The Toronto Latvian Concert Association




The Latvian National Opera [Home / Latvian National Opera] presented a new production of Canadian composer Janis Kalnins’ opera Hamlet, which opened in January of 2022 in Riga, Latvia.

Composed in 1934/35, the opera, based on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, was first performed in 1936, receiving international critical acclaim. The Times (London), as well as music critics from both Italy and Sweden, predicted it would see additional productions throughout Europe. WWII brought an end to that hope.

There was a restaging of the opera in Riga in 1943, but after the composer fled the Soviet occupation of Latvia, taking refuge in Canada, future productions ceased. A one-off Latvian staging and recording of Hamlet in 2004 to mark the composer’s centenary rekindled interest in this magnificent work.

Janis Kalnins composed Hamlet while he was principal conductor at the Latvian National Opera, using a Latvian translation of Shakespeare’s play to create his libretto. Largely faithful to the original, Kalnins’ opera, sung in Latvian, focuses on the core story of palace intrigue, betrayal, murder and revenge.

The 2022 LNO production is an ambitious undertaking targeting a global audience.

With the support of the Latvian National Opera Fund of Canada, Gunta Dreifelds, former Canadian Opera Company surtitles producer and President of Canada’s SURTITLES TM has been recruited to prepare English, German and French surtitles for the LNO.

This production of Hamlet is a long overdue tribute to a composer who, after giving up a blossoming career in Europe, spent more than half his life quietly teaching, composing and working in Canada.

The Latvian National Opera Fund of Canada hosted the Canadian premiere of the video of the LNO production on Saturday, September 17, 2022 at the Latvian Canadian Cultural Centre, 4 Credit Union Drive, Toronto.

A Canadian opera rarity: Latvian National Opera presents Kalniņš’ Hamlet » Opera Canada



Latvian-born and Calgary raised, young Anna Stube has already begun to develop a promising career as a violinist and chamber musician. Currently studying in Toronto, she is definitely one to watch!

Check out this beautiful video produced by the Taylor Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. You will not be disappointed!


We are pleased to announce the recent launch of our new Canadian Music Centre Centrediscs recording “Canadian Amber / Ambre canadien”, featuring works by Latvian-Canadian composers Imant Raminsh, Talivaldis Kenins and Janis Kalnins.

The Toronto Latvian Concert Association launched its new CD recording – “Canadian Amber / Ambre canadien” – on July 5, 2019 with a concert at Koerner Hall as part of the XV Latvian Festival of Song and Dance in Canada. This recording brings to light the recently recovered and restored Violin Concerto in F# Minor (1945) by Janis Kalnins The CD will also includes a CBC archival recording of the world premiere of the Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Strings (1990) by Talivaldis Kenins and the Aria for Violin and Piano (1987) by Imant Raminsh.  This recording is one of several projects we produced in celebration of the Latvian centenary in 2018-2019 and highlights the remarkable contribution of Latvian émigré artists to the music and culture of Canada.

Guest performers on this recording are members of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, renown Latvian-Canadian pianist Arthur Ozolins (who is also the soloist in the Kenins CBC archival recording), Latvian violinist Laura Zariņa and Latvian conductor Māris Sirmais.  The CD was produced by David Jaeger and recorded by Dennis Patterson and is presented on the Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs label.

“Canadian Amber / Ambre canadien” is now available for purchase through the Canadian Music Centre, at Amazon, and through other online and retail sites.

Here is a clip of the performance that inspired the “Canadian Amber” recording project.