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CRITIC’S PICKS | Classical Music Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, 2023

By Arthur Kaptainis on September 25, 2023

L-R (clockwise): Russell Thomas as Florestan in Fidelio, San Francisco Opera, 2021 (Photo: Cory Weaver); Michael Bridges (Photo courtesy of the artist); Seong-Jin Cho (Photo courtesy of the artist)
L-R (clockwise): Russell Thomas as Florestan in Fidelio, San Francisco Opera, 2021 (Photo: Cory Weaver); Michael Bridge (Photo courtesy of the artist); Seong-Jin Cho (Photo courtesy of the artist)

This is a list of concerts we are attending, wishing we could attend, or thinking about attending between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, 2023. For more of what’s happening around Toronto, visit our calendar here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Seong-Jin Cho/Gustavo Gimeno

Thursday Sept. 28 at 8 p.m., Friday Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall. $66+

Gustavo Gimeno and the TSO continue their exploration of mostly-early-20th-century repertoire with a concert including Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy, Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole and Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand (with the South Korean star Seong-Jin Cho at the piano). The 21st-century selection is the North American premiere of Synthésie, a piece with five movements dedicated to the five senses by the Peruvian composer Jimmy López Bellido. Info here.

U of T/Michael Bridge

Thursday Sept. 28 at noon. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building. Free.

The highly-regarded accordionist and U of T alumnus offers a free program of arrangements of Bach, Brett Dean (from the opera Hamlet), Fauré, Majkusiak, Piazzolla (Oblivion) and Tchaikovsky (no less an opus than the 1812 Overture). Info here.

Canadian Opera Company/Fidelio

Friday Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. Four Seasons Centre. $44+

The COC season starts with a San Francisco Opera production of Beethoven’s much-mangled opera that sets the action in a modern prison. Finnish soprano Miina-Liisa Värelä plays the heroic Leonore and the America tenor Clay Hilley plays the unjustly incarcerated Florestan. Johannes Debus conducts. Info here.

Amici Chamber Ensemble/Gems

Sunday Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. Jeanne Lamon Hall. $50 ($30 under 30).

Amici regulars Joaquin Valdepeñas (clarinet) David Hetherington (cello) and Serouj Kradjian (piano) are joined by Erika Raum (violin) and Neil Deland (horn) in a program of Zdeněk Fibich (Quintet), Carl Frühling (Clarinet Trio), Sofia Gubaidulina (Preludes for Solo Cello) and a new piece (Tetiana’s Journey to a New World) by Larysa Kuzmenko. Info here.

RCM/Mahani Teave

Sunday Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. Koerner Hall. $40+

Billed as the lone professional classical musician on Easter Island, this pianist appears under the aegis of the RCM in a program comprising Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, a Chopin group including the Scherzo No. 1, Liszt’s Ballade No. 2, a pair of Rachmaninoff Moments musicaux and music based on traditional Rapa Nui (i.e. Easter Island) sources. Read our interview with Mahani Teave here. Info here.


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