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CRITIC'S PICKS | Ten Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week (Feb. 5 – 11)

By Joseph So on February 5, 2018

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of February 5 – 11.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of February 5 – 11.

Ludwig van 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.

Tuesday 6

Canadian Opera Company | Rigoletto. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre. $88-$350. Repeats Feb. 9, 11 (2 p.m.) Runs to Feb. 23.

The revival of the Christopher Alden production of Rigoletto continues this week, with a very strong cast. American tenor Joshua Guerrero, who stepped in to replace an indisposed Stephen Costello mid-performance on Jan. 27, makes his scheduled debut on Feb. 11. Anna Christy is Gilda, and Roland Wood is Rigoletto. Stephen Lord conducts. | Listing

Music Toronto | Alexei Lubimov. 8 p.m. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. $55-$50/$10 (full time st)

Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov returns to Toronto to play a program of Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky and Debussy. | Listing

Wednesday 7

Canadian Opera Company | The Abduction from the Seraglio. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre. $50-$350. Repeats Feb. 10. Runs to Feb. 24 (4:30 p.m.)

It was a long thirty-eight years ago (Dec. 1980) that the COC last staged Abduction, at the then O’Keefe Centre. I can recall two other opportunities for Toronto opera fans to see this opera – a single performance given by the Met on tour to Toronto around 1984; and it was staged by Opera Atelier in the fall of 2013. This Wajdi Mouawad production bears little resemblance to the previous versions, except for the music. It is a radical re-imagining of the original story – a full review after opening night. It stars Jane Archibald (Konstanze), Claire de Sévigné (Blondchen), Mauro Peter (Belmonte), Owen McCausland (Pedrillo), Goran Jurić (Osmin), plus Raphael Weinstock in the speaking role of Pasha Selim. Johannes Debus conducts.  | Listing

Thursday 8

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series: Sighs, Tears, Desire. 12 p.m. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Free. Be sure to show up an hour early for a seat.

COC Ensemble Studio singers (sopranos Lauren Eberwein and Samantha Pickett; mezzo Megan Quick) are joined by pianists Rachael Kerr and Stéphane Mayer in a performance of love songs by Liszt, Zemlinsky, and Duparc. | Listing

Tafelmusik | A Recorder Romp. 8 p.m. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. $19-$107. Repeats Feb. 9, 10 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 11 at 3:30 p.m.

Alison Melville, recorder soloist and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in a program of works by van Eyck, Vivaldi, and Telemann. Pre-concert chat an hour before the performance.| Listing

Tapestry Opera | TAP EX: Forbidden. 8 p.m. Ernest Balmer Studio, Historic Distillery District. $25 and up.  Sold Out (Feb. 8, 9) Repeats Feb. 10 (4 & 8 p.m.); Feb. 11 (4 p.m.)

From Tapestry’s website: “Forbidden explores the how acts and behaviours that are forbidden relate…Iranian-Canadian composer Afarin Mansouri and spoken word artist and playwright Donna-Michelle St. Bernard plays with the taboo in a mix of Persian culture, hip-hop, and food.” Neema Bickersteth, soprano: Shirin Eskandani, mezzo, Alexander Hajek, baritone; Save Sky, Farsi rapper/spoken-word artist: Michael Shannon, conductor. | Listing

Toronto Masque Theatre | The Peasant Cantata and All the Diamonds. 8 p.m. Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 106 Trinity St. $20-$50

A performance of Bach’s Peasant Cantata, followed by an intimate cabaret, All the Diamonds, by soprano Patricia O’Callaghan. Other soloists are mezzo Marion Newman, tenor Larry Beckwith and baritone Giles Tomkins. | Listing

Gallery 345 | Art of the Clarinet. 8 p.m. Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave. $25/$10(st) Cash only.

Dominic Desautels, clarinet, and Ben Smith, piano, play a program of works by Widor, Hindemith, Berg, and Brahms. | Details

Saturday 10

Electric Bond Opera Ensemble | Another Sunrise and Farewell Auschwitz. 8 p.m. Beth Tzedec Congregation, 1700 Bathurst St. $10-$40. Repeats Feb. 11, 2 p.m.

A Canadian premiere of two one-act operas by composer Jake Heggie, whose Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick have been widely staged.  Based on the true story and poetry of Holocaust survivor and Polish dissident Krystyna Zywulska, it features soprano Sara Schabas, mezzo Georgia Burashko, and baritone Sean Watson, joined by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Shannon.  | Details

Sunday 11

Esprit Orchestra | Plug In. 8 p.m. Koerner Hall. &;15 p.m. Pre-concert chat. $20-$60/$40-$55(sr)/$22-$32(under 30/$20-$25(st)

Esprit Orchestra (conductor Alex Pauk, guest conductor Eugene Astapov, and choreographer/dancer Jennifer Nichols) perform a program of contemporary music by Jose Evangelista, Eugene Astapov, Matthew Ricketts, Unsuk Chin, and Tan Dun. | Listing

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

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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
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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