June 11: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

Tenor Michael Ciufo sings at Hugh’s Room on Monday night (Jessica Brydson photo).

Welcome to the final instalment of Toronto concert highlights for the season. It will return in September.


Young Toronto tenor Michael Ciufo is leading a double life as aspiring opera singer and crooning lounge act. He dusts off his informal side tonight, reprising much of the intimate programme he presented this past spring when he kicked off a tour in honour of his first album, Momento, at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre (you can read my review here).

In case you don’t know it, Hugh’s Room is a great little concert venue, complete with chilled beverages, located at 2261 Dundas St W. — a short stroll from the Dundas West subway station.

For all the details and tickets, click here.


  • Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 at Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m.

There is nothing quite like Gustav Mahler’s epic, two-movement Symphony No. 8. It’s known as the “Symphony of 1,000” for the huge instrumental and vocal forces Mahler assembled for its premiere in 1910 — one of the reasons this piece is not heard nearly as often as its fans would like.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is joined by a fantastic cast of soloists, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Amadeus Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Toronto Children’s Chorus. Patricia Krueger Michael Bloss will give Roy Thomson Hall’s Gabriel Kney organ a much-needed workout while music director Peter Oundjian tries to keep everything in order.

The TSO’s master of logistics, Chris Walroth, adds that other keyboard players are: Peter Tiefenbach on celeste, Talisa Blackman on piano and Patricia Kruger will play the harmonium.

For all the details and tickets, click here.


  • Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute Grand Finale at Grace Church-on-the-Hill, 7:30 p.m. Free.

The most hard-fought-for concert tickets in Toronto every June are for Tafelmusik’s Grand Finale concert of the Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute.

You have to pick up passes in person from the Tafelmusik box office (at Trinity-St Paul’s Centre), anytime after Monday morning at 10. Then you have to trek to TTC-unfriendly Grace Church-on-the-Hill in Forest Hill. It’s general seating in a gorgeous building that also happens to not have air conditioning. And the concert usually coincides with one of the hottest, stickiest days of mid-June.

The thing is, all of these inconveniences disappear the moment Jeanne Lamon walks out in front of a supersized orchestra and choir to lead faculty and students in a pan-European selection of Baroque bonbons.

This is usually one of the great feelgood concerts of the season.

Each ticket-seeker is allowed a maximum of two admissions — and you’re not likely to scoop up a spot at the last minute.


  • Toronto Masque Theatre presents Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in concert at the Sharon Temple, 2 p.m.

Meredith Hall

Toronto soprano Meredith Hall is always, as the Michelin guides used to say, worth a detour. To hear her in Henry Purcell’s immortal 1688-89 opera Dido and Aeneas is an even bigger treat. This concert version, with period instruments, is conducted by Toronto Masque Theatre founder and Music at Sharon co-artistic director Larry Beckwith.

For details and tickets, click here.

Here is the opera’s opening, in concert, led by occasional Tafelmusik visitor Richard Egarr, folowed by a performance of “Dido’s Lament” by once-frequent Toronto visitor, soprano Emma Kirkby:

  • Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Luminato Symphonic Finale at David Pecaut Square, 7 p.m. Free.

The free concerts at Luminato hub, David Pecaut Square end with a grand flourish by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which makes a rare foray into the great, noisy world outside of its home just next door.

The event celebrates the bicentennial of the War of 1812 with a programme of festive classical hits, including Peter Ilytch Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. But there’s also something new: The premiere of Luminato- and TSO-commissioned Overture for 2012 by Philip Glass. Music director Peter Oundjian conducts.

For more details, click here.

John Terauds


3 thoughts on “June 11: Toronto classical concert highlights for the next seven days

  1. Re TSO Mahler 8,”Patricia Krueger will give Roy Thomson Hall’s Gabriel Kney organ a much-needed workout “. That is a good assumption but actually Michael Bloss will take the Organ part, Peter Tiefenbach on Celeste, Talisa Blackman on Piano, and Patricia Kruger will play the Harmonium. That’s the keyboard part of the starting line up for those who want to keep their scorecards straight.

    Also I should note, despite Mr. Wheeler’s tongue in cheek remarks in the Globe & Mail June 8th We have no need to reinforce the Roy Thomson stage its structure is entirely sufficient to support the players.

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