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CRITIC’S PICKS | Classical Music Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: January 22 – January 28

By Arthur Kaptainis on January 22, 2024

L-R (clockwise): Ray Chen (Photo courtesy of the TSO); Jane Archibald in the COC’s The Cunning Vixen (Photo courtesy of the COC); Unsuk Chin (Photo courtesy of Esprit Orchestra)
L-R (clockwise): Ray Chen (Photo courtesy of the TSO); Jane Archibald in the COC’s The Cunning Vixen (Photo courtesy of the COC); Unsuk Chin (Photo courtesy of Esprit Orchestra)

This is a list of concerts we are attending, wishing we could attend, or thinking about attending between Jan. 22 and Jan. 28, 2024. For more of what’s happening around Toronto, visit our calendar here.

Esprit Orchestra/Three

Wednesday Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. Koerner Hall. $25+

The modern-minded orchestra under Alex Pauk gives the North American premiere of Operascope, a history of operatic music by South Korea’s Unsuk Chin, complete with quotations. There are, as the title of the concert implies, two other works on the program. Misato Mochizuki (Japan) pays tribute to Schumann through the lens of Carl Jung. The score by Rita Ueda (Canada) incorporates a solo shō (Japanese mouth organ), sheng (Chinese mouth organ) and suona (Chinese shawm). Read our Preview of Operascope here. Info here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Ray Chen/Alpesh Chauhan

Friday Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall. $68+

Taiwanese violinist Ray Chen joins British conductor (and TSO debutant) Alpesh Chauhan in Korngold’s formerly underplayed (and now overplayed) Violin Concerto. Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony is heard after intermission. The novel opener is Tchaikovsky’s symphonic poem Fatum. Info here.

COC/The Cunning Little Vixen

Friday Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. Also Feb. 3, 8, 10, 14 and 16. Four Seasons Centre. $35+

The COC starts its 2024 schedule with an English National Opera staging of Janáček’s woodland fantasy of 1923. Soprano Jane Archibald takes the title role and Johannes Debus conducts. References to industrial forestry are promised but the audience advisory reads like a recommendation: “The Cunning Little Vixen contains scenes with atmospheric effects, bright lights, pyrotechnics, and strobe-like effects.” Sung in Czech. Read our Preview here. Info here.

Sinfonia Toronto/Dmitri Levkovich

Friday Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. Jeanne Lamon Hall. $52, senior $40, student $20

A rare case of two works by Janáček on the same night, as Nurhan Arman leads his string orchestra through the seven-movement Idyll. Ukrainian-Canadian Dmitri Levkovich is the soloist in a reduction of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23. Other works are by Alice Ping Yee Ho and Kevork Andonian. Info here.

Ute Lemper/FILMharmonic Orchestra

Friday Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. Massey Hall. $59+

The German chanteuse offers program of cabaret, Broadway and French chanson in the warm surroundings of Massey Hall. Among the sources and selections: Kander & Ebb’s Cabaret, Weill & Brecht’s Weimar Suite and Brel’s Ne me quitte pas. With an orchestra conducted by Francis Choinière. Read our interview with Ute here. Info here.


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Arthur Kaptainis
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