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CRITIC'S PICKS | 11 Classical Music Shows You Should Absolutely See This Week

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Critic’s Picks for the week of April 17–23

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of April 17 to 23.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of April 17 to 23.

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.

Tuesday 18

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series: Fête. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre. Noon. Free.

This interesting program of staged vignettes of art song based on Paul Verlaine’s Fetes galantes is created by soprano and COC Ensemble Studio member Danika Lorèn. The Verlaine text has inspired songs by Claude Debussy, Reynaldo Hahn, and others. The Toronto-based Collectif, an ensemble dedicated to exploring art-song based theatre, is offering a preview of this newly compiled pastiche, Fête, at the noon hour concert. Joining Lorèn are Whitney O’Hearn, Jennifer Krabbe, Tom King, Adam Harris, and Matthew Dalen. Be sure to show up an hour early to ensure a seat. Info here.

Bellissimo Academy for Music and Arts | Dang Thai Son Piano Recital. Flato Markham Theatre, 171 Town Centre Blvd., Markham. 7:30 p.m. $30-$90.

Dang Thai Son, the 1980 Warsaw International Chopin Competition First Prize Winner, makes an infrequent appearance in the GTA. He recently won the 2016 Prix Opus in Montreal. He’s playing works by Schubert, Liszt, and Chopin. Info found here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Best of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Roy Thomson Hall. 8 p.m. $45-$95.25.  Repeats Apr 19 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

A concert of music from Sound of Music, South Pacific, Carousel, Oklahoma!, and The King and I, with vocalists Cilina Kennedy and Ryan Silverman, and the Amabile Choirs of London, Ontario. TSO Pops Conductor Steven Reineke is at the helm. More details here.

Thursday 20

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | What Makes It Great? An American in Paris. Massey Hall. 7:30 p.m. $40.75-&89.75.

Conductor Rob Kapilow tells us what makes Gershwin’s An American in Paris a great work, followed by a complete performance. Note that this performance takes place in Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St. instead of the regular venue of Roy Thomson Hall. See here for more details.

Canadian Opera Company | Louis Riel. Four Seasons Centre. 7:30 p.m. $35-$235. Repeats Apr 23 (2 p.m.).

The spring season of the Canadian Opera Company opens with a revival of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Canada’s 150th.  It stars Russell Braun in the title role. The huge cast also includes James Westman, Simone Osborne, and Allyson McHardy. Johannes Debus conducts. This is a new co-production with the National Arts Centre, directed by Peter Hinton. Full listing and ticket details here.

Saturday 22

Met Opera Live in HD | Eugene Onegin. At select Cineplex locations. 12:55 p.m. $28 Encores on June 3, 5, 7. Check website for times and locations.

The penultimate production of the 2016-17 Met Live in HD season is Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, with Russian mega-star soprano Anna Netrebko as Tatiana, and Swedish baritone Peter Mattei as Onegin. He replaces the originally announced Dmitri Hvorostovsky who is ill, but scheduled to resume performing on Apr 25 – in Toronto! Tenor Alexey Dolgov sings Lensky. Robin Ticciati conducts. Info here.

Tafelmusik | Close Encounters of the German Kind. Temerty Theatre, Telus Centre. 2 p.m. Sold Out. Repeats Apr 28 11 a.m. at Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave.

This is the final concert of the Tafelmusik Close Encounters series. Soprano Ellen McAteer is the soloist, joining John Abberger and Marco Cera, oboe; Dominic Teresi, bassoon; and Charlotte Nediger, harpsichord. On the program are works by Fasch, Steffani, Telemann, Lotti, Zelenka, and J.S. Bach.  Info here and here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Mozart and Mendelssohn. Roy Thomson Hall. 7:30 p.m. $44.75-$118 Repeats Sunday Apr 23 3 p.m.

TSO offers a program of happy music – Rossini’s Overture to L’Italiana in Algeri, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25, K. 503, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 “Italian” conducted by RBC Resident Conductor Earl Lee. The pianist is 2015 Honens Prize Laureate Luca Buratto. Concert details here. You can hear Buratto play a solo recital here.

Opera Atelier | Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Medea. Elgin Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $39-$194. Repeats 23, 25, 26, 28, 29. Check website for times.

Canada’s premiere Baroque opera company Opera Atelier’s spring production is Medea, starring American soprano and frequent OA guest Peggy Kriha Dye in the title role. Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth is Jason. Marshall Pynkoski directors, and the choreographer is Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg. David Fallis conducts the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Listing details here.

Sunday 23

Syrinx Concerts Toronto | Srul Irving Glick: Suites Hebraiques No. 1-6 Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. 3 p.m. $35

Syrinx Concerts present a program of the complete set of 6 Suites Hébraïques by Srul Irving Glick, which will be recorded live for a CD release. Soloists are Susan Hoeppner, flute; James Campbell, clarinet; Wallace Halladay, saxophone; Elissa Lee, violin; Barry Shiffman, violin; Sharon Wei, viola; Cameron Crozman, cello; and Angela Park, piano. Details found here.

Mooredale Concerts | New Orford String Quartet with Adrian Fung, cello. Walter Hall, Edward John Building, University of Toronto. 3:15 p.m. $40.

The New Orford String Quartet (violinists Jonathan Crow and Andrew Wan; violist Eric Nowlin; and cellist Brian Manker) is joined by cellist Adrian Fung to perform Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major, D. 956, Op. Posth. 163. Also on the program is Jacques Hétu’s Scherzo for String Quartet Op. 54 and Brahms’ String Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2. Find more info here.


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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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