As the 2018/2019 season winds down, it ratchets up: music presenters cannily leave some of the best for last — and this year is no exception.Both the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Opera have opted for a spring festival strategy with loose unifying themes — Music and Power at the VSO, Fables and Fairytales at the Opera.The idea of concentrated specials seems to be gaining popularity, a value-added extra in the final weeks of the musical year. Other major presenters opt for less concentrated strategies, but you can be sure they will produce some of their trump cards in the weeks ahead.
Jim Petersen /
Music and PowerVancouver Symphony OrchestraWhen: April 5-13Where: Orpheum TheatreTickets and info:vancouversymphony.caIn 2017, BBC4 presenter Suzy Klein delivered a fascinatingly chilling three-part television series called Tunes for Tyrants, a disquisition on how composers unwittingly (or, in some instances, willingly) wrote the soundtrack for 20th century dictators. Our own Otto Tausk conducted many of the orchestral excerpts, and he revisits the idea as the theme of the VSO’s 2019 Spring Festival.Music includes the local premiere of Stravinsky’s recently re-discovered Funeral Song, a suite from Shostakovich’s banned masterpiece Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk, and a disquieting but apt pairing of Wagner and Mendelssohn (the latter’s exquisite Midsummer Night’s Dream music, banned by Wagner’s Nazi admirers during the Third Reich). And, for a hopefully upbeat conclusion exhorting us to embrace the brotherhood of man, Beethoven’s Ninth.
Festival Fairytales and FablesVancouver Opera FaustWhen: April 27 & May 2, 7:30 p.m., May 5 at 2 p.m.Where: Queen Elizabeth TheatreCenerentolaWhen: April 27, May 12 at 2 p.m., May 2 at 12:30 p.m., May 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, & 11 at 7:30 p.m.Where: Vancouver PlayhouseTickets and info:vancouveropera.caVancouver Opera’s festival is another must see event of the spring, with a Fairytales and Fables theme. Rossini’s magical opera La Cenerentola (Cinderella) is to be heard in the intimate Vancouver Playhouse, a setting almost exactly the same size as the theatre that hosted the 1817 premiere of Rossini’s opera.There are so many musical and dramatic advantages to hearing the work in a jewel box venue: this aspect of VO’s festival strategy is a clear winner. Rachel Peake (whose The Marriage of Figaro was part of VO’s 2017 festival) directs; Leslie Dala conducts.On another scale entirely, Gounod’s Faust occupies the big stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. There certainly have been many who gripe that Gounod’s operatic treatment of the Faust legend lacks gravitas but, frankly, who cares? Faust is a charmer, and those who adore French repertoire welcome the returns of both Marianne Fiset as Marguerite and conductor Jonathan Darlington. Expectations are high.Tetzlaff-Tetzlaff-Vogt TrioVancouver Recital SocietyWhen: April 28 at 3 p.m.Where: Vancouver PlayhouseTickets and info:vanrecital.comA lot of top violinists have come through town already this season, but I can’t wait for the performance by the TTV trio. Vancouver has known and loved violinist Christian Tezlaff for years, for his technical skill, of course, but also for the depths of his musical insight. (Decades ago, he was the sort of kid who played Webern as an encore to his VRS debut.)Put him together with cellist sister Tanja and pianist Lars Vogt, and you know you’re in for music-making at an exalted level. The trio’s spring program comprises favourite trios by Schumann, Dvořák, and Brahms.Related CLICK HERE to report a typo. Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org