For the week of May 30 to June 5
[Updated, May 31, 5:15 p.m.]
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.
Now we are at the end of May and into June, the season when classical music programming winds down for the most part, with a few exceptions. Lest you feel deprived, it’s comforting to know the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has nearly a full month to go. Top on my list this week are two TSO offerings. One has the brilliant Basque conductor Juanjo Mena returning for Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. I still remember two years ago when Mena conducted the Beethoven 6th from memory. The other is an all-American program, with several very popular pieces by Copland and Gershwin, conducted by American Andrew Grams, a maestro I’ve not heard before. The venerable Amadeus Choir, in its 40th season, is presenting the lovely Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. If you are interested in something a little different, there’s vocalist Tamara Gverdtsiteli, called the “Russian Piaf” by the New York Times, in concert of Yiddish, Russian, Georgian, and Italian songs, with the Moscow Male Jewish Capella.
WESTWOOD CONCERTS | Ashes of Soldiers at the Church of the Holy Trinity. 12:15 p.m. PWYC. (Repeats May 31 at Gallery 345)
Composer and journalist Colin Eatock’s composition, Ashes of Soldiers, will be performed by soprano Kripa Nageshwar, clarinettist Michael Westwood and pianist Chad Heltzel. Also on the program are works by Mahler and Vaughan Williams. This show is repeated on Tuesday, May 31, 7:30 p.m. at Gallery 345, Sorauren Avenue. $30/$20 (adv.) Details, here.
BRAVO NIAGARA! | James Ehnes & Andrew Armstrong at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Niagara-On-The-Lake. 7 p.m. $32.25–106.10
Violinist James Ehnes is currently on his 40th birthday national tour with pianist Andrew Armstrong. This recital takes place a day after their appearance at Koerner Hall, as part of RCM’s 21C New Music Festival. On the program are works by Handel, Beethoven, and a new piece by composer-conductor Bramwell Tovey. I am in the process of interviewing Ehnes for an article, in conjunction with his return to the TSO on June 9-11 to play the Elgar Violin Concerto. Concert details, here.
TAPESTRY OPERA | Rocking Horse Winner at the Berkeley Street Theatre. 8 p.m. $27–112. (Repeats through June 4).
Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner continues this week, with music by Gareth Williams and libretto by Anna Chatterton, based on a short story by D.H. Lawrence. Soloists are Carla Huhtanen, Keith Klassen, Peter McGillivray, and Asitha Tennekoon. Jordan de Souza conducts and Michael Mori directs. Repeats on June 2, 3, and 4. Details, here.
TSO | Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé at Roy Thomson Hall. 8 p.m. $33.75–148 (Repeats June 2)
Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé with Basque conductor Juanjo Mena on the podium, paired with the Nielsen Violin Concerto with soloist Pekka Kuusisto, and Intermezzo from Goyescas by Granados. This program is repeated on June 2. Details, here.
SHOW ONE PRODUCTIONS | Tamara Gverdtsiteli at Roy Thomson Hall. 8 p.m. $55–150
Vocalist Tamara Gverdtsiteli, called the “Russian Piaf” by the New York Times, returns to Toronto in Mamele (The Mother’s Eyes), a concert of Yiddish, Georgian, Russian, French and Italian songs, with the Moscow Male Jewish Cappella. If you are unfamiliar with the charismatic singer, you can get a taste at her Moscow concert available on Youtube. For more details of her RTH concert, see here.
JEWISH MUSIC WEEK | Adam Sherkin at the Music Gallery 12 p.m. Free!
Adam Sherkin plays piano music of Aaron Copland. Free Admission but ticket required. This goes well with the TSO All-American program! Details, here.
ORIANA WOMEN’S CHOIR | East Meets West – Autorickshaw at Grace Church on-the-Hill. 8 p.m. $10–25
Oriana Women’s Choir, under the direction of Mitchell Pady, presents East Meets West – Autorickshaw. It’s a Toronto-based east-west fusion trio featuring vocalist Suba Sankaran, tabla player Ed Hanley, and multi-instrumentalist Dylan Bell. For more information, see here.
TSO | An American in Paris at Roy Thomson Hall. 7:30 p.m. $33.75–148 (Repeats June 5, 3 p.m.)
An All-American program of works by Aaron Copland and George Gershwin, with a short but scintillating piece by John Adams thrown into the mix. American conductor Andrew Grams leads the TS forces, and Orion Weiss is the pianist. Repeats on June 5, 3 p.m. Details, here.
AMADEUS CHOIR | Serenade To Music at George’s United Church 7 p.m. $25–40
Amadeus Choir celebrates its 40th year by bringing its season to a close with Serenade To Music, one of Vaughan Williams’ most inspired works. I haven’t managed to find the names of the fifteen soloists, but I imagine they’ll be regular members of the Amadeus Choir. Also on the program are works by Schubert, Britten, Howells, Gibbons and others, all gems of the choral repertoire. Here’s one of my favourite versions of Serenade to Music, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, available on Youtube. Listing details, here.