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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

CRITIC'S PICKS | 15 Classical Music Offerings To Consider This Week

By Joseph So on February 27, 2017

For the week of Feb. 27 – Mar. 5

Critic’s Picks for classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of Feb. 27 – Mar. 5.
Critic’s Picks for classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of Feb. 27 – Mar. 5.

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. 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 curated concert listings here: Musical Toronto Datebook.

This is an absolutely jam-packed week when it comes to concerts. On the symphonic front, the big news is the appearance of Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, paired with the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 with Emanuel Ax (Mar. 5). The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations Festival starts March 4. The brilliant Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti appears with the Venice Baroque Orchestra at Koerner Hall (Mar. 3). Sir András Schiff is in town for a Schubert recital (Mar. 5). Baritone Russell Braun and violist Barry Shiffman are guests with the Trio Arkel in a program of Respighi, Debussy, and Honegger (Feb. 28). Canadian cellist  Stéphane Tétreault plays Saint-Saens Cello Concerto with Sinfonia Toronto (Mar. 4). Canadian Children’s Opera Company  presents Brundibár, a Holocaust Opera by Czech composer Hans Krasa, on the occasion of its 75th anniversary.  The Czech chamber group, Prazak Quartet, plays a recital under the auspices of Music Toronto (Mar. 2).Plenty more that I have no room to include, so please consult the full listing.

Tuesday 28

Trio Arkel | Incanto Trinity St. Paul’s Centre. 7:30 p.m. $30 (Pre-concert talk 7:15 p.m.)

The Trio Arkel (violinist Marie Berard, violist Teng Li, cellist Winona Zelenka) is joined by baritone Russell Braun in a program of Impressionist music. He sings in Il Tramonto and Trois Ballades de Francois Villon. Violist Barry Shiffman and violinist Jamie Kruspe perform Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor. Details, here.

Thursday 2

Steinway Piano Gallery | Rachmaninoff: Let Hands Speak II with Adam Sherkin. Bluma Appel Lobby, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. 12 p.m. Free

Canadian pianist/composer continues his noon-hour recital series, Write Off The Keyboard, every first Thursday of the month at the St. Lawrence Centre. On the program are Rachmaninoff Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42, Morceaux de Fantasie: Melodie, Op. 3, No. 3, and Lullaby, Op. 16. Sherkin will also play two of his own compositions. Info found, here.

Opera York | L’Elisir d’amore. Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. 7:30 p.m. $40-$50 / $110 (Gala Package)

For those wanting opera north of the 401, Opera York presents Donizetti’s effervescent L’Elisir d’amore, starring soprano Allison Arends, tenor Tonatiuh Abgrego, and baritone Anthony Cleverton. Geoffrey Butler conducts, and Renee Salewski directs.  The Gala ticket price includes dinner and show. Repeats Mar. 4. Details, here.

Music Toronto | Prazak Quartet Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre. 8 p.m. $55

The Czech chamber ensemble, Prazak Quartet is appearing under the auspices of Music Toronto, in a program of Haydn, Bruckner, and Dvorak. Info, here.

Soundstreams | R. Murray Schafer’s Odditorium. Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Ave., Toronto. 7 p.m. $57.50 – $67.50 (Repeats Mar. 3, 4, 5 – check website for times)

A concert of “musical curiosities” from the Patria cycle of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. This work “combines elements from opera, theatre, dance in a hybrid genre the composer calls ‘theatre of confluence.’” Details, here.

Friday 3

Canadian Children’s Opera Company | Brundibár Harbourfront Centre Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $33 Repeats Mar 4 (mat/eve), 5 (mat)

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Brundibár, a children’s opera by Czech Jewish composer Hans Krása, the CCOC is presenting a new production of this work for all ages, directed by Joel Ivany. When Krása was deported to the concentration camp in Terezin, he smuggled a score into the camp, and it was performed over fifty times by the children of the camp. The CCOC presentation also includes footage of The Lady in No. 6, a documentary on Terezin survivor concert pianist Alice Sommer Herz and her son Raphael, and their experience with Brundibár in the camp. Her story is extremely moving and emotionally uplifting. Listing found here.

Toronto Consort | Triptych: The Musical World of Hieronymus Bosch. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. 8 p.m. $24 – $60. Repeats Mar. 4. Pre-concert talk at 7 p.m.

Belgian vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis makes its Canadian debut with this program centered on the fantastical imagery of painter Hieronymus Bosch, with music by Pierre de la Rue, Clemens non Papa and Jean Mouton. More info found here.

Royal Conservatory/Istituto Italiano di Cultura | Nicola Benedetti and Venice Baroque Orchestra. Koerner Hall. 8 p.m. $40 – $100

Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti appears with the Venice Baroque Orchestra (leader Andrea Marcon) in a program of Vivaldi, Galuppi, Avison, and Geminiani. Details found right here.

TIFF | Chronicles of Anna Magdalena Bach. TIFF Lightbox Cinema 4. 6:30 p.m. $14

As part of TIFF Cinematheque’s Not Reconciled: The Films of Jean Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet which runs from March 3 to April 2 is a showing of Chronicles of Anna Magdalena Bach.  It stars the late virtuoso harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt as Johann Sebastian Bach and Christiane Lang as his second wife Anna Magdalena, whose journal serves as the film’s narration. The main glory of this rather old-style documentary is in the expansive musical selections.

Saturday 4

Toronto Mendelssohn Choir | Sing Joyfully! Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge St. 4 p.m. $35

The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir is joined by the Minster Singers from Yorkminster Park, and organist William Maddox for a hymn sing, conducted by TMC’s Noel Edison, including an audience sing-along. Details here.

Tallis Choir | Requiem for a Renaissance King. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 131 McCaul St. 7:30 p.m. $30

Tallis Choir, a chamber ensemble specializing in music of the Renaissance, performs the rarely heard Requiem of Duarte Lobo, a piece for 8 voices composed for the funeral of Philip II of Portugal. Info here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | New Creations Festival Roy Thomson Hall. 8 p.m. From $39.75

This concert marks the start of the annual TSO New Creations Festival. Peter Oundjian conducts works by Andrew Staniland, Jörg Widmann, Jordan Pal, and a piece written by the Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq, Christine Duncan, and Jean Martin, with orchestration by Christopher Mayo. Full details, here.

Sinfonia Toronto | Cello Passion. Toronto Centre for the Arts. 8 p.m. $42

The brilliant Canadian cellist Stéphane Tétreault plays the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No. 1.  Also on the program is Oskar Morawetz’s Sinfonietta, and Sinfonia in G Minor by Grieg. Nurhan Arman conducts. Listing here.

Sunday 5

Mooredale Concerts | In Mo Yang – New Violin Virtuoso. Walter Hall. 1:15 p.m. (Music and Truffles for audiences 5 -11); 3:15 p.m. (main concert) $20

Young Korean violinist, winner of the 54th Paganini International Violin Competition, makes his Canadian debut. On the program are works by Milstein, Szymanowski, Janacek, Kurtag, and Beethoven. Renana Gutman is the pianist. Info, here.

Royal Conservatory | Invesco Piano Series: Sir András Schiff. Koerner Hall. 3 p.m. $40 – $95 Pre-concert chat. SOLD OUT

The great pianist András Schiff returns to play an all-Schubert program – Piano Sonata No. 16 in A Minor, D.845; Four Impromptus, D. 935; Drei Klavierstücke D.946; and Piano Sonata No. 18 in G Major, D. 894. Advertised as already sold out, but do try for returns.  Info here.

Roy Thomson Hall | Boston Symphony Orchestra. Roy Thomson Hall. 3 p.m. $49.50 – $169.50

For symphonic fans, the big news of the week is the appearance of Latvian maestro Andris Nelsons leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra, playing Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz, plus the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 2 with Emanuel Ax. Not to be missed. Listing info here.

#LUDWIGVAN

Joseph So

Joseph So

Joseph So is Professor Emeritus at Trent University and Associate Editor of Opera Canada.He is also a long-time contributor to La Scena Musicale and Opera (London, UK). His interest in music journalism focuses on voice, opera as well as symphonic and piano repertoires. He appears regularly as a panel member of the Big COC Podcast.He has co-edited a book, Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance, published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group).
Joseph So
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