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CRITIC'S PICKS | 10 Concerts You Absolutely Need To See In Toronto This Week (May 20 – 26)

By Joseph So on May 20, 2019

Classical Music and Opera Events, Toronto, May 20—26, 2019.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of May 20 – 26.

Critic’s Picks (May 20- 26)

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.

Tuesday 21

Canadian Opera Company | Les Adieux: Stephane Mayer. 12 p.m. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. Free. Limited Seating.

The fine young Canadian pianist Stephane Mayer finishes his tenure in the COC Ensemble with an off the beaten track recital of De Profundis by Frederic Rzewski, based on text by Oscar Wilde, written near the end of his life when he was imprisoned. It also features soprano Danika Loren and actor Matt Pilipiak. It’s paired with The Nightingale and the Rose by Saint-Saens, also with text by Wilde. | Details

Canadian Opera Company | Otello. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. $45-$350.

Your last chance to catch this Verdi masterpiece with a very strong cast of Russell Thomas (Otello), Tamara Wilson (Desdemona) and Gerald Finley (Iago). Johannes Debus conducts. | Details

Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon | Shanawdithit. 8 p.m. Imperial Oil Opera Theatre, 227 Front St. E. $50-$150.  Four performances to May 25.

The Canadian-Indigenous world premiere of Shanawdithit continues this week, with music by Newfoundland composer Dean Burry, and libretto by Algonquin playwright Yvette Nolan. First Nations mezzo Marion Newman sings the title role; Clarence Frazer is Cormack. | Details

Wednesday 22

Tafelmusik | Fantasticus. 12 p.m. Church of the Holy Trinity, 19 Trinity Square. $42. Repeats May 25 at Temerty Theatre 273 Bloor St. W.

In Fantasticus, Patricia Ahern, violin; Chris Verrette, violin; Dominic Teresi, dulcian; Lucas Harris, lute; Charlotte Nediger, harpsichord perform 17th-century sonatas by Marini, Bertali, Fontana, Schmelzer, Castello, Kerll, and Kapsberger. | Details

Canadian Opera Company | La bohème. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. $45-$350.

This performance of La bohème is the very last mainstage performance of the 2018-19 COC season. It features the excellent alternate cast of Miriam Khalil (Mimi), Joshua Guerrero (Rodolfo), Danika Loren (Musetta), Andrzej Filonczyk (Marcello), Onay Kose (Colline), Joel Allison (Schaunard), and Donato Di Stefano (Benoit/Alcindoro). Conductor Antonello Allemandi makes his COC debut. | Details

Citadel + Compagne | Against Nature. 8 p.m. Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance, 304 Parliament Street, Toronto. $20-$25. 8 performances to June 1.

Choreographed and directed by James Kudelka, former Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada, this multi-disciplinary work is a unique dance-opera-theatre hybrid based on Joris-Karl Huysman’s novel, À Rebours (Against Nature). “This powerful work is replete with rich visuals, fluid choreography that supports and strengthens the story, and a nuanced score that is hauntingly mysterious. All disciplines beautifully combine to explore the nature of time and the challenges of love, beauty, and truth…”  Performers: Laurence Lemieux, Alexander Dobson, Korin Thomas-Smith. Music by James Rolfe, libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin, with Steven Philcox at the piano. | Details

Thursday 23

Ukrainian Art Song Project | Spring Salon: Contrasts in a Theme. 7 p.m. Gallery 345, 345 Sorauren Ave. $35/$20(st).

The Ukrainian Art Song Project is the brainchild of the British-Ukrainian bass-baritone Pavlo Hunka, who is no stranger to Toronto audiences, having sung with distinction for the COC, as well as his many recitals and masterclasses in connection with the Ukrainian Art Song Project. In advance of the 2019 Summer Institute (Aug. 12-18) is this Spring Salon, featuring soprano Olesia Verzole, mezzo Andrea Ludwig, and tenor Taras Chmil, with Robert Kortgaard at the piano. | Details

Friday 24

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Pines of Rome. 7:30 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $40.75-$154.

Sir Andrew Davis leads the TS forces in Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 4 (Louis Lortie, piano), Jordan Pal’s Colour of Chaos (world premiere), and Respighi’s Pines of Rome. The concert opens with Overture to William Tell conducted by RBC Resident Conductor Simon Rivard. | Details

Toronto Bach Festival | Opening Concert. 8 p.m. St. Barnabas Anglican Church, 361 Danforth Avenue. $42/$37(sr)/$15(<30). Festival runs May 24 to 26. Consult their website for details.

Founded in 2016 by John Abberger (conductor), the Fourth Annual Toronto Bach Festival offers a trio of concerts, opening with Bandenburg Five. Program includes Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn BWV152; Brandenburg Concerto No.5 BWV1050; Concerto in A Minor for violin BWV1041; and Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn BWV23. Hélène Brunet, soprano; Daniel Taylor, countertenor; Nick Veltmeyer, tenor; Joel Allison, bass; Luc Beauséjour, harpsichord. Festival runs May 24-26.  Noteworthy is Lutheran Masses on May 26 3 p.m. | Details

Saturday 25

Echo Chamber Toronto | Une Soiree au Chat Noir. 7:30 p.m. 918 Bathurst St., Toronto. $25-$40. Repeats Sunday 26.

Echo Chamber Toronto combines chamber music with dance. I attended their Transfigured Night a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now they are back with another innovative program, Une Soiree au Chat Noir, with music by Ravel, Debussy, Satie, Edith Piaf, and Renee Rosnes. The Rosebud String Quartet (violinists Aaron Schwebel and Sheila Jaffe; violist Keith Hamm; and cellist Leana Rutt) is joined by soprano Lauren Eberwein, flutist Shelley Brown, and pianist Renee Rosnes. | Details

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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