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Toronto classical concert and opera picks for October 14 to 20, 2013

By John Terauds on October 14, 2013

Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung open the Women's Musical Club of Toronto Season on Thursday afternoon.
Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung open the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto Season on Thursday afternoon.

The week is quiet. The weekend not so: I counted 27 opera and art music performances in the Greater Toronto Area that I could recommend. This makes my one- or two-a-day rule for critic’s picks more arbitrary than usual.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, Editor-Emeritus of Ludwig van Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at the University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

OPERA

Both Canadian Opera Company productions are worth catching. For those drawn to old-fashioned arias, there’s La Bohème on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (you’ll find my review here, production details here). For people with a penchant for psychological tension and the feel of real grit between the fingers and teeth, there’s Peter Grimes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. (my review here, production details here).

THURSDAY

  • Pianists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung for the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto at Walter Hall, 1:30 p.m.

This Italian and Canadian husband-and-wife team (who live on neutral ground, in the United States) open the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto’s 116th season with a feast of music for one-piano-four-hands that ranges from transcriptions of Mendelssohn (the Hebrides Overture) and Stravinsky (Petrouchka) to pianistic treats by Scriabin, Rachmaninov and Piazzolla. The two pianists were a treat when they performed this programme last April at the Cultural Centre in Aurora. Concert details here.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY

  • Toronto Consort at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre, 8 p.m.

This merrye bande of period-performance connoisseurs led by David Fallis goes Swedish in their season-opening programme. The concert mixes vocal and instrumental as well as art and folk sensibilities, and highlights a strange Swedish hybrid instrument called the nyckelharpa, which is bowed as well as played with keys. The bonus element is Jeanne Lamon Hall, the church building’s newly renovated concert space, which has a dramatically more vibrant acoustic. Details here.

SATURDAY

  • Singsation Saturday at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (1585 Yonge St), 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This is about participation, not passive listening. For $10 you get to sing through all sorts of choral music with professionals and amateurs in a friendly, informal setting organized by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. This week’s guest conductor is Stephanie Martin, who will be showcasing her latest choral compositions. You’ll find all the details here.

  • The Tallis Choir at St Patrick’s Church (141 McCaul St), 7:30 p.m.

The excellent Tallis Choir, led by Peter Mahon, presents a great programme of Italian Renaissance masterpieces from the papal court. You’ll find the details here.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

happiness

  • The Picture of Happiness at Jazz in the Kitchen, 52 Pine Cresc, at 7:30 p.m. Sat. & 2 p.m. Sun.

Toronto pianist Patti Loach’s home kitchen is a metaphor for her life: open, inviting, eclectic, and dominated by a Steinway semi-concert grand piano. She and musical theatre actor-singer Brad Hampton have toured their excellent show The Picture of Happiness, and are now back at home — offering two performances in her actual Beach-neighbourhood home. This is a guaranteed treat (I reviewed it here). Details here.

SUNDAY

There are four equally fine possibilities, each with a compelling — and very different — claim on our attentions:

  • Off-Centre Music Salon Schubertiad at the Glenn Gould Studio, 2 p.m.

Spouses, co-artistic directors and pianists Boris Zarankin and Inna Perkis launch the 19th season of their eclectic musical offering with a an all-Schubert programme featuring violinist Jacques Israelievitch, soprano Jennifer Taverner and tenor Jeffrey Hill. Details here.

  • Hannaford Street Silver Band 30th anniversary concert at the Jane Mallett Theatre, 3 p.m.

Brass bands may be the height of uncool in Toronto circa 2013, but there’s a lot to like about a group of excellent musicians who have offered a showcase for wind music for 30 years. Their season opener celebrates not only the anniversary but some fine Canadian works, including the premiere of a new piece by Vivian Fung. James Gourlay conducts. Details here.

  • Elmer Iseler Singers at All Saints Kingsway Anglican Church (2850 Bloor St W.)

St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, gets a concert woven around her and birthday-mate Benjamin Britten. Organist Shawn Grenke accompanies the rich programme that ranges from Schubert to Toronto composer Eleanor Daley. Lydia Adams conducts. Details here.

  • Il giardino d’amore for Mooredale Concerts at Walter Hall, 3:15 p.m.

This young European period-performance ensemble has a lot going for it as they make their Canadian début with a baroque-era programme focused on music from Italy. I’ll have more on this later in the week. Details here.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, Editor-Emeritus of Ludwig van Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at the University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
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