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The French Connection: Grace Church on-the-Hill May 13

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Upper Canada Choristers Present the Fauré Requiem with Orchestra and Baritone Bradley Christensen
Concert opens with Mikola Lysenko’s Prayer for Ukraine

The Upper Canada Choristers, Cantemos Latin Ensemble and conductor Laurie Evan Fraser celebrate the waning of the pandemic, with a lush spring concert Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road, Toronto. Much of the music comes from the French romantic tradition. The performance will also stream live online.

Titled The French Connection, the concert will include a chamber orchestra and feature the transcendent Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 by Gabriel Fauré, [1887-1901] along with other works in French, Portuguese and Latin. Baritone Bradley Christensen returns to the choir as featured soloist.

The Choristers’ Evan Fraser adds: “Our performance of Gabriel Fauré’s beloved Requiem will be made more sumptuous by the chamber orchestra. We thank the anonymous donor whose generosity enabled us to hire the musicians, and who inspired matching contributions.”

The concert begins with Prayer for Ukraine [1885], by revered Ukrainian composer Mikola Lysenko [1842-1912] created as a call for support for and solidarity with his people and honouring their rich culture. The choir performs it as a prayer for peace.

Also on the programme are the much-loved Panis Angelicus [Bread of Angels], Belgian composer César Franck’s 1872 hymn with Latin text by Saint Thomas Aquinas, featuring soloist Bradley Christensen and pianist Hye Won [Cecilia] Lee. The choir sings two a cappella French songs from 1883 with words and music by Fauré’s teacher and friend, Camille Saint-Saëns – La Calme des nuits [Stillness of the Nights] and Les Fleurs et les arbres [Flowers and Trees]. The programme opens with Cantique de Jean Racine, composed by Fauré when he was a 19 year-old student of Saint-Saëns.

The Upper Canada Choristers

Cantemos, the choir’s accomplished Latin ensemble, completes the programme with a boisterous French drinking song ca.1530, Ave Maria by Brasilians Heitor Villa-Lobos and Psalm 150 by contemporary composer Ernani Aguiar, the Salve Regina [for tenors and basses] by Venezuelan composer Cesar Alejandro Carrillo. The Villa-Lobos is sung in ‘Brasilian’ Portuguese, the Aguiar and Carrillo works in traditional Latin.

Tickets are $25, obtainable from Eventbrite. Vaccinated children under 16 are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. All tickets must be purchased in advance: no tickets will be sold at the door.

Performers and in-person audience members will be required to show proof of vaccinations and wear masks in the venue. They will also be subject to any other public health regulations in force at the time.

The concert will also stream live via Facebook and YouTube. While the streaming concert is free, donations are welcome to cover expenses.

Further information may be obtained by visiting the choir’s website, by emailing info@uppercanadachoristers.org or calling (416) 256-0510.

Date and time: Friday, May 13, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.
Venue address: Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road, Toronto M4V 1X4

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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