Review: The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Carly Rae Jepsen – Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 7:30pm


Photo Credit:  Carly Rae Jepsen, Lucas Waldin, TSO (top of show) @Jag Gundu.jpg

The TSO continues to celebrate Canadian music and its many genres with Carly Rae Jepsen.  Her much-anticipated performance last night was part of the TSO’s Canada 150 Signature Project. Jepsen—a singer, songwriter, and actress—shared the stage with long-time collaborator Tavish Crowe (Musical Director and guitarist) and the TSO, under the musical direction of Canadian conductor Lucas Waldin. To the delight of Jepsen’s fans and TSO buffs alike, the evening included some of the artist’s greatest hits including excerpts from her critically acclaimed album E•MO•TION.

“Canada Mosaic celebrates our musical diversity and Canadian artists. Its lineup features some amazing collaborations, including one with singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen. Make the most of Canada 150 and let yourself be captivated by Canadian music!” —The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

Carly Rae Jepsen was born in Mission, BC, and was exposed to music at a very young age. Jepsen grew up listening to artists like Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison, but also had a real passion for musicals. Jepsen later attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, BC, where she immersed herself in all things music and dance. In 2007, Jepsen took third place in Season 5 of Canadian Idol, making herself known to national audiences from coast to coast to coast. A few years later, in 2012, Jepsen released her album Kiss, which became an international success. The single “Call Me Maybe” reached #1 in 18 countries, and she was the first Canadian to receive Billboard’s Rising Star Award. In 2015, Jepsen’s Kiss won Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year at the JUNO Awards. She also made her Broadway début in 2014 in the title role of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, wowing audiences and critics alike. Her latest albums, E•MO•TION and E•MO•TION Side B, are doing much the same, receiving critical acclaim from all over the globe—including E•MO•TION being nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and her hit single from the album, “I Really Like You”, being Certified Platinum.

Last night’s performance from Jepsen included songs, “Run Away With Me”, “Gimme Love”, “Let’s Get Lost”, “Emotion” and “Your Type”. These songs were backed up alongside the robust stylings of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  The evening was casual but also had the makings of a Carly Rae Jepsen prom night.  The Roy Thomson Hall space was festooned with bright and giddy energy.  The excitement was palatable and the audience was up for a good time.

The audience was varied and the poshness of the evening was tossed out by the time Jepsen sang “Boy Trouble” and the makings of a saxophone player punctuated the air. Two gentlemen close to the front of the stage jumped up and started dancing. That gave permission to the rest of the audience to join suit.  At one point everyone was up, dancing like they haven’t danced since grade school, singing like they were in their own private showers and feeling themselves a la Beyonce.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was sure to stitch in Debussy’s “Clair De Lune” and Tshaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture” to give an education to the young audience. Maybe it’s not about coming to see their idol on one evening but reminding the audience that TSO has other offerings throughout the year worth immersing themselves into.  Bravo for the gentle nudge!

The evening ended with “Call Me Maybe” and “I Really Like You”. By that time, the crowd was unhinged and full of joy as was Jepsen.  Not only was Carly Rae full of ‘emotion’ but she could have kept it up all night and the audience would have fully accepted it.

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