April 16: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

Opera Atelier's Armide is on at the Elgin Theatre to Saturday (Bruce Zinger photo).

We’re at the height of the late-spring concert and opera calendar, so clone yourselves, Toronto music lovers, and gird yourselves for a banquet.


The Canadian Opera Company and Opera Atelier both have five-act operas with Parisian roots on their stages this week. The uniting theme behind both: Nothing exceeds like excess.

  • The COC’s production of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann is on at the Four Seasons Centre on Wednesday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Don’t expect to leave the theatre much before 11. You can read my review here. For tickets and other details, click here.
  • Opera Atelier’s production of Armide, by Jean-Baptiste Lully is on at the Elgin Theatre Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and closes on Saturday. If you love Baroque opera and lots of ballet with your singing, this is a colourful treat. You can read my review here. For tickets and other details, click here.



  • Musicians from Marlboro at Mazzoleni Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Marlboro, Vermont is the bucolic setting for a long-running and highly respected summer music festival (running July 14 to Aug. 12, this year) run by pianists’ pianists Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode. The focus is always on exquisitely prepared, thoughtfully interpreted chamber music. For those unable to enjoy the Green Mountain setting, the festival every year sends out a group of evangelists to give the rest of the continent a taste of these pleasures.

This recital programme, at the Telus Centre’s intimate Mazzoleni Hall, is textbook perfect: a piano trio by Joseph Haydn (E-flat Major, Hob. XV:29); The String Quartet No. 2 by Felix Mendelssohn (A Minor, Op. 13); and Dmitri Shostakovich’s gripping G minor Piano Quintet.

For all the details and tickets, click here.


Graham Abbey as Hamlet, at Fairy Lake in Newmarket two summers ago.

  • Talisker Players and Groundling Theatre Company at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 8 p.m.

Mezzo-soprano Norine Burgess joins the Talisker Players as well as actor Graham Abbey and his Groundling Theatre Company in a programme inspired by Shakespeare’s history plays. This should be a powerful night of music and words.

I’ll have more on this on Tuesday.

For concert details and tickets, click here.


André Watts

  • Pianist André Watts at Koerner Hall, 8 p.m.

He may officially be a senior citizen now, but American pianist André Watts maintains a full concert and teaching schedule. He has made a name for himself as a fiery, extroverted interpreter of the music of Franz Liszt — and he promises not to disappoint in his first visit to Toronto in a long, long time. The first half of the programme is a very Classical warmup, with sonatas by Scarlatti, Haydn and Beethoven.

For all the details and tickets, click here.

Here is Watts performing one of the pieces on the programme, Liszt’s Transcendental Etude No. 10:


  • Measha Brueggergosman & friends at the Markham Theatre, 8 p.m.

Soprano Measha Brueggergosman is taking two nights off this week from Canada’s Got Talent to show off her own musical versatility as she launches her new, non-classical album, I’ve Got a Crush on You. In case the fact that one of the album’s tracks is “Misty” hasn’t clued you in to the nature of this release, it’s all about late-night fun friends.

It should make for a fine, jazzy night out.For concert and ticket details, click here.

(Brueggergosman presents the same concert at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre in Toronto on Friday at 8 p.m. Details here.)


Renée Fleming sings serious solo song rep at Roy Thomson Hall (Ringo H.W. Chiu photo for the Los Angeles Times).

  • Renée Fleming and Hartmut Höll at Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m.

While Measha Brueggergosman waxes popular, Renée Fleming gets all serious for her latest solo visit to Roy Thomson Hall, in the company of accompanist Hartmut Höll.

The American soprano has prepared an intense song programme that begins with the music of Alexander Zemlinsky, whose Florentine Tragedy opens at the Canadian Opera Company on Apr. 26. Other composers on the bill are Arnold Schoenberg, Erich Korngold, Henri Duparc, Henri Dutilleux and American Ricky Ian Gordon.

It should be a wonderful opportunity to hear one of the great singers of our time at the peak of her craft.

For all the details, and tickets, click here.


  • Violinist Gil Shaham at Koerner Hall, 8 p.m.

Wow. All Bach, all Shaham for his Koerner Hall début. The solo-violin programme is straightforward: Partitas Nos 2 & 3, and Sonata No. 3. But the results should be anything but.

For concert details and tickets, click here.Here is Shaham playing the Chaconne from Partita No. 2:


A triptych by Lavinia I. Voicu

  • Amici Chamber Ensemble with painter Lavinia Voicu at the Glenn Gould Studio, 3 p.m.

The Amici season closes with an intriguing programme that includes voice as well as visual art.

Core Amici members — violinist Benjamin Bowman, cellist David Hetherington, clarinet player Joaquin Valdepeñas and pianist Serouj Kradjian — are joined by flautists Leslie Newman, mezzo-soprano (and radio personality) Jean Stilwell as well as painter Lavinia I. Voicu, who will create an artwork while the other make music.

The programme includes Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, Capriccio by Leos Janácek, exceprts from Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and a Duo for violin and cello by Irwin Schulhoff.

For tickets, click here.

John Terauds


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s