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CRITIC'S PICKS | 11 Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week

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For the week of May 29 – June 4

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 29 to June 4. (Photo: @thiswildheart)
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 29 to June 4. (Photo: @thiswildheart)

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.

Monday 29

Associates of Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Schubert “tacitly speaking” and Beethoven. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. 7:30 p.m. $22.

As part of its Small Concerts Series, the ATSO featuring TSO musicians is presenting 16 songs of the 20-song Die schöne Müllerin by Schubert, transcribed for violin and viola. Also on the program is the Beethoven String Trio in E-flat major, Op. 3. Leslie Knowles, violin, Gary Labovitz, viola, and Britton Riley, cello. | Full details found here.

Tuesday 30

Soulpepper Concert Series | Porgy and Bess in Concert. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, 50 Tank House Ln. 1:30 p.m. $25-$60. Runs to June 3. Days and times vary.

Gershwin’s enduring masterpiece Porgy and Bess is presented here in concert, with a stellar cast that includes Jackie Richardson. Libretto by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin. Mike Ross is music director. | Visit here for details.

Musical Stage Company | Onegin. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St. $30-$59. 8 p.m. Repeats to June 4. Check website for details.

This is a contemporary musical theatre adaptation of Pushkin’s poem and Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, with completely different music, written by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille. It originally premiered to rave reviews in Vancouver. Runs to June 4. | Listing found here.

Tapestry Opera | Oksana G. Imperial Oil Theatre, 227 Front St. E. 8 p.m. General Admission: $50; Reserved: $75; VIP: $175.

Your last chance to catch Oksana G, a new opera by Aaron Gervais with libretto by Colleen Murphy. I saw this amazingly powerful work last week, with committed performances by an excellent cast. It is about the story of a young Ukrainian woman lured into the world of sex trafficking. Directed by Tom Diamond and conducted by Jordan de Souza. Kudos to soprano Natalya Gennadi as Oksana. The rest of the cast is equally fine. Particularly impressive are Keith Klassen, Adam Fisher, Krisztina Szabo, Kimberly Barber, Jacqueline Woodley, and Andrea Ludwig.  This is an important and unique show that deserves to be seen and heard. | Click here for more info.

Tafelmusik | Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival. | Delightfully Baroque. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. 8 p.m. Free. Advanced general admission tickets are available online. Reservations recommended.

Tafelmusik is offering free concerts in May and June, in conjunction with its Baroque Summer Institute (May 29-June11), a 2-week intensive training program for advanced students and professionals. Additional concerts include Musical Interlude (June 4); Many Strings Attached (June 5); TBSI Orchestra and Choirs (June 8); and The Grand Finale (June 11). | Check website for details.

Friday 2

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Belshazzar’s Feast. Roy Thomson Hall. 7:30 p.m. $49.75-$154. Repeats June 3 8 p.m.

TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis continues his visit with a speciality of his, Sir William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson is joined by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Huddersfield Choral Society. Also on the program is the Berg Violin Concerto, with TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow as soloist. | Listing here.

Royal Conservatory of Music | New Canadian Global Music Orchestra.  Koerner Hall, 8 p.m. $45-$80.

Given the multicultural nature of Canadian society, our music has a breathtaking diversity. The Royal Conservatory recognises that by bringing together professional musicians from all over the world, all of whom now live in Canada, to create the New Canadian Global Music Orchestra.  | Program details here.

Saturday 3

National Ballet of Canada | A Streetcar Named Desire. Four Seasons Centre. 7:30 p.m. $39-$265. Repeats June 4 2 p.m.

Now that the Canadian Opera Company’s season 2016-17 is history, the Four Seasons Centre has been taken over by the National Ballet of Canada’s spring season, opening with John Neumeier’s 1983 ballet A Streetcar Named Desire, based on Tennessee Williams’ play. Consult websites for details of casting. Performances run through to June 10. | Full cast and ticket details found here.

Sunday 4

Off Centre Music Salon | Tour de 4…ce! Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street W. 3 p.m. $50.

Four singers, four hands in two love-song cycles, Schumann’s Spanische Liebeslieder and Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer. Sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian and Illana Zarankin, tenor Ernesto Ramirez, baritone Russell Braun, actors Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay, as well as pianists Inna Perkis and Boris Zarankin. | Info here.

Toronto Operetta Theatre | Galope Offenbachienne. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. 3 p.m. $29-$49.

Toronto Operetta Theatre presents as its last show of the season Galope Offenbachienne, a tribute to Jacques Offenbach. Michael Rose is the Music Director. Very few program details available on the website.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir | Choral Splendour. Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge St. 4 p.m. $35.

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Noel Edison, conductor) and the Huddersfield Choral Society (Greg Batsleer, Choral Director) join forces in a concert of choral classics, featuring works by Parry, Stainer, Harris, Tavener, Vaughan-Williams, and Holst. | Full listing 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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