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CRITIC'S PICKS | 10 Concerts You Absolutely Need To See In Toronto This Week (Dec. 17 – 23)

By Joseph So on December 17, 2018

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of December 17 – 23.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of December 17 – 23.

Critic’s Picks (Dec. 17 – 23)

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.

Monday 17

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Messiah 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $46-$131. Repeats Dec. 18, 19, 21, 22, 23 (mat).

COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts the TSO and a strong quartet of soloists (Claire de Sévigné, soprano; Allyson McHardy, mezzo; Andrew Haji, tenor; Tyler Duncan, baritone) in a Christmas tradition, Handel’s Messiah. They are joined by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. | Details

Tuesday 18

National Ballet of Canada | The Nutcracker 7 p.m. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. Runs to Dec. 30. Start times vary, so check the website for details. Very limited remaining tickets $78-$163.

The iconic Christmas entertainment for the classical music lover, The Nutcracker, continues until Dec. 30. Tickets are limited, so act fast. Premiered in 1995, the James Kudelka’s version resituates the story to 19th century Russia. Beautiful sets by Santo Loquasto. | Details

Tafelmusik | Messiah 7:30 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. Repeats Dec. 19, 20, 21. $36-$119.

For the intimate Baroque Messiah, Tafelmusik fits the bill. Ivars Taurins leads the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, with soloists Sherezade Panthaki, soprano; Krisztina Szabó, mezzo; Charles Daniels, tenor; and Drew Santini, baritone. | Details

Orpheus Choir of Toronto | A Child’s Christmas in Wales.  Eglinton St. George’s United Church, 35 Lytton Blvd.  $45/$35(sr)/$20(>30)/$100(Family)

Stratford’s Geraint Wyn Davies narrates Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’s beloved holiday classic, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. An evening of prose and festive mix of seasonal carols. Robert Cooper, artistic director. | Details

Wednesday 19

Tongue In Cheek Productions | Verbotenlieder. 7 p.m. Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W. $35/$25(arts worker)

Verbotenlieder follows the interesting TIC inaugural Winterreise, where 24 baritones each sang one song. Now it’s an all-women Verbotenlieder, German for “Forbidden Songs.”  “Each piece on the program is one of two things: it’s either a song that a man “ought to” sing, or it’s something a woman is told not to do.”  Pianists: Elina Kelebeev and Natasha Fransblow. Singers: Beste Kalender, Catherine Daniel, Brittany Cann, Allison Walmsley, Daniela Agostino, Gena van Oosten, Alexandra Beley, Vanessa-Oude Reimerink, Natalya Gennadi, Teiya Kasahara, Jennifer Taverner, Sonya Harper Nyby, Leah Giselle Field, Madison Angus, and Lauren Margison. Anna Theodosakis is stage director. Curious? Go find out! | Details

David Warrack’s Canada Pops ‘18 | Holiday Concert 2018 in Support of United Way. 8 p.m. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E.  1-855-872-7669 or 416-916-7878. $45-$120.

David Warrack and his 64-piece orchestra is joined by artists Chantal Kreviazuk, Ben Heppner, Louise Pitre, Thom Allison, Avery Saltzman and Sheila McCarthy in a 2018 Holiday Concert, with proceeds going to support the United Way. | Details

Thursday 20

Roy Thomson Hall | A Celtic Family Christmas 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $39.50-$69.50

This show stars fiddle virtuosos Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy. They are accompanied by their children and other musicians in A Celtic Family Christmas. | Details

Saturday 22

Tafelmusik | Sing-Along Messiah 2 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. General seating. $49.

The Tafelmusik Sing-Along Messiah is a grand Christmas tradition. With Massey Hall closed for renovations, this will happen at Roy Thomson Hall. The soloists are the same as the regular performances, but here you get the special appearance of Mr. Handel! Seating assigned by voice part – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, plus a mixed choir section for groups that want to sing together. | Details

Toronto International Ballet Theatre | The Nutcracker 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E. $56-$141.50.

The Toronto International Ballet Theatre (Tatiana Stepanova, Artistic Director) engages young talented dancers and international stars for the last eleven seasons. This Nutcracker stars Anastasia Stashkevich and Vyacheslav Lopatin of the Bolshoi Ballet. | Details

Vesuvius Ensemble | Christmas in Southern Italy 8 p.m. Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. $30. Repeats Dec.23

The Vesuvius Ensemble (Francesco Pellegrino, Artistic Director) presents Christmas in Southern Italy, a show with traditional folk songs accompanied by instruments typical of the Italian countryside. Also included is a pastorale played on the zampogna, special bagpipes traditionally played by shepherds on Christmas Eve. | 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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