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CRITIC'S PICKS | 11 Concerts You Absolutely Need To See In Toronto This Week (January 27 – February 2)

By Joseph So on January 27, 2020

Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of January 27 to February 2.
Classical music and opera events happening in and around Toronto for the week of January 27 to February 2.

Critic’s Picks (January 27 – February 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.

Monday 27

University of Toronto Faculty of Music | Complete Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin (Part 2). 7:30 p.m. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park. $40/$25(sr)/$10(st)

This is second of a two concert series on Beethoven’s sonatas for violin and piano, performed by U of T Music faculty members Mark Fewer and James Parker. The first, a free concert, took place on Jan. 9. | Details

Tuesday 28

Mississauga Symphony Orchestra | La Traviata. 8 p.m. Living Arts Centre, Hammerson Hall, 4141 Living Arts Dr. Mississauga. $50-$90 (50% discount)

This is the second and last performance of a staged La Traviata, with soprano Cristina Pisani as Violetta and tenor Keith Klassen as Alfredo, directed by David Ambrose. Denis Mastromonaco conducts the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra. | Details

Wednesday 29

Canadian Opera Company | Meet the Orchestra Academy: Songs of Travel. 12 p.m. Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. Free.

Five young musicians in this year’s Orchestra Academy (Isabel Lago and Ah Young Kim, violin; John Sellick, viola; Mansur Kadirov, cello; and Peter Eratostene, bass) play Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel (with baritone Vartan Gabrielian), plus Dvorak’s String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 77. Rachael Kerr, piano. | Details

Thursday 30

Canadian Opera Company | The Barber of Seville. 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W. Remaining tickets $125-$350. Five performances continue to Feb. 7. Check website for other start times.

Opened to rave reviews, the Rossini blockbuster continues. Emily D’Angelo, mezzo (Rosina); Vito Priante, baritone (Figaro); Santiago Ballerini, tenor (Almaviva); Renato Girolami, bass (Bartolo); Brandon Cedel, bass (Basilio); Speranza Scappucci, conductor. | Details

Music Toronto | St. Lawrence Quartet with Stephen Prutsman. 8 p.m. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre, 27 Front St. E. $53.75-$58.25/$10(st). Pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the St Lawrence Quartet (Geoff Nuttall and Owen Dalby, violins; Lesley Robertson, viola; Christopher Costanza, cello) makes its annual appearance with Music Toronto, in a program of Haydn, Franck, and R. Murray Schafer, joined by pianist Stephen Prutsman. | Details

Soundstreams | The Lost Karaoke Tapes. 8.p.m. The Great Hall, 1087 Queen W. $44–77.

Any chance to see Canadian composer Nicole Lizée is a treat. Working on the cutting edge (literally) Juno-nominated Nicole Lizée applied her mash up technique to nostalgic pop hits from Australian and Canadian icons backed by the intrepid Australian Art Orchestra. For new music buffs, this is not-to-be-missed. For a chance to win free tickets, see here. | Details

Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Dvorak and Mendelssohn. 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $61-$134. Repeats Feb. 1.

Conductor Aziz Shokhakimov leads theTSO in Smetana: “The Moldau,” Dvorak Cello Concerto (Joseph Johnson, TSO Principal Cello), and Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3 “Scottish.” | Details

Friday 31

Linus Entertainment | The Mozart Effect: Live! A Symphony for the Senses. 8 p.m. Meridian Hall (formerly Sony Centre), 1 Front St. E. $47-$150.

Billed as “a sensory enhanced symphonic aural and visual experience, with moments of intimate performance nuance and powerful climactic peaks,” this show, The Mozart Effect Live! is his music played by the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Cozens, combined with high definition large format video and visual effects. | Details

Saturday 1

Met Opera Live in HD / Cineplex Canada | Porgy and Bess. 12:55 p.m. Select Cineplex cinemas in the GTA. $28. Check website for locations
Returning to the Met in nearly 30 years, George Gershwin’s iconic Porgy and Bess has a truly great ensemble cast led by Eric Owens as Porgy and Angel Blue as Bess, in a beautiful new production by James Robinson. I was first premiered in London in 2018. Also in the cast are Janai Brugger, Latonia Moore, and Denyce Graves. David Robertson conducts. It will be a memorable afternoon at Catfish Row. | Details

University of Toronto Faculty of Music | U of T Symphony Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. MacMillan Theatre, Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen’s Park. $30/$20(sr)/$10(st)

Uri Mayer conducts the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a program of Sibelius Finlandia, Op. 26; Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 107 (Christopher Chan, cello); Respighi Fontane di Roma, and Bartok The Miraculous Mandarin Suite. | Details

Royal Conservatory of Music | Power Corporation Vocal Concerts Series: Lagrime di San Pietro. 8 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $50-$105. Pre-curtain talk 7 p.m. Repeats Feb. 2 (3 p.m.)

Lagrime di San Pietro (The Tears of St. Peter), a 75-minute piece of 27 madrigals by the Renaissance master Orlando di Lasso, here sung a capella in seven parts by 21 singers of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It’s directed by renowned stage director Peter Sellars, reimagined for a contemporary audience. | Details

[Updated: Jan. 29, 2020. 9 am.]

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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 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).
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