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CRITIC'S PICKS | 13 Classical Music Offerings To Consider This Week

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For the week of February 13 – 19

Critic’s Picks for classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of Feb. 13 – 19. (Photo: Ben Wolf)
Critic’s Picks for classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of Feb. 13 – 19. (Photo: Ben Wolf)

Musical Toronto’s weekly Critic’s Picks are a fully curated list of some of the best concerts happening now through the end of the week. This is not to say we are the provocateurs of taste, but simply seek to provide a good weekly summary. For a look at the full breadth of what’s available in and around Toronto, check out our curated concert listings here: Musical Toronto Datebook.

Here’s another very full week of classical music in Toronto. If you’ve missed the Canadian Opera Company’s winter productions of The Magic Flute (Feb. 16, 18, 19) and Götterdämmerung (Feb. 14, 17), there’s still time! The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine is giving a performance of Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 “Pathéthique.”  Including in the price of admission is a pre-concert preview of songs by Ukrainian composer Lysenko, sung by mezzo Krisztina Szabo and baritone Russell Braun, under the auspices of Pavlo Hunka’s Ukrainian Art Song Project. Hunka will be back to give a recital on March 12 (details to come). More vocal recitals — of love songs by the wonderful tenor Andrew Haji (Feb. 14), and flowers by the fabulous Russian soprano Elena Tsallagova (Feb. 16).  The Christina and Louis Quilico Awards is a vocal competition for the COC Ensemble Studio members (Feb. 13). It honours the late, great Canadian baritone Louis Quilico.  Canadian piano wunderkind — now all grown up — Jan Lisiecki plays Schumann Piano Concerto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Feb. 15). There are plenty more!  Be sure to consult the calendar.

 Monday 13

Canadian Opera Company | The 7th Christina and Louis Quilico Awards. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre. 5:30 p.m. Free

Honouring the great Canadian baritone Louis Quilico, this competition is designed to showcase COC Ensemble Studio members. Two arias — one chosen by the singer and one by the panel of judges, with the awards presented at the end of the evening. Be sure to show up an hour ahead to secure a spot. | FULL LISTING

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. Roy Thomson Hall. 8 p.m. (7:15 p.m. pre-concert song recital) $33.75 – $107.

The TSO presents the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine under the baton of Volodymyr Sirenko. On the program are Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique,” and Violin Concerto by Yevhen Stankovych, with violinist Dima Tkachenko. There’s a brief, pre-concert recital of songs by Lysenko, sung by mezzo Krisztina Szabo and baritone Russell Braun, with pianist Albert Krywolt. This preview is part of the Ukrainian Art Song Project headed by bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka. | FULL LISTING

University of Toronto Faculty of Music | Cecilia String Quartet. Walter Hall. 7:30 p.m. $40

The Cecilia String Quartet presents a chamber program of Mozart and Schubert. Also on the program is Amoretti for Tenor and String Quartet, Op. 43 by Edmund Rubbra, with tenor Lawrence Wiliford. | FULL LISTING

Tuesday 14

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series. Andrew Haji, tenor. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. 12 p.m. Free.

Canadian tenor Andrew Haji, former COC Ensemble member and currently a very fine Tamino in The Magic Flute, is giving a recital of love songs. COC Ensemble Studio head Liz Upchurch is at the piano. Be sure to show up an hour early to get in. | FULL LISTING

Canadian Opera Company | Götterdämmerung. Four Seasons Centre. 6 p.m. $35 – $235. (Repeats Feb. 17)

The final installment of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Götterdämmerung, continues, with a great cast headed by American soprano Christine Goerke, Austrian tenor Andreas Schager, and Estonian bass Ain Anger. COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts his first Ring Cycle. | FULL LISTING

Tafelmusik | A Bach Tapestry. George Weston Recital Hall. 8 p.m. $38 and up.

The final performance of Tafelmusik’s Bach evening, featuring excerpts from the Lutheran Mass in G, Italian Concerto, and other works, under the direction of Ivars Taurins. | FULL LISTING

Wednesday 15

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Jan Lisiecki Plays Schumann. Roy Thomson Hall. 8 p.m. (Repeats Feb. 16)

The brilliant Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki returns to the TSO to play the Schumann Piano Concerto. The program also features Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, and Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss. The Feb. 15 concert features a new piece, Survivance, by John Rea, a TSO co-commission. Czech conductor Jakub Hrùša leads the TSO forces. | FULL LISTING

Thursday 16

Canadian Opera Company | The Magic Flute. Four Seasons Centre. 7:30 p.m. $35 – $235. (Repeats Feb. 18 7:30 p.m., Feb. 19 2 p.m.)

The lovely Diana Paulus production of the Mozart masterpiece continues with two excellent casts, with Quebec maestro Bernard Labadie on the podium. Consult the COC website for casting details. | FULL LISTING

University of Toronto Faculty of Music | Musicians from Marlboro. Walter Hall. 7:30 p.m. $40

Musicians from Marlboro is embarking on a six-city tour, and it begins in Toronto, in a program of Haydn, Adès, Fauré, and Brahms. | FULL LISTING

Music Toronto Discovery Series | Eybler Quartet. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre. $55.

Founded in 2004, the Eybler Quartet – violinists Julia Wedman and Aisslinn Nosky, violist Patrick Jordan, and cellist Margaret Gay, plays a program of Joseph Haydn, Johann Baptist Vanhal, Franz Asplmayr, and Beethoven. | FULL LISTING

Art of Time Ensemble | Northern Songs 1. Harbourfront Centre Theatre. 8 p.m. $25 – $64 (Northern Songs 1 repeats Feb. 18; Northern Songs 2 Feb. 17)

In Art of Time’s first festival, it is presenting works of Canadian classical and jazz composers, as part of the celebration of Canada 150. Northern Songs 1 features music of Paul Anka, Robert Charlebois, Burton Cummings, Rick Danko/Bob Dylan, Josh Finlayson, Raymond Levesque, Lynn Miles, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Carole Pope, Neil Young, Gordeon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Gilles Vigneault, Buffy St. Marie and others. Northern Songs 2 features contemporary classical composers, the works of R. Murray Schafer, Christos Hatzis, Oscar Peterson, Nicole Lizee and others. | FULL LISTING

Saturday 18

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Disney-Pixar Ratatouille in Concert. Roy Thomson Hall. 11:30 a.m. $29.50 – $75. (Repeats at 4 p.m.)

This family-friendly show combines a screening of Ratatouille with the TSO forces providing symphonic sound, under the baton of Sarah Hicks.  The 111-minute film will have a 20-minute intermission, just in case nature calls for the little ones! | FULL LISTING

Sunday 19

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra Winter Concert. George Weston Recital Hall. 3 p.m. $16 – $28.

Earl Lee, RBC Resident Conductor, leads the TSYO in two musical settings of Romeo and Juliet, by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. Katharine Hao, a 2015/17 TSYO Concerto Competition winner, is the soloist in Reinecke’s Flute Concerto. | FULL LISTING

For more events, visit our DATEBOOK CALENDAR.

#MUSICALTORONTO

Joseph So

Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
Joseph So

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