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. Of course, 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 concert listings in the Musical Toronto Datebook.
COC | 2016-17 Season Launch at The Four Seasons Centre. 7:30 p.m. RSVP
It’s not a public event as such, unless you are a subscriber to the Canadian Opera Company and/or a member of the media. I am talking about the COC’s 2016-17 Season Launch, to take place on Wednesday Jan. 13 at the Four Seasons Centre. Like any opera fan, I am looking forward to attending this annual event. It used to be a much more modest affair, taking place at the Tannenbaum Centre on Front Street, where the headquarters of the COC is located. But the last couple of years, it has turned into a large scale production, with slick video presentation and even a performance or two, to take place at the opera house. Details of next season is always a guarded secret, but occasionally one does hear a leak here and there. I am not going to give any spoilers here, but I will report in this space as soon as the information becomes available and when I’m near a computer!
TSO | Mozart@260 Festival – Mozart Jupiter Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall. 7:30 p.m. $33.75-$148
Mozart@260 celebrations in January is now an annual event at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Kicking off this year’s offering is Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. Conductor Rob Kapilow speaks about this piece, followed by a performance. It is on Friday Jan. 15 7:30 pm at Roy Thomson Hall. This series is designed for newcomers to classical music who wants to learn more about the pillars of the standard repertoire, or for experienced concert-goers who want a refresher. Details here.
TSO | Mozart@260 Festival – Mozart Symphony 41 at Roy Thomson Hall. 8:00 p.m. $33.75-$148 (Repeats Sun. Jan. 17, at 3:00 p.m. at George Weston Recital Hall)
Following last nights’s Symphony No. 40, is Symphony No. 41 K. 551, the “Jupiter.” The return of Quebec conductor Bernard Labadie after his long battle with T-cell lymphoma is a cause for celebration in itself. His life-threatening illness was reported in Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc. The program opens with the Overture to Don Giovanni, K. 527. Pianist Alexandre Tharaud is the soloist in Piano Concerto No. 9 K. 271. Two marvelous Canadian singers, tenor Frederic Antoun and bass-baritone Philippe Sly are singing one Mozart aria each – Sly sings Leporello’s “Catalogue Aria” and Antoun sings Don Ottavio’s “Dalla sua pace.” Not very much, so hopefully there might be an encore? Performance on Saturday Jan. 16 8 pm at Roy Thomson Hall is repeated the following day at 3 pm, at the George Weston Recital Hall in North York. More info here.
Tafelmusik | Tafelmusik Vocal Competition at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, Jeanne Lamon Hall 1:00 p.m. Free!
An exciting event this week is the first Tafelmusik Vocal Competition to take place on Saturday Jan. 16th at 1 pm. Nine singers – alto, tenor and bass, and curiously no sopranos! – are the finalists chosen from over 65 contestants. They will sing baroque arias accompanied by Christopher Bagan on harpsichord and organ. Finalists are mezzo-sopranos Johanna Bronk and Kim Leeds; countertenor Andrew Rader; tenors Jacques-Olivier Chartier, Zach Finkelstein and Brian Giebler; and baritones Jonathan Woody, Jeremy Ludwig and David Rugger. Members of the jury are Mary Morrison, Catherine Robbin, Jeanne Lamon and Ivars Taurins. Three winners will be chosen plus the Audience Choice. The winners will be soloists in the final concert of the Tafelmusik season, performing Zelenka’s Missa omnium sanctorum. Details here.
Mooredale Concerts | Music and Truffles: London Haydn Quartet and Eric Hoeprich at Walter Hall. 3:15 p.m. $13
Mooredale Concerts is presenting the on Jan. 17 3:15 pm at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto. On the program are works by Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. This formal concert is preceded by Music and Truffles, an interactive program for children ages 5 to 11. For more details, go see here.
For those unfamiliar with this chamber group, here’s a short video clip on Youtube.