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CRITIC’S PICKS | Classical Music Events You Absolutely Need To See This Week: June 10 – June 16

By Hye Won Cecilia Lee on June 10, 2024

L-R (clockwise): Soprano, dramaturge Neema Bickersteth in the Canadian Opera Company’s Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White (Photo: HAUI); Ensemble Made In Canada (Photo courtesy of the artists); The Toronto Symphony Orchestra with conductor Gustavo Gimeno (Photo courtesy of the TSO)
L-R (clockwise): Soprano, dramaturge Neema Bickersteth in the Canadian Opera Company’s Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White (Photo: HAUI); Ensemble Made In Canada (Photo courtesy of the artists); The Toronto Symphony Orchestra with conductor Gustavo Gimeno (Photo courtesy of the TSO)

This is a list of concerts we are attending, wishing we could attend, or thinking about attending between June 10 and June 16, 2024. For more of what’s happening around Toronto, visit our calendar here.

Amadeus Choir: Songwalks: Braiding Voices

Monday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave East, Toronto. Free.

Amadeus Choir celebrates their 50th season with this last event in the garden. Partnered with Inuk singer/composer Deantha Edmunds, Amadeus presents evening music ranging from Hildegard von Bingen to contemporary Indigenous music. Musical stations will be dispersed across the garden, where Amadeus Choir, Deantha Edmunds, and throat singers Nina Segalowitz and Lydia Etok will sing for a lovely evening program lasting about an hour. Come on down, stroll, listen, and find joy in a lovely early summer evening in the glory of the garden. Info here.

Tafelmusik: Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival Opening Night

Monday, June 10, 8 p.m.
Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity St. Paul’s United Church. Free, tickets are required.

The annual Tafel’s Summer Music Institute and Festival opens with a bang on this Monday evening. Featuring TM orchestra, chamber choir, and faculty member Peter Harvey, this event’s near capacity already, so if you haven’t yet, reserve your ticket ASAP. The summer institute is one of the best in the world for intensive period practice, and the participants from all over the world, always present top-notch performances. For the public, auditing is a possibility — ever wanted to experience in depth the mystery of performance practice? This would be the ticket for such academic exploration, and courses will be on full throttle for these two weeks. There are three more concerts for the public next week from the TBSI — worthwhile reserving tickets now, especially for the grand finale — it’s always packed out! Info here.

Luminato Festival Toronto: Nathaniel Dett Chorale: And Still We Sing… Missa Afro-Brasileira

Tuesday, June 11, 8 p.m.
Koerner Hall. $30+

NDC celebrates its 25th anniversary with guest artists: soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee, and dancer/choreographer BaKari I. Lindsay & The AFeeree Project, as part of Luminato 2024. NDC’s continued focus on Afrocentric music has been an important cultural point in Toronto, and this program features the music of Sid Robinovitch, Xavier Montsalvatg, and Carlos Alberto Pinto Fonseca. The performance will feature audio description, and a pre-show conversation starting at 6:30 p.m. A luminous way to lift up an early summer Tuesday evening. Read our Interview with Artistic Director/Conductor/Founder Brainerd Blyden Taylor here. Info here.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra: Mahler Symphony 3

Wednesday, June 12, 8 p.m., Thursday, June 13, 8 p.m., Saturday, June 15, 8 p.m.
Roy Thomson Hall. $35+

Voted one of the ten greatest symphonies of all time in a survey of conductors by the BBC Music Magazine, Mahler 3 is his longest and perhaps most philosophical work. Mahler described this work as ‘A Summer’s Midday Dream,’ and the work is full of changes, unfurling, and dreams. Along with the choirs, the amazing off-stage post-horn solo and Nietzsche’s Midnight Song are easily amongst the best of Mahler’s colourful writing — evocative, philosophical, with a firm belief in redemption. Due to its size and length, the full version is rarely mounted: this is a must for symphony lovers and Mahler fanatics. The TSO will be joined by Gerhild Romberger, and members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Toronto Children’s Chorus. Info here.

New Music Concerts: Ensemble Made in Canada: Mosaique and Beyond

Wednesday, June 12, 8 p.m.
Trinity St. Paul’s United Church, Jeanne Lamon Hall. $15+

An evening of contemporary chamber ensemble will include a wide array of works from 2017-2023, from Canadians Linda Catlin Smith, Vivian Fung, Nicolas Gilbert, Nicole Lizée, Samy Moussa, Ana Sokolović and Wesley Hardisty, with Caroline Shaw (USA), and Sandeep Bhagwati (India/Germany). If these names are unfamiliar, this would be the time to give them a listen — music of today often speaks faster to us, and the fear of contemporary music can be just a cultural ghost. Good music is good music, and a bit like coffee or a good wine, we can only find the genre’s true beauty through thoughtful exposure and experimentation. The concert will have a pre-concert chat starting at 7:15 p.m., and there will be a Young Artist Overture of Franco Doatoni’s Ronda (1984) performed by Bevis Ng. Info here.

Apocryphonia: The Schobertiade

Friday, June 14, 7 p.m.
Church of the Redeemer. Pay-What-You- Can ($20/30 suggested)

Apocryphonia, a young ensemble dedicated to exploring and presenting the music of mysteriously vanished composers, joins the Rezonance Baroque Ensemble to perform the music of Johann Schobert (c. 1720/35/40-1767) — yep, not Schubert, but Schobert. He was a big influence on the Classical era, including Mozart, but somehow disappeared, despite — or perhaps because of — his dramatic death brought on by a deadly mushroom soup that wiped out his family and a friend, with the exception of a single lone child survivor. Works of Vaughan Williams, and other lesser-known composers such as Giuseppe Agus and Paul Constantinescu, fill out the program. A great chance to see what has been missing from the past. Read our Preview here. Info here.

Canadian Opera Company: Aportia Chryptych: A Black Opera for Portia White

227 Front St. E. Friday, June 14, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 15, 2 p.m., Sunday, June 16, 2 p.m.
Canadian Opera Company Theatre, 227 Front St. E. Friday, $75+

The story of the first Black Canadian concert performer to reach international fame, Portia White, who has been forgotten for many years since her death on Feb 13, 1968, is now brought back to life with Sean Mayes x HAUI, and the Canadian Opera Company. Aportia Chryptych incorporates many genres of performance art stemming from Black roots — rap, folk songs, hip-hop, funk, R&B — and from shared roots, including classic opera. This short three-show run is an important step, albeit small, to recover and establish an accurate account of who we are as a nation, consisting of many contributors who lie forgotten still. For those who cannot make it in, there will be a livestreaming scheduled for June 15th, 2 p.m., Eastern Time, available through pre-registration. Read our Preview here. Info here.

Small World Music: Lemon Bucket Orkestra Presents Cuckoo

Saturday, June 15, 8 p.m.
Opera house, 735 Queen St. E. $40

Going strong for the past 14 years, the eclectic Lemon Bucket Orkestra brings us their new album, Cuckoo. Self-described as Slavic-Balkan-Klezmer-Party-Punks, their music is full of life and vibrancy, a truly fun event. Come and join them for an evening of unhinged fun; there will be a special guest, master Macedonian trumpeter Nizo Alimov. Unfortunately for the little ones, this event is 19+. Info here.

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