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Art of Time Ensemble

Weekend Roundup: November 30 to December 2

Gather for the opening of the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market

Friday, November 30
The Distillery Historic District kicks off its annual celebration of the season with a performance by Canadian opera star Measha Brueggergosman at the opening night of the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market. Bring the whole family and enjoy the sights and sounds, including festive treats and gifts, holiday decorations and a sit down with Santa Claus himself.

Pull out your ugliest Christmas sweater and head over to the Gladstones Hotel‘s 12 Beers of Christmas tasting party. Favoured local brews will be on tap, free prizes will put you in the giving spirit, and classic holiday tunes from the likes of Mariah Carey, Boyz 2 Men and the Jingle Cats (yes these Jingle Cats) will take your mind off the cold winter weather.

Slightly more sophisticated tunes are on offer with the Art of Time Ensemble’s Big Band Show at Harbourfront Centre‘s Enwave Theatre. The group is scheduled to treat audiences to a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite—reimagined by jazz great Duke Ellington—plus its own unique takes on Igor Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 1.

Justin Bieber sings, audiences swoon (photo: Shelby Casanova)

Saturday, December 1
Coming off a performance at 100th Grey Cup last weekend, pop music’s current king, Justin Bieber, tonight returns to the Rogers Centre to woo his legion of fans. Sweetening the pot is an appearance by emerging star Carly Rae Jepsen, whose Call Me Maybe is arguably as mega-popular as the Biebs’ recent hits.

While the kids are revelling in their Bieber Fever, more mature music fans can treat themselves to an intimate evening with eight-time Juno winner Sarah McLachlan. The celebrated songstress performs tonight at hallowed Massey Hall.

Chestnuts are roasting on an open fire at Black Creek Pioneer Village’s Christmas celebrations. Activities include puppet shows, horse-drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa and more. Visitors can also ogle a miniature gingerbread replica of the Village and try their hands at a traditional taffy pull, a sticky Christmas tradition we’re happy to get on board with.

Sir Jerry makes magic even more fun than it already is!

Sunday, December 2
Watch your children’s eyes light up while the watch the mystical, magical performance of Sir Jerry today at the Drake Hotel. Touted as “the most innovative kids performer since Pee Wee Herman,” Sir Jerry offers a show full of song, dance and Monty Python-esque humour for the whole family to enjoy.

Raffi’s kid-friendly tunes have been entertaining and educating kids for more than 30 years. The beloved singer and songwriter today takes the stage at Roy Thomson Hall to strike a nostalgic chord with classics including “Baby Beluga” and more.

Much Music’s Big Jingle Holiday Concert this evening brings holiday cheer to teens and tweens at the Air Canada Centre. Performances by Simple Plan, Cody Simpson and The Wanted are sure to be a blast, while Carly Rae Jepsen’s third Toronto appearance in the past seven days makes this event an early Christmas present the kids won’t forget.

Weekend Roundup: November 2 to 4

The Royal is high on horses

Friday, November 2
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair rolls into town for its 90th year of show jumping, bull riding, giant vegetable displays and more—not to mention special performances by Olympic equestrians and a brand new cooking competition featuring top chefs from Toronto’s premier hotels. Put on your best farm gear and head down Exhibition Place for a taste of the agro-action.

She may once have said that “polite conversation is rarely either,” but writer and humourist Fran Lebowitz is nonetheless game to sit down for a chat with CBC radio’s Jian Ghomeshi tonight at Massey Hall. With astute observations—about everything from politics to smoking to fame—and not-so-thinly veiled sarcasm on the discursive menu, an entertaining evening is all but guaranteed.

Lively colours and social commentary come together in the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s lauded exhibition Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting. Not only does the show feature stunning works of autobiographical record by Mexican masters (and husband and wife) Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, it also boasts an interesting collection of photos taken of the couple during the 1920s and 30s.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection showcases its favourite sons, Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Saturday, November 3
Enjoy an first-hand look at the country’s most famous collective of artists as the McMichael Canadian Art Collection today opens its latest, highly anticipated exhibition. Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven has already proved a major success on tour in Europe; now it’s come home with more than 120 of the finest works to ever depict the Canadian hinterland.

Are you starting to get into the holiday spirit? Today, there’s no better way to kick-start the season than by partaking in Winter Magic’s Ice, Wine & Dine event. This one-night-only celebration along Elm Street not only offers $5 bites from a number of restaurants and professional sommelier–led wine tastings, it also highlights festive fun with carolers, ice carvings and other family-friendly entertainment.

Canadian synth-pop duo Crystal Castles tonight bring their intense lo-fi sound—including tracks from their new album, set for release on November 12—to the Kool Haus. If the haunting mood of the album’s first single “Plague” and reviews of singer Alice Glass’s performances are any indication, the show promises to be a treat for electronic music fans.

Local artists assemble at the Gladstone Hotel

Sunday, November 4
Get to know some of Toronto’s best independent contemporary artists for free as the Speak Easy Fall Art Fair takes over the historic Gladstone Hotel. On to November 7, this exhibition gives art lovers a chance to view and purchase works from some of the city’s most promising creators.

Halloween may be over, but you can still join in the Day of the Dead at Harbourfront Centre. Though skeletons abound, this is hardly a spooky event. Instead it’s a Mexican cultural celebration that honours the with colourful shrines, and traditional food, music and storytelling.

Orson Welles’ classic radio broadcast of War of the Worlds gets a tasteful makeover courtesy of the renowned Art of Time Ensemble and Harbourfront Centre. The stage adaptation—complete with live music and sound effects, of course—sets an uncanny mood for Canadian performers Nicholas Campbell, Sean Cullen and Marc Bendavid. Last year’s production completely sold out; don’t miss your second (and final) chance to catch this magnificent show.

Weekend Roundup: February 10 to 12

Friday: War Horse gallops on to the stage (photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg)

Friday, February 10
Mirvish Productions sounds the charge tonight as the highly anticipated play War Horse begins its run at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Follow the touching story of Joey, a horse sold to the British cavalry at the outbreak of World War One, and the lengths to which his young friend Albert goes to bring home his beloved stallion.

Juno Award-winning musician Dallas Green, better know as City and Colour, kicked off his cross-Canada tour in January; he makes a stop at Massey Hall this evening to perform tracks from his latest album, Little Hell.

Treat yourself to Cantabile: An Evening of Live Italian Music at the Enwave Theatre, where the Art of Time Ensemble offers up a range of music, including familiar classics by Verdi and Puccini, as well as popular songs by Lucio Battisti.  (more…)

Hot Date: Melodic Milestone

Anton Kuerti (photo by V. Tony Hauser)

JULY 20 TO AUGUST 14 For five years now, the Toronto Summer Music Festival has brought together famed Canadian and international luminaries of classical music for a curated series of concerts in some of the city’s top recital spaces. This season kicks off July 20 as pianist Anton Kuerti presents a solo homage to Robert Schumann, utilizing the exceptional acoustics of Koerner Hall. On July 29, Andrew Burashko and the Art of Time Ensemble draw inspiration from late-Romantic composer Erich Korngold—considered a father of the classic Hollywood film score—and the following day sees the celebrated Penderecki String Quartet performing works by four emerging composers. Various venues and times, tickets $30 to $75; call 416-408-0208 or visit here for further details.

Weekend Roundup, September 25th to 27th

Many music ensembles are now launching their seasons, so take in some fresh concerts this weekend.

Friday: Step out to the AGO and ROM to see Edward Steichen's photograph of Princess Nathalie Paley and much more.

Friday: Step out to the AGO and ROM to see Edward Steichen's photograph of Princess Nathalie Paley and much more.

Friday, September 25th
Listen as Jean-Philippe Tremblay leads the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in a rendition of the sweet then rousing sounds of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, as part of the grand opening concert at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s new Koerner Hall performance venue.

Wipe away tears of laughter at the Toronto Improv Festival’s midnight show as audience-driven Road Trip and the MAYBE trio engage in ad hoc antics.

Admire some of the 20th century’s most ingenious and revolutionary celebrity and fashion photographs in two related exhibitions: Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 at the Royal Ontario Museum and Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Both highly anticipated shows open today.

Saturday: Sit in awe of Madama Butterfly's beautiful melodies.

Saturday: Sit in awe of Madama Butterfly's beautiful melody.

Saturday, September 26th
Lend your ears to the award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, who helps kick off the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s new season with an homage to the music of Johannes Brahms.

Roll out your mat and stretch into your favourite asana for morning yoga on the manicured grounds of Casa Loma. The session includes a concert by kirtan yoga band Guara Shakt post-sun salutation.

Be moved by the tragic love story between a geisha and a U.S. naval officer in the Canadian Opera Company’s opening performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Sunday: Hear Margaret Atwood at the International Festival of Authors.

Sunday: Hear Margaret Atwood at the International Festival of Authors.

Sunday, September 27th
Sing along to “Octopus’s Garden” as Canadian artists belt out classic Beatles tunes in the Art of Time Ensemble’s special presentation of the Fab Four’s final album, Abbey Road.

At the nationwide book and magazine festival The Word on the Street, hear acclaimed author Margaret Atwood talk about her latest literary masterpiece, The Year of the Flood.

Rifle through the sample-sale racks to find the perfect one-of-a-kind party frock at The Clothing Show, Canada’s largest weekend-long independent designer and vintage shopping event.

September Editor’s Picks: Entertainment

The Snowbirds (photo by Craig Moy)SEPTEMBER 5 TO 7 Calling all aviation enthusiasts! The Canadian International Air Show impresses with an array of classic and contemporary planes flying high over Toronto and the shores of Lake Ontario. A tradition for 60 years, this year’s event also marks the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada. Among the performers are the beloved Snowbirds (pictured), an iconic Canadian Forces squadron that engages in adrenalin-pumping individual and team aerobatics. Spend the day at Ontario Place, where airplane aficionados can see all the action from the park’s southern shore. 12:30 p.m.; call 416-263-3650 for more details

The KillersSEPTEMBER 6 The Killers are a hard band to classify: Brandon Flowers, their enigmatic singer and keyboard player, has cited among his influences The Cure, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen and U2. Regardless of genre, these bombastic alternative-new-wave-contemporary-heartland rockers, riding the success of their third album, Day & Age, really know how to put on a show—it must have something to do with their Las Vegas roots. Molson Amphitheatre, 8 p.m., $26.25 to $69.50; call 416-870-8000 or visit Ticketmaster to purchase.

Classic Albums Live recreates Abbey Road at Massey Hall.

Classic Albums Live recreates Abbey Road at Massey Hall.

SEPTEMBER 26 & 27 Much of the recorded output of The Beatles has taken on legendary status in the annals of pop music, but Abbey Road, the last album the Liverpudlian quartet ever recorded, is particularly renowned. Etched onto vinyl in 1969, 40 years later it still sounds fresh and exciting. This month, two distinct concerts commemorate the album’s longevity.

> On one of the city’s most venerated stages, Classic Albums Live reproduces Abbey Road with a 17-piece band, assembled to ensure the multilayered masterpiece gets the treatment it deserves. Massey Hall, 8 p.m., $39.50 to $49.50; call 416-872-4255 or click here for tickets.

> The Art of Time Ensemble brings together a diverse group of performers—including Sarah Slean and Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida—to interpret Abbey Road tracks like “Something” and “Octopus’s Garden.” Enwave Theatre, 8 p.m., $25 to $36; call 416-973-4000 or navigate here to buy.