Critic’s Picks for the Week of March 28 to April 3.
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.
As expected, after two relatively sparse weeks of concerts, the Toronto music scene is incredibly busy this week. On most evenings, there are multiple concerts to choose from, particularly on the weekend. If only I could clone myself…
COC | Vocal Series: Four Tenors at Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Noon. Free!
On Tuesday, March 29 noon at the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre, four of our most gifted young tenors, all members of the COC Ensemble Studio, join forces for, what else, Four Tenors! Andrew Haji, Jean-Philippe Fortier-Lazure, Charles Sy and Aaron Sheppard sing Verdi, Tosti, Donizetti, Hahn, Lehar, plus a trio of Neapolitan Songs. COC Ensemble pianists Jennifer Szeto and Hyejin Kwon are at the keyboard. I heard a rumour that the four tenors will pay tribute to the original Three Tenors’ Rome Concert from 1990 that started it all. Perhaps in the form of an encore? Not everyone can take off in the middle of the day, but do it if you can, and show up an hour ahead to ensure a seat or standing room. Full details found here.
TSO | On Broadway at Roy Thomson Hall. 8:00 p.m. $29.50-83.75 (Repeats March 30)
It’s Broadway Night at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with Pops Maestro Steven Reineke leading the TS forces in a hit parade of tunes from The Phantom of the Opera, Little Shop of Horrors, Frozen, and Les Miserables. Betsy Wolfe and Darren Criss offer the vocals. Three shows at the Roy Thomson Hall on March 29 8 p.m., repeated the following day at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. More info here.
RCM | Augustin Dumay & Louis Lortie at Koerner Hall. 8:00 p.m. $40-85
One of Canada’s premiere pianists, Louis Lortie, joins French violinist Augustin Dumay in recital at Koerner Hall on Wednesday, March 30 8 p.m. On the program are violin sonatas by Beethoven, Strauss, and Cesar Franck. Details found here.
U of T | Thursdays at Noon: Emily D’Angelo, mezzo-soprano; Sonya Sim, pianist at Walter Hall. 12:10 p.m. Free!
The high-flying young Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo, fresh from her triumph at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Finals, is giving a recital as the winner of the Jim and Charlotte Norcop Prize in Song. She’s slated to make her Italian opera debut as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Spoleto Festival in June. D’Angelo will be joined by pianist Sonya Sim, winner of the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Prize in Accompanying. Program details not available. Performance on Thursday, March 31st 12:10 p.m. at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building of the University of Toronto. Info here.
TSO | Victoria Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall. 2:00 p.m. $29.50-83.75
On Thursday, March 31st 2 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall, the Victoria Symphony is making its debut in Toronto, under the baton of its Music Director Tania Miller, in her farewell season with the Orchestra. Miller conducted in TO last July, in the opening concert of the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear plays the Grieg Piano Concerto. Also on the program is Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Stravinsky’s Firebird. Details here.
ESPRIT ORCHESTRA | La création du monde at Koerner Hall. 8:00 p.m. $45-55
The Esprit Orchestra, under the direction of its Founding Music Director Alex Pauk, returns to Koerner Hall on Thursday March 31st 8 p.m. (pre-concert talk at 7:15) in La création du monde, a program of works by Darius Milhaud, Hussein Janmohamed, Douglas Schmidt, plus a world premiere, Devotions, composed by Pauk. Choral forces supplied by the Elmer Iseler Singers under Lydia Adams. Details found here.
TAFELMUSIK | Goldberg Variations at Koerner Hall. 8:00 p.m. $20-83 (Repeats through April 5, show times and locations vary)
As if March 31st isn’t busy enough, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra is presenting Bach’s Goldberg Variations, featuring the brilliant young French harpsichordist Benjamin Alard in his Tafelmusik debut. You can hear him play Bach’s complete works for harpsichord on historical instruments here. Also on the program is Bach’s Trio Sonata from Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079, with Grégoire Jeay (flute), Jeanne Lamon (violin) and Christina Mahler (cello). A total of five performances (March 31, April 1, 2, 3 at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, and Apr. 5 at George Weston Recital Hall). For more info, see here.
U of T | The Art of the Prima Donna at Walter Hall. 12:10 p.m. Free!
If you like bel canto arias sung by fresh, young voices, go to The Art of the Prima Donna on April 1st 5 p.m. at Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto. It’s a staged and costumed performance of arias and duets from the operas of Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, interspersed with anecdotes about the great 19th century prima donnas. Details here.
VOICEBOX OPERA IN CONCERT | Isis and Osiris at Jane Mallett Theatre. 8:00 p.m. $52-73 (Repeats April 3)
VoiceBox: Opera in Concert is presenting the world premiere of Isis and Osiris, a new opera by a Canadian creative team of composer Peter-Anthony Togni and librettist Sharon Singer. Robert Cooper conducts the orchestra and chorus of OIC, plus soprano Lucia Cesaroni (Isis), tenor Michael Barret replacing the announced Ernesto Ramirez (Osiris), mezzo Julie Nesrallah, and baritone Michael Nyby. The story of Isis and Osiris can be found here. April 1st 8 p.m. and April 3rd 2:30 p.m. at the Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre. For more performance information, see here.
RCM | Cameron Carpenter at Koerner Hall. 8:00 p.m. $40-85
Organ music is arguably the last bastion of conservatism when it comes to classical music, and nobody can say Cameron Carpenter fits the stereotype of the staid organist! Go to Youtube for a taste. Grammy Award winner and a Sony Classical recording artist, Carpenter, is coming to strut his stuff at Koerner Hall on Friday, April 1st 8 p.m. He tours with his own instrument, the International Touring Organ. Program details not available on the RCM website, so I’m prepared to be surprised! Full details found here.
TSO | Alligator Pie at Roy Thomson Hall. 2:00 p.m. $20.50-32.75 (Repeats at 4:00 p.m.)
On Saturday, April 2nd 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting a musical re-imagining of Alligator Pie, a poetry collection for children by Toronto poet Dennis Lee. Abigail Richardson is the composer. You’ll also hear three chestnuts – Debussy’s Clair de lune, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain. RBC Resident Conductor Earl Lee is at the helm. Carla Huhtanen is the soprano soloist. See here, for all the details.
TSO | The National Arts Centre Orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall. 8:00 p.m. $33.75 -148
The National Arts Centre Orchestra comes to Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday, April 2nd 8 p.m. with their newly appointed Music Director, British conductor Alexander Shelley. You can read more about Maestro Shelley here. The uniquely talented pianist Gabriela Montero plays Mozart’s very popular Piano Concerto No. 20, K. 466. Also on the program is Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, plus Ringelspiel by Canadian composer Ana Sokolovic. Full info found, here.
MSO | Masterworks: feat. Erica Goodman, harp at The Living Arts Centre. 8:00 p.m. $30-65
Venturing west of the GTA on the QEW is the beautiful and acoustically friendly Hammerson Hall of the Living Arts Centre, where the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra is presenting Spring, a program of Copland, Debussy, and Dvorak, under the baton of Denis Mastromonaco. The MSO is made up of “community musicians and professional section leaders.” Erica Goodman is the harpist. April 2nd 8 p.m. Details here.
AMADEUS CHOIR | Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana: The Spring Emerges at George Weston Recital Hall. 4:00 p.m. $20-45
The Amadeus Choir under Lydia Adams is presenting Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana: The Spring Emerges at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. It’s not specified on their website, but I assume the performance takes place at the George Weston Recital Hall. It is with piano and percussion. Soloists are soprano Leslie Fagan, tenor Christopher Mayell, and baritone Peter McGillivray. Shawn Grenke and Rachael Kerr are the pianists. Full details found, here.
[Correction: VoiceBox: Opera in Concert was incorrectly stated to be taking place at Walter Hall.]