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CRITIC'S PICKS | 10 Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week

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For the week of June 5–11

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of June 5 to 11.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of June 5 to 11.

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 5

Associates of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra | From Johannes to Iron John. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St.W. 7:30 p.m. $22.

ATSO is presenting From Johannes to Iron John, the last offering of their 2016-17 Small Concert Series, an interesting juxtaposition of Joseph Haydn, Johannes Brahms, and Astor Piazzolla. Added to the mix is Three episodes from Iron John for piano trio by Raymond Luedeka, performed by the Zephyr Piano Trio. Other soloists include Terry Holowach, violin; Edward Hayes, cello; and Ilona Damascus-Beres, piano.  | More info found here.

Dmitri Levkovich | In Recital. Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. 7:30 p.m. $40

Ukrainian-Canadian pianist/composer Dmitri Levkovich has won top prizes at many international competitions, including the Cleveland, Jose Iturbi, and Gina Bachauer. He’s particularly noted for his interpretation of Chopin. Here he’s playing a transcription of the Overture to Wagner’s Tannhauser, arranged by Liszt and Levkovich himself; Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 7, and Schumann’s Kinderszenen. | Full details here.

Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival | Many Strings Attached. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. 8:30 p.m. Free (donations appreciated).

Tafelmusik is presenting free concerts, in conjunction with its Baroque Summer Institute (May 29-June 11), a 2-week intensive training program for advanced students and professionals. It opened last Sunday with Musical Interlude (June 4) and continues this week with Many Strings Attached (June 5); TBSI Orchestra and Choirs (June 8); and The Grand Finale (June 11). | Info here.

Gallery 345 | Une Soirée Musicale: A Benefit Concert for Blumé Haiti. Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave. $25.

To benefit the Blume Ecole music program in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and their friends are giving a concert of works by Charles Koechlin, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Emmanuel Chabrier, and Albert Roussel. Adria McCulloch, soprano; Sarah Jeffrey, oboe; Samuel Banks, bassoon; Jeffrey Beecher, bass; Christina Maria Faye, piano; Scott Harrison is host. | Full concert details found right here.

Tuesday 6

Toronto Concert Orchestra | Symphony in the Gardens. Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace. 7:30 p.m. $25

Every Tuesday evening starting June 6  and running to August 29, the Toronto Concert Orchestra under the baton of Kerry Stratton will perform in Casa Loma, a prime tourist attraction in Toronto. It offers a different program each week, opening this week with The Great Gatsby Gala, featuring the music of the Roaring Twenties. Soloist is soprano Alyssa Di Marco.  | See here for all the details.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. Roy Thomson Hall. 8 p.m. $64.50-$123.75. Repeats June 7 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, led by its Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, presents a tribute to the great Ella Fitzgerald, on the 100th anniversary of her birth. On the program are songs sung by Fitzgerald as well as Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan. Vocalists are Capathia Jenkins, Montego Glover, and Sy Smith. Incidentally, Glover was just in Toronto to star in the musical, Souzatska. | Details here.

Wednesday 7

National Ballet of Canada | A Streetcar Named Desire. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. 7:30 p.m. $39-$265. Repeats on 8, 9, 10 (last).

Kicking off its spring season last week, the National Ballet of Canada’s A Streetcar Named Desire, choreographed by John Neumeier and based on Tennessee Williams’ play, continues its run. | Full cast and ticket details here.

Thursday 8

Show One Productions | The Moscow Virtuosi with Vladimir Spivakov and Hibla Gerzmava. Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m. $55-$135.

Quick on the heels of the successful Trio Magnifico and Red Giselle, Svetlana Dvoretsky of Show One Productions is presenting the Moscow Virtuosi with Vladimir Spivakov and Hibla Gerzmava.  Toronto music lovers last heard Spivakov when he was at Koerner Hall about four years ago in recital with Olga Kern. Russian soprano Hibla Gerzmava was a marvelous Tatiana opposite Canadian baritone Gerald Finley in an unforgettable Eugene Onegin in London some years ago. I most recently heard her terrific Donna Anna at the Met. But that didn’t prepare me for her new jazz and blues album, which I heard a few days ago! On the Melodiya label and well worth hearing. Appearing with them is 14-year old Israeli cellist Danielle Akta. On the program are works by Mozart, Shostakovich, Bruch and others. | Full details found here.

Friday 9

Opera by Request | Der Rosenkavalier.  Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor St. W. 6:30 p.m. (6 p.m. pre-concert chat) $35 ($25 adv) Repeats June 10.

To mark its 10th Anniversary, Opera by Request is presenting Der Rosenkavalier in a semi-staged production with chamber orchestra. Katharine Dain, soprano (The Marschallin); Barbara King, mezzo (Octavian); Uwe Dambruch, bass (Baron Ochs); Danielle Dudycha, soprano (Sophie). Music Moves Kids Choir (Erin Armstrong, dir.); William Shookhoff, music director. This is quite the ambitious undertaking, as Der Rosenkavalier is a complex and long work. Toronto has not seen a live performance of the Strauss opera since 1990 when the COC last staged it with British soprano Josephine Barstow as the Marschallin – that a long 27 years ago, folks! Opera by Request is to be applauded for taking this initiative. | Full listing info found here.

Saturday 10

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | CA-NA-DA! Roy Thomson Hall, 7:30 p.m. Repeats Sunday, June 11 3 p.m. $39.75-$113.

To celebrate Canada 150, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is bringing something different to Roy Thomson Hall.  Billed as a “nostalgic journey through the best of popular music from Canadian stage and screen,” the TSO under guest maestro Lucas Waldin is playing classic tunes such as the Log Driver’s Waltz and the theme from Hockey Night in Canada, plus a symphonic suite from Anne of Green Gables. Heather Bambrick, vocalist. | See here for tickets and details.


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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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