Sicklist: How do you cancel Mahler’s Resurrection?

Sicklist: How do you cancel Mahler’s Resurrection?


norman lebrecht

April 15, 2019

Mesage from the Toronto Symphony Orchestra:

Juanjo Mena sincerely regrets that due to illness he must withdraw from this week’s performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

It’s a highlight of the orchestral year. Mena must have had a watertight doctor’s note to pull out of it.

His replacement on Wednesday will be the Bach specialist Matthew Halls.

Quite a difference.




  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Good grief, there must be a few available conductors who could step in and do the “Resurrection”. It’s happened before. There are probably even a few talented people right in Toronto who could handle it.

    • Jeremy Wardle says:

      The headline is bit misleading.
      It’s not M2 which is being cancelled – more just a change of conductor.

  • B.K. says:

    I bought tickets to Wednesday’s concert at the deeply discounted price of $20 CAD. I think they must have had a hard time selling out the three shows (and that before the change of conductor was announced) in order to offer a price like that.

    Call me hypocritical for taking the deal, but having previously found myself in the situation of having paid full price for TSO tickets only to see a huge discount offered closer to the concert date, I find the practice quite annoying.

    That said, I’m happy to give the “Bach specialist” (which makes me wonder if N.L. would use such a reductive description for other “specialists” like the amazingly versatile Angela Hewitt?) an enthusiastic welcome and fair hearing.

    • Karl says:

      Sometimes you have to wait in line for 30 minutes or more to get discounted tickets. And if they are gone the concert might be sold out and you may have to look for someone selling a spare ticket. It can be a lot of work to get discounted tickets.

  • Tim Gill says:

    Good that Matthew is working more in the US after the insane PC stuff he fell victim to :

    • Edgar says:

      Agreed. Totalitarian “political correctness” running amok in Eugene, OR. Their reputation, not Matthew’s, is in tatters and permanently damaged. RIP Oregon Bach Festival (or, closer to reality, R – with no IP around as far as one can see).

  • msc says:

    Of course I don’t know who was available, but I wonder if Raffi Armenian was around — he has an excellent history with Mahler. But he also might be too old and or unhealthy.

  • Luis says:

    Juanjo is a true professional and a very good conductor. Cancels due to illness: bad luck and again it will be. That’s life.

  • Patrick Fischer says:

    Do you know how many times Juanjo Mena has canceled in his life? I think it,s the first time.

    • Nick Moutrie says:

      ==the Bach specialist

      Don’t you believe it. Matt has done loads of Britten and Schoenberg. A lot of Brahms.

      It’s much too easy to slip people into these categories

  • Rob says:

    Mahler would be appalled at the standard of conducting, today.

  • Kypros Markou says:

    Halls is not just a “Bach specialist”
    This just a little excerpt of the description of his work. Apparently in his debut with Toronto he conducted Beethoven 9 “Increasingly in demand by North American symphony orchestras, Halls has performed with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; Dallas, Pittsburgh, Houston, Seattle, Indianapolis, and Utah Symphonies; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and National Arts Centre Orchestra in repertoire from Bach, Handel and Mozart to Mendelssohn, Messiaen, Rachmaninoff, MacMillan, and Tippett. His debut with the Toronto Symphony, in which he led Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony “captured much of the energy and excitement that its first audience must have felt at its premiere nearly 200 years ago” (Toronto Star). Having served as Artistic Director of the Oregon Bach Festival for five years, Halls is equally at home conducting baroque and contemporary repertoire.

  • Amy says:

    Hmm, for a “Bach specialist” – Matthew Halls is getting great reviews for conducting Beethoven, Strauss, Schubert, Handel…That, combined with him being an actual resident of Toronto makes it a win-win.

  • Conflicta Vinterest says:

    “The cheers were rapturous for both the work and the performers, and satisfyingly for me to see, the conductor. Matthew Halls scored a triumph, but Mahler was the real winner as we got to hear him finally at his truest word.”