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CRITIC'S PICKS | Twelve Concerts You Should Absolutely See This Week (May 21 – 27)

By Joseph So on May 21, 2018

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 21 – 27.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 21 – 27.

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 22

Canadian Opera Company | Vocal Series: A Journey of Transformation. 12 p.m. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. Free. Be sure to show up an hour early to ensure a seat.

American soprano Keri Alkema, the excellent Giovanna Seymour in the current run of Anna Bolena, gives a recital of songs and arias by Donizetti, Mozart, Puccini, and Verdi, with Rachel Andrist at the piano. | Listing

Wednesday 23

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Beethoven Emperor Concerto. 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $35-$154   Repeats May 24, 8 p.m.

Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä leads sthe Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a program of Saariaho, Ives, with the centerpiece the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 with pianist Yefim Bronfman. | Listing

Royal Conservatory of Music | 21C Music Festival: Kronos Quartet with Jherek Bischoff. 8 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $21-$90.

The 21C Music Festival (May 23 -27) kicks off with a new work by Jherek Bischoff, performed by the Kronos Quartet (David Harrington, violin; John Sherba, violin; Hank Dutt, viola; Sunny Yang, cello). Program also includes works by Chipsy, Lizee, Sharlat, Gershwin, Coltrane and others. | Listing

Check our Datebook Calendar for additional concerts.

Thursday 24

Ukrainian Art Song Project | 20th Century Ukrainian Art Songs. 7 p.m. Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave. $30/$20(st).

Ukrainian Art Song Project is the brainchild of British-Ukrainian bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka.  Hunka and his artists (mezzos Andrea Ludwig and Laura McAlpine, tenor Andrew Skitko, and pianist Robert Kortgaard) are giving a spring salon to launch the 2018 Ukrainian Art Song Summer Institute. | Listing

Canadian Opera Company | Anna Bolena. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. $50-350. Last performance May 26.

Your last two chances to catch the COC’s season-ending production of Anna Bolena. Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role, with soprano Keri Alkema (Giovanna Seymour), tenor Bruce Sledge (Percy), bass-baritone Christian Van Horn (Enrico VIII), and mezzo Allyson McHardy (Smeton). Corrado Rovaris conducts. | Listing

Estonian Music Week | Opening Concert: Avarus Ensemble. 7:30 p.m. Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor St. W. $25

Opening concert of the Estonian Music Week (May 24-29) featuring the Avarus Ensemble. | Listing

Friday 25

Roy Thomson Hall | Evgeny Kissin. 7:30 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $49.50+

One of the world’s greatest living pianists, Evgeny Kissin, returns to Toronto this spring, three years after his critically acclaimed, sold-out performance at Roy Thomson Hall in 2015. For this performance, Kissin brings an exciting programme which includes Beethoven’s Sonata No. 29, Op. 106 “Hammerklavier,” considered one of the composer’s greatest and most challenging pieces, as well as a selection of 12 preludes by Rachmaninoff, including the famous Prelude in C-sharp minor. | Listing

Toronto Consort | Monteverdi’s Orfeo In Concert. 8 p.m. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. $15-$72 Repeats May 27 3:30 p.m.

The Toronto Consort ends its season with Monteverdi’s Orfeo in concert, with English tenor Charles Daniels in the title role, and the Montreal-based early brass ensemble La Rose des Vents. | Listing

Royal Conservatory of Music | 21C Music Festival: A Far Cry with Simone Dinnerstein. 8 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $21-$90. 7 p.m. pre-concert talk.

Chamber Orchestra, A Far Cry, is joined by pianist Simone Dinnerstein in the Canadian premiere of Philip Glass’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Also on the program are pieces by Bach and Glass’s Symphony No. 3.  | Listing

Canadian Children’s Opera Company | The Monkiest King. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m (school matinees), Lyric Theatre at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St. $35/$35(sr)/$20(child) Public performances on May 26 7:30 p.m., May 27 2 p.m.

World premiere of The Monkiest King, a new children’s opera based on Chinese folktales by Alice Ping Yee Ho and Marjorie Chan, sung in English and Mandarin, with English and Mandarin Surtitles. | Details

Saturday 26

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $50.75-$154

Bramwell Tovey conducts the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in Brahms Violin Concerto with violinist James Ehnes. First Nations mezzo Marion Newman is soloist in Bramwell Tovey’s Ancestral Voices. Rounding out the program is Elgar’s Enigma Variations. | Listing

Sunday 27

Royal Conservatory of Music | 21C Music Festival: Katia and Marielle Labèque. 3 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $40-$90.

French piano duo Katia and Marielle Lebèque playa program of Stravinsky, Bryce Dessner, and Philip Glass. | Listing

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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