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CRITIC'S PICKS | 9 Classical Music Shows You Should Absolutely See This Week

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For the week of May 15–21

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 15 to 21.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 15 to 21.

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 16

Talisker Players | A Mixture of Madness. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. 8 p.m. Pre-concert chat at 7:15 p.m. $45. Repeats May 17.

These two performances take on a special poignancy as it was announced back in March that Talisker Players is bidding farewell effective at the end of its 2016-17 season.  It really is sad as I’ve always liked their focus on words and music. On the program are works by Henry Purcell, Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Plant, Mitch Leigh, Alice Ping Ye Ho, and Peter Maxwell Davies, together with readings from letters, diaries, and memoirs. Soloists are soprano Ilana Zarankin, baritone Bruce Kelly, and actor/reader Andrew Moodie. | See here for listing details.

Musical Stage Company | Onegin. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkley St. 8 p.m. $28-$59. Pre-show chat 45 minutes before curtain. Preview since May 13 and opens on May 17. Runs to June 4. Check website for details.

Onegin, a new Canadian musical, a contemporary adaptation of Pushkin’s poem and Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, written by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille.  | Listing info here.

Wednesday 17

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series: Dawn Always Begins in the Bones. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, 12 p.m. Free.

The mandate of the Canadian Art Song Project is to commission, perform, promote and record Canadian art songs. This concert features a CASP-commissioned work by Ana Sokolović, Dawn Always Begins in the Bones, a song cycle set to Canadian texts. Soloists are soprano Danika Loren, mezzo Emily D’Angelo, tenor Aaron Sheppard and baritone Bruno Roy. Liz Upchurch is the collaborative pianist.  Be sure to show up an hour early to ensure a seat. | Details here.

Canadian Opera Company | Tosca. Four Seasons Centre, 7:30 p.m. $35-$235. Repeats May 18, 19, 20. Check website for start times.

Your last chance to catch Tosca with these final performances of the COC’s 2016-17 season. The three principals are double-cast, with Adrianne Pieczonka/Marcelo Puente/Markus Marquardt singing on May 17 and 19, and Keri Alkema/Kamen Chanev/Craig Colclough on May 18 and 20. Keri-Lynn Wilson conducts. Paul Curran directs this traditional production. | Full details here.

Royal Conservatory of Music | 21C Music Festival. Explore 21C 2017 with Brian Current.  Room 210, Royal Conservatory of Music. 6:30 p.m. $21

In anticipation of this year’s 21C Music Festival, artistic director/composer Brian Current discusses the composers and performers at this year’s festival. Included is the talk, a sneak preview performance by pianist Morgan-Paige Melbourne, and a reception. | Info here.

Mike Angell Presents | Grieg: A Recital. St. Barmabas Anglican Church, 361 Danforth Ave. 7:30 p.m. $25

Pianist Mike Angell gives an all-Grieg concert in honour of Norway’s national holiday. On the program are his lesser-known works for piano and voice, including an adaptation of a violin sonata to alto saxophone, played by Susan Cook. Also appearing are Konrad Harley (organ) and Tom King (piano). | More details found here.

Thursday 18

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series: Les Adieux. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon.

Tenor Charles Sy and pianist Hyejin Kwon bid farewell to the COC Ensemble Studio in a performance of Schubert’s great Die schöne Müllerin. Be sure to show up an hour early for a seat. | Program details here.

Friday 19

Against the Grain Theatre | La Boheme. Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave. 8 p.m. SOLD OUT with limited rush tickets at the door. $35 cash only. Repeats May 21

This is the show that started it all!  AtG’s La Boheme returns for eight shows from May 19 to June 2. I saw this in 2011, and it is definitely worth seeing again. As I understand it, the shows are sold out, but limited rush tickets are available. Do take your chances by lining up an hour ahead. It’s set in modern-day Toronto. Kimy McLaren (Mimi), Owen McCausland (Rodolfo), Andrew Love (Marcello) and Adanya Dunn (Musetta). Joey Ivany directs. Topher Mokrzewski is the music director. http://againstthegraintheatre.com/la-boheme/

Saturday 20

Kindred Spirits Orchestra | Brahms and Sibelius. Flato Markham Theatre, 171 Town Centre Blvd, Markham. 8 p.m. $30-$40. Pre-curtain recital at 7:15 p.m. and pre-concert talk at 7:30 p.m.

Korean Canadian pianist Younggun Kim plays Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Kindred Spirits Orchestra conducted by Kristian Alexander. Also on the program is Sibelius Symphony No. 5.  | More info here.

#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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