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CRITIC'S PICKS | Ten Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week (Apr. 30 – May 6)

By Joseph So on April 30, 2018

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of April 30 – May 6.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of April 30 – May 6.

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 1

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series: Love in the Time of War. 12 p.m. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre. Free. Be sure to arrive an hour early to ensure a seat.

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky was to sing a concert of Bel Canto gems, but given her heavy schedule of nine performances of Anna Bolena, her concert has been replaced by one given by the rising young Canadian soprano Tracy Cantin, entitled “Love in the Time of War” with pianist Robert Kortgaard, in songs by Debussy, Strauss, Schumann, Duparc, Poulenc, Korngold, Gershwin, Frank Bridge and John Kander. Ms. Cantin sang an impressive dress rehearsal of Anna Bolena last week.  She is a singer to watch. | Listing

Canadian Opera Company | The Nightingale and Other Short Fables. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W. $50-$350

A revival of the innovative and visually striking Robert Lepage production continues this week. I saw opening night and the piece remains as fresh and visually striking now as it did at its premiere in 2009. It is best to have a seat not too far from the stage, given the peculiarity of the staging. Jane Archibald (Nightingale), Owen McCausland (Fisherman), Oleg Tsibulko (Emperor). Johannes Debus conducts. | Listing

Wednesday 2

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Mozart & Bruckner. 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. Repeats May 3 2 p.m. $40.75-$154.

The great American pianist Leon Fleisher, who conducted the RCM Orchestra last month, is back in town, this time to play the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 12, K.414, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Oundjian. At the RCM concert, he announced that he is now suffering from advanced macula degeneration and is only able to play works he is very familiar with. We are just grateful that he is still coming back and performing in Toronto. Not to be missed. Also on the program is Bruckner (ed. Hawkshaw) Symphony No. 8. 7:15: pre-concert chat with Tom Allen, North Lobby. | Listing

Thursday 3

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series: Les Adieux – The Natural World. 12 p.m. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre. Free. Be sure to show up an hour ahead for a seat.

Can it be two years already?!  It seems only yesterday that soprano Danika Lorèn and baritone Bruno Roy joined the COC Ensemble Studio.  These two very talented young artists have developed admirably in their tenure at the COC and are now ready to strike out on their own. Here’s one last chance to hear them in a recital of songs by Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel, joined by pianists Rachael Kerr and Stéphane Mayer. | Listing

Women’s Musical Club of Toronto | Music in the Afternoon: Cellodrama! 1:30 p.m. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto. $45.

WMCT ends its season with a cello extravaganza, featuring not one, not two, but eight cellos! With so many cellists in the same room, what else but Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for soprano and 8 celli by Heitor Villa-lobos? I cut my musical teeth on an Angel LP which I still own, conducted by the composer with the great Victoria de los Angeles. Here, the soprano is Shannon Mercer. You’ll also get to hear works by Barriere, Bach, Penderecki, even Freddie Mercury! | Listing

Canadian Opera Company | Anna Bolena 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. Remaining tickets $50-$350.  Repeats May 5 + six additional performances to May 26

I attended opening night (Apr. 28) and can say this is arguably the biggest hit of the season, with magnificent singing by Canadian-American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky as Anna.  The rest of the cast is also superlative – soprano Keri Alkema (Giovanna Seymour), tenor Bruce Sledge (Percy), bass-baritone Christian Van Horn (Enrico VIII), and mezzo Allyson McHardy (Smeton). Italian conductor Corrado Rovaris is at the helm. Stephen Lawless directs. If you like bel canto singing, this is a must! | Listing

Tafelmusik | Beethoven Pastoral Symphony 8 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $39-$121/$39-$109(sr)/$26-$93(under 35). Repeats May 4, 5, 6. Check website for start time.

Elisa Cittero is the violin soloist in Beethoven’s Concerto for violin in D Major, op. 61. Also on the program is Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6, “Pastoral” with Jeanne Lamon as concertmaster and guest director Bruno Weil. | Listing

Friday 4

Sinfonia Toronto | Pictures At An Exhibition. 8 p.m. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., North York. $42/$35(sr)/$15(st)

Canadian pianist Anastasia Rizikov, a former child prodigy, is now seventeen. She is as fabulous as ever, here as soloist with Sinfonia Toronto conducted by Nurhan Arman, in a program of Dvorak, Chan Ka Nin and Mussorgsky. | Listing

Sunday 6

Toronto Classical Singers | Music of Transcendence: Ein Deutsches Requiem.  4 p.m. Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St. $30

One of the greatest of choral works is Brahms’ German Requiem, here performed by the Toronto Classical Singers with soloists soprano Lesley Bouza and baritone Matthew Zadow, with Jurgen Petrenko conducting the Talisker Players Orchestra. | Details

Toronto Lyric Opera Centre | Cosi fan tutte. 7 p.m. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. $25/$15(sr/under 30)

The great Mozart opera Cosi fan tutte, with soprano Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor (Fiordiligi), mezzo Danielle Nicholson (Dorabella), soprano Martina Myskohlid (Despina), tenor Jean Philippe Lazure (Ferrando), baritone Jacob Feldman (Guglielmo), and baritone Korin Thomas-Smith (Alfonso). David Bowser conducts the Toronto Mozart Players. | Details

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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