10 to 14; Oct 16, 2018). Tafelmusik musicians are also featured as soloists in the inventive concertos that complete the program, which will be featured on a major new recording—Citterio’s first with the orchestra—to be launched at these concerts.  

The Hunt: Mozart & Haydn
A celebratory season at Tafelmusik wouldn’t be complete without an appearance by Music Director Emerita Jeanne Lamon, who returns to direct The Hunt: Mozart & Haydn(Apr 25 to 28; Apr 30, 2019). Tafelmusik’s Scott Wevers takes the solo part in the jubilant Horn Concerto no. 4, another in the new cycle of Mozart concertos being launched next season. Four horns will also take the stage for Mozart’s dramatic Symphony no. 25, and Haydn’s spirited “Hunt” Symphony.

Tafelmusik Chamber Choir

Under the direction of Ivars Taurins since its formation in 1981, the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir has been described as “the best period-performance choir anywhere in the world” (The Globe and Mail). The first choral concert of 2018/19 is Steffani: Drama & Devotion (Nov 8 to 11, 2018). Star Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó is featured in stunning arias from Steffani’s operas, and the jewel in the crown is the composer’s Stabat Mater, “a revelation … simply shocking in its musical breadth” (The Globe and Mail).

Tafelmusik’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah (Dec 18 to 21, 2018) have become a cherished annual Toronto holiday tradition. Performed by the orchestra on period instruments and sung by a choir of 24 professional singers specializing in 17th- and 18th-century music, Tafelmusik’s Messiah “radiates brilliance and energy, along with an emotional depth that fully enhances the work's expression” (AllMusic). Guest soloists include mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó, tenor Charles Daniels, and baritone Drew Santini. An audience of more than 2000 participates in Tafelmusik’s Sing-AlongMessiah, directed by Mr. Handel himself dressed in full period garb, and performed for the first time at Roy Thomson Hall (Dec 22, 2018).  

The 2018/19 season concludes with Bach’s joyous and exuberant Magnificat (May 9 to 12, 2019), paired with Tafelmusik’s debut performance of Zelenka’s stunning Missa Divi Xaverii. Guest soloists Jana Miller, soprano, and Colin Ainsworth, tenor, join Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir and Ivars Taurins, who presides over this very special end to a celebratory season.

National and International Tours

Tafelmusik will spend more than six weeks on the road during the 2018/19 season, touring two of Alison Mackay’s creative multimedia concerts, and joining Opera Atelier for performances in the United States and Versailles. Closer to home, the orchestra will visit several Ontario cities in Spring 2019.

From January 24 to February 3, 2019, J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation travels to Vancouver, Victoria, Mill Bay, Nanaimo, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton.Directed by Elisa Citterio, narrated by Blair Williams, and performed by Tafelmusik musicians entirely from memory, this multimedia creation combines text, music, and dramatic projected video and images to explore the world of the artisans—papermakers, violin carvers, string spinners, and performers—who helped J.S. Bach realize his musical genius. The Circle of Creation premiered in Toronto in 2015, and has been seen in China, South Korea, and Australia, as well as Eastern Canada, and the United States.

From February 27 to March 11, 2019, Tafelmusik takes its “powerful” (The Globe and MailTales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House to seven US cities. The tour culminates in Los Angeles with a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall, part of the LA Philharmonic’s season. Tales of Two Cities will also be seen in Ottawa for a performance at the National Arts Centre on March 26, 2019.

Tafelmusik is thrilled to continue its collaboration with Opera Atelier, and joinsthe company for its 2018/19 season at the Elgin Theatre: a Charpentier/Rameau double bill, Actéon& Pygmalion (Oct 25 to Nov 3, 2018), and Mozart Idomeneo (Apr 4 to 13, 2019), directed by David Fallis. Following its Toronto dates, Actéon & Pygmalion will tour to the Royal Opera House in Versailles (Nov 30 to Dec 2, 2018). The production will also be seen at a prestigious US venue, which will be announced in the coming months.


2018/19 will be a landmark year for the Tafelmusik Media label, with the release of Vivaldi con amore, the orchestra’s first recording with Music Director Elisa Citterio. This all-Vivaldi recording will showcase Citterio and members of the orchestra in concertos for violin, oboe, bassoon, and lute, underlining the level of virtuosity across the ensemble. Vivaldi con amore will be released in October 2018.

Haus Musik and Close Encounters

Haus Musik returns for a third season of immersive, mixed-genre concerts in 2018/19. Guest artists from Toronto’s indie theatre and opera scene are invited to direct these intimate, theatrical evenings where baroque music mingles with DJ beats. Tafelmusik musicians perform on period instruments in venues that are transformed by the guest directors’ creative interventions, which might include anything from projected images to sachets of lavender to hundreds of white balloons. Haus Musik events are slated for October 4, 2018, April 11, 2019, and May 23, 2019, and venues will be announced throughout the season.

Tafelmusik’s daytime chamber music series, Close Encounters, returns for a third season in a new location, Holy Trinity Church—the orchestra’s first home venue four decades ago. These intimate, informal hour-long performances are presented with introductions from the musicians and explore new aspects of Tafelmusik’s repertoire. The 40th anniversary season line-up includes Quintessential Boccherini (Wed Oct 3 and Sat Oct 6, 2018); Strangers in Strange Lands (Wed Apr 10 and Sun Apr 14, 2019); and Fantasticus (Wed May 22 and Sat May 25, 2019). Wednesday concerts start at 12pm and take place at Holy Trinity Church; weekend concerts start at 2pm and take place at Temerty Theatre, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning, The Royal Conservatory.

Artist Training

Tafelmusik continues to develop the next generation of local, national, and international musicians. Now in its 18th year, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute (TBSI) offers advanced students and professional musicians the opportunity to learn about period performance practice. The ancillary Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival includes several free community concerts in June. The seventh annual Tafelmusik Winter Institute (TWI) is an intensive week-long training program taking place in January. TWI focuses on specialized orchestral study for select period players, culminating in a free public concert.

The Baroque Mentors training program allows emerging artists to learn directly from Tafelmusik musicians and distinguished guest artists through university residencies and guest artist masterclasses. Many of the students reached through Baroque Mentors are being introduced to period performance for the first time, while experienced period players or singers are able to access training at the highest level. Additionally, as the Baroque Orchestra-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, Tafelmusik partners with the Faculty to expand the school’s period-performance program and to offer post-graduate studies.


Committed to building an international centre of musical excellence while making baroque and classical music fully relevant in a 21st-century context, Tafelmusik continues to develop and invest in ongoing music education and outreach programs for music lovers of all ages. These include free public pre-concert chats for Tafelmusik audience members, free Education Concerts,Toronto Public Library panel discussions, and other events to engage with the community. On tour, Tafelmusik animates smaller communities with live performances, education and artist training, and provides study guides and other tools to open doors for continued exploration long after the applause has ended.

About Tafelmusik

Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir is one of the world’s leading period ensembles and Canada’s most-toured orchestra. Tafelmusik engages Toronto audiences with an annual season of more than 80 concerts in diverse venues across the city, as well as national and international audiences through an extensive schedule of tours and critically acclaimed recordings. The Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, under the direction of Ivars Taurins, was formed in 1981 to complement the Orchestra. Tafelmusik also seeks to transport audiences to the baroque and classical periods through adventurous cross-cultural collaborations, on stage with Toronto's Opera Atelier, and underground at its Haus Musik series. The orchestra’s musicians share their knowledge and experience through artist training initiatives such as the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer and Winter Institutes. Tafelmusik's award-winning recordings on the SONY, CBC Records, Analekta, and Tafelmusik Media labels have garnered nine JUNO Awards and numerous other recording prizes. Jeanne Lamon continues her association with Tafelmusik as Music Director Emerita.

2017/18 Season Partners

Tafelmusik wishes to thank the following for their generous support: BMO Financial Group, TD Bank Group, RBC Foundation, Hal Jackman Foundation, KPMG, Great West Life, London Life, Canada Life, McLean Foundation, Blakes LLP, iA Securities, Stikeman Elliott LLP, Margaret and John Catto, Margaret and Jim Fleck, Tom Bogart and Kathy Tamaki, an Anonymous Benefactor, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Classical 96.3 FM, and NOW Magazine. Tafelmusik is a proud partner of the Bloor St Culture Corridor.

Media contact:
Luisa Trisi, Media Relations Manager, (416) 456-0499 | ltrisi@sympatico.ca
tafelmusik.org  | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1X7
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High‐resolution photos of Elisa Citterio and Tafelmusik are available for download here.