For the week of June 19–25
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.
Canadian Flute Association | Summer in the City Flute Festival Grand Finale. St. Thomas Anglican Church, 383 Huron St. 8 p.m. $25 Festival runs June 18 to 20.
The first CFA Summer in the City Flute Festival brings eleven flutists from Brazil, Canada, Peru, and the US to Toronto. The Grand Finale features all participants, plus guests Dr Christine Beard (USA), Vincenzo Volpe (USA), Sergio Pallottelli (Italy), and Christopher Lee, joined by pianist Dr Christopher Burton. | More info here
Toronto Concert Orchestra | Symphony in the Gardens. Casa Loma, 7:30 p.m. $25
The Toronto Concert Orchestra under the baton of Kerry Stratton performs in Casa Loma every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. until Aug. 29. This week it’s Mozart Sublime, featuring his Clarinet Concerto, plus Salieri’s Sinfonia Veneziana. Anthony Thompson, clarinet; Kerry Stratton, conductor. | More info here
National Ballet of Canada | Swan Lake. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Repeats June 22, 23, 24 (7:30 p.m.), and 24, 25 (2 p.m.). $39—$265.
The National Ballet of Canada’s perennial crowd-pleaser, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, is back for a second week. This is the James Kudelka choreographed version, which replaced the old Erik Bruhn version in 1999. I attended opening night, with Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté in the leads, partners in art and partners in life. Not only was it a full house, I was struck by the number of young people in the audience. The ballet demographic is certainly very different from the opera. Not to be missed. Wednesday’s performance will be Svetlana Lunkina and Evan McKie. But there are four different casts in the run, so be sure to check the website for details. | More info here
Toronto Symphony Orchestra | The Decades Project: Carmina Burana. 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall. $33.75—$154. Repeats June 22, 23 (7:30 p.m.), 24.
The TSO Decades Project concludes with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. This piece, composed in 1933, became immensely popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s, given its counter-culture flavour. Musically it’s a real challenge for the voices because of the high tessitura. This revival has three superb soloists – soprano Aline Kutan, countertenor Daniel Taylor, and baritone Phillip Addis. They are joined by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Children’s Chorus, under the baton of Peter Oundjian. Also on the program is the Szymanowski Violin Concerto No. 2, with Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti. | More info here
Cavalia | Odysseo The White Big Top, 5399 Rose Cherry Place (Next to the Hershey Centre), Mississauga. Repeats June 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30. Check website for times.
Odysseo by Cavalia is a stage spectacle that combines equestrian arts, stage arts and high tech theatrical effects. It features 65 horses and 48 riders, acrobats, aerialists and musicians, in a show suitable for all ages. The venue is the “White Big Top” that is 125 ft high, with a seating capacity of 2042. It’s billed as the largest touring show in the world; certainly not the kind of show that one encounters every day | More info here
Opera 5 | Suffragette: an evening of operas by Dame Ethel Smyth. Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave. 7:30 p.m. $35 Repeats 23, 24, 25 (6 p.m.)
Billed as “opera that makes sense,” Opera 5 is one of several thriving “Indie” opera companies in Toronto. Its mission is to explore both well-known and emerging works in opera, and to showcase emerging talent. Suffragette is a double bill of operas by Dame Ethel Smyth – Fête Galante and the feminist opera, The Boatswain’s Mate, accompanied by Opera 5 Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Evan Mitchell. Jessica Derventzis is the stage director. Soloists include soprano Alexandra Smither, tenor Asitha Tennekoon, and mezzo Eugenia Dermentzis. | More info here
Luminato Festival | Bearing. Joey and Toby Opera Theatre, Canadian Opera Company, 227 Front St. E. 8 p.m. From $39 Repeats June 23—24 (2 and 8 p.m.)
A world premiere dance-opera created by co-directors Michael Greyeyes (Plains Cree) and Yvette Nolan (Algonquin) and librettist Spy Dénommé-Welch (Anishnaabe), Bearing features the National Youth Orchestra, a choir, and mezzo Marion Newman (Kwagiuth) in music by Bach, Vivier, and a commission by Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan. | More info here
Opera By Request | Handel: Rodelinda. College Street United Church, 452 College St. 7:30 p.m. $20.
Fresh from the successful 10th anniversary Der Rosenkavalier, Opera By Request is putting on Handel’s Rodelinda, with piano accompaniment by OBR’s artistic director William Shookhoff. Soloists are soprano Vania Chan, mezzos Meagan Larios and Sarah Christina Steinert, and tenor Sean Catheroy.
Li Delun Music Foundation | Centennial Celebration Concert. George Weston Recital Hall, 5040 Yonge St. 3 p.m. $30—$50; VIP $88
Li Delun (1917-2001) was a Chinese conductor who dedicated his life to promoting classical music in China. To celebrate his 100th birthday, the Li Delun Foundation is presenting a gala concert, with TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian, violinist Kerson Leong, and conductors Zushan Bian and Dongxiao Xu conducting the Toronto Festival Orchestra. Leong is the soloist in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Also on the program is the North American premiere of Anlun Huang’s Symphony in C. | More info here
Rezonance Baroque Ensemble | More Harpsichord. Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave. 3 p.m. (Pre-concert lecture 2:30 p.m.) $25 (at the door); $20 (adv. online)
Rezonance Baroque Ensemble plays early music on original instruments, with a focus on discovering under-appreciated and unusual works. On the program are keyboard sonatas by J.C. Bach, J.S. Bach, Rameau and others. David Podgorski, harpsichord, Rezan Onen-Lapointe, violin, and Rebecca Morton, cello.