Critic’s Picks (Nov.26 – Dec. 2)
Ludwig van Toronto’s weekly Critic’s Picks are a curated list of some of the best concerts happening now through the end of the week. For a look at the full breadth of what’s available in and around Toronto, check out our curated concert listings here.
Music Toronto | Louise Bessette 8 p.m. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. $53.50-$58.
Canadian pianist Louise Bessette plays an eclectic program, Escales: Un piano autour du monde/Piano Around the World. It includes works by John Adams, Percy Grainger, Charles Ives, Maurice Dela, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Franz Liszt, Moussorgsky and many others. Pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m. | Details here.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Tchaikovsky For the Holidays. Repeats Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 2. Start times vary. $47.75-$107
Earl Lee conducts the TSO in an All-Tchaikovsky program that includes his Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, The Nutcracker Suite No. 1, and Symphony No. 4. | Details here.
Esprit Orchestra | North/White. 8 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $65-$20/$60-$45(sr)/$37-$27(under 30)/$30-$25(st).
An ensemble devoted to New Music, the Esprit Orchestra under the baton of Alex Pauk performs R. Murray Schafer’s North/White, Thorvaldsdottir’s Dreaming, and Alexina Louie’s Take the Dog Sled, all musical renderings of the North Country. Pre-concert chat at 7:15 p.m. | Details here.
Canadian Opera Company | WOW Factor: A Cinderella Story. 11 a.m. Imperial Oil Opera Theatre, Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, 227 Front St. E. $40/Free (under 12). Repeats Dec. 1 (2 p.m.); Dec. 2 (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.).
Against the Grain’s Joel Ivany shows his fertile imagination in this new take on the Cinderella story for a young audience. Music adapted by Stephane Mayer. “When the hit singing show WOW Factor arrives at Cindy’s school, students jump at the chance to compete for the top prize. Shy Cindy dreams of sharing her talents with the world but friends become mean girls when she steps into the spotlight. Driven by her desire to sing, and with a bit of help from a reluctant pop star and his sidekick, can Cindy overcome her fears to find her own unique voice?” Sung in English by members of the COC Ensemble. | Details here.
Cineplex Entertainment | The King and I 7 p.m. At select Cineplex locations — consult the website for theatre, date, and time. Runs to Dec. 29.
The Lincoln Centre Theatre production of The King and I was filmed at the London Palladium. It stars Broadway/operatic soprano Kelli O’Hara as Anna, and Ken Watanabe as the King of Siam. Director Bartlett Sher, who has directed at the Met, lends his creative genius to this Rodgers and Hammerstein work. | Details here.
Elmer Iseler Singers | Handel’s Messiah 8 p.m. Metropolitan United Church, 50 Queen St. E. $55/$50(sr)/$30(under 30).
Not quite December, but it’s already Messiah month! Lydia Adams leads the Amadeus Choir and soloists (soprano Meredith Hall, mezzo Marjorie Maltais, tenor Asitha Tennekoon and bass-baritone Giles Tomkins) in this seasonal favourite. | Details here.
Pax Christi Chorale | Children’s Messiah. 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor St. W. Pay What Your Can at the door.
An abridged and interactive Messiah designed for children, who are encouraged to sit up front to experience the intensity of orchestra and choir while soloists engage with them directly. Simple narration brings the story to life, and sing-along carols provide the opportunity for all to participate. | Details here.
Tallis Choir | A Gabrielli Christmas. 7:30 p.m. St. Patrick’s Church, 141 McCaul St.$30/$25(sr)/$10(st)
The Tallis Choir is joined by period brass, strings and organ for an evening of poly-choral masterpieces by Gabrieli and his contemporaries. | Details here.
Echo Chamber Toronto | Transfigured Night. 7:30 p.m. Artscape Sandbox, 301 Adelaide St. W. $25-$40.
Echo Chamber Toronto combines chamber music and contemporary ballet, with artists from the National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Opera Company, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. On the program are Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht and Beethoven’s String Quartet Opus 18 No. 1. Musicians include the Rosebud String Quartet (Sheila Jaffe, Aaron Schwebel, Keith Hamm and Leana Rutt), and soprano Lauren Eberwein. | Details here.
University of Toronto Faculty of Music | For the Joy of Singing: A Tribute to Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt. 2:30 p.m. MacMillan Theatre, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. $30/$20(sr)/$10(st).
The various choirs of the U of T Faculty of Music perform in tribute to recently retired Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt (Director of Choral Activities) It features the music of Orban, Balfour, and Pinkham. | Details here.
Mooredale Concerts | Artistic Directors Trio. 3:15 p.m. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. $30.
Artistic Directors Trio (Cindy Wu, violin, Andy Lin, viola, and Wonny Song piano) plays works by Schumann and Handel. The group’s title refers to their involvement as executives of New Asia Chamber Music Society, Da Camera Society, Orford Music & Mooredale Concerts. | Details here.
New Music Concerts | Michael Koerner’s Choice. 8 p.m. Betty Oliphant Theatre, National Ballet School, 404 Jarvis St. $35/$25(sr)/$10(st) Pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m.
This concert is curated by Michael Koerner, who turns 90 this year. He is a long-serving board member of New Music Concerts, and Koerner Hall is also named after him. This concert features works by Carter, Stravinsky, Ives, Schafer, and Milhaud. Artists appearing include tenor Ben Heppner, pianist John Hess, cellist David Hetherington and others. | Details here.
Update: A previous version incorrectly stated the price range for the TSO’s Tchaikovsky For the Holidays on Nov. 28 was $60.75-$107. It is, in fact, $47.75–$107.