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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Toronto classical concert and opera picks for October 28 to November 3, 2013

By John Terauds on October 28, 2013

Tenor Nicholas Phan joins the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in three concerts this week (Henry Dombey photo).
Tenor Nicholas Phan joins the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in three concerts this week (Henry Dombey photo).

Grand opera fans get two last chances to catch the Canadian Opera Company’s excellent La Bohème this week (Tue. & Wed.), as well as four performances of Opera Atelier’s riotously colourful Abduction from the Seraglio (details here, my review here).

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at 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

As for the rest of this busy week, I’ve highlighted a couple of less-obvious choices despite some high-profile options. Notably on Sunday, pianist Andras Schiff gives a solo recital at Koerner Hall, but it’s sold out already.

MONDAY

  • Brentano String Quartet at Walter Hall, University of Toronto, 7 p.m.

It’s an all-Beethoven programme from the excellent Brentano String Quartet tonight: The Op. 95 “Serioso” and the great Op. 131. It should be a brilliant evening. Details here.

TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY

  • Talisker Players and guests at Jeanne Lamon Hall (Trinity-St Paul’s Church), 8 p.m.

The Talisker plays have been a bit uneven in their performances lately, but they pull together such compelling programmes that it’s hard to resist taking another chance — especially given the brilliant new acoustics in their concert venue.

Massey College master John Fraser provides the spoken-word presence (including something by David Sedaris) in a rich programme of song that ranges from Clément Janequin to Leonard Bernstein and Toronto’s own art songsmith Andrew Ager. The singers are soprano Erin Bardua, mezzo Vicki St Pierre and baritone Joel Allison.

You’ll find the details here.

WEDNESDAY

  • Members of the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, noon. Free.

Chamber music fans should run, not walk to this one: Violinists Aya Miyagawa and Ashley Vandiver, violist Joshua Greenlaw, cellist Alastair Eng and oboist Mark Rogers present two great 20th century chamber works by Benjamin Britten: the Phantasy Quartet and the String Quartet No. 2. Details here.

THURSDAY

  • Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble for Music Toronto at the Jane Mallett Theatre, 8 p.m.

Violinist Joshua Bell is losing eight members of his famous London orchestra as they tour a programme that includes the expected — Felix Mendelssohn’s beloved Op. 20 Octet for Strings — as well as the less well-known music for eight by Dmitri Shostakovich and 19th century composer Joachim Raff. Details here.

THURSDAY TO SATURDAY

  • Toronto Symphony Orchestra & guests present Carmina Burana at Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m. Thu & Sat., 7:30 p.m. Fri.

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Children’s Chorus join a brilliant lineup of soloists, including baritone James Westman for a programme that music director Peter Oundjian should conduct superbly. It includes Carl Orff’s Nazi-era warhorse Carmina Burana, as well as some much more interesting British music: Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor (Nicholas Phan, the young Britten tenor of our day), Horn (TSO principal Neil Deland) and Strings, as well as the Dances from Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès. Details here.

FRIDAY

  • Mezzo Michele Bogdanowicz and tenor Ernesto Ramirez at Gallery 345

Toronto collaborative pianist Rachel Andrist accompanies these two impressive singers in an art song programme unlike anything you’re likely to hear this season, including Polish songs by Francis Poulenc and Frédéric Chopin (perhaps not heard here since the formidable Ewa Podles’s recital many moons ago) and a premiere of new Polish songs by appealing Toronto composer Norbert Palej. Details here.

SATURDAY

  • Vesuvius Ensemble and the Sicilian Jazz Project at Koerner Hall, 8 p.m.

Royal Conservatory of Music concert programmer Mervon Mehta has created an interesting season-long series of Italian-themed concerts that includes this pairing of art, folk and jazz. The jazz element includes Michael and Roberto Occhipinti as well as vocalist Dominic Mancuso. The folk and art side features Toronto’s relatively new Vesuvius Ensemble, a fantastic trio specializing in the music of southern Italy. You can read a review of a great concert they gave in Toronto last season here. Details here.

SUNDAY

  • Ton Beau String Quartet with clarinettist Peter Stoll at Gallery 345, 3 p.m.

This three-year-old quartet is starting to go places and, this week with the help of Peter Stoll, they visit the rich harmonic world of Johannes Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet. Also on the programme is the appealing Sanctus for string quartet by young Toronto composer Riho Maimets. Details here.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at 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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