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four seasons centre for the performing arts

Hot Date: Cinderella’s Moving Fable

NOVEMBER 11 TO 20 A beloved fairytale reaches great heights on stage as the National Ballet of Canada presents Cinderella. Although this timeless tale is set to classic music by Sergei Prokofiev, the production is a thoroughly modern one thanks to the inventive and enthralling choreography of James Kudelka. In this version, the dancers’ movements emphasize their characters’ stories of personal growth through the power of love. Combined with stunning sets and costumes, this beautiful ballet will be a sight to behold. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, various times, $12 to $201; call 416-345-9595 or navigate here for tickets.

Weekend Roundup, October 8 to 10

Toronto’s fun doesn’t stop just because the temperature drops outdoors! There are plenty of new exhibits, shows and performances which will guarantee a good time for everyone this weekend!

Friday: Be wowed by iD (photo by Valérie Remise/Theatre T & Cie)

Friday, October 8th
Catch the entertaining, adults-only puppet show, Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy at the Factory Theatre! When puppeteer Billy Twinkle gets fired from his job on a cruise ship, he must perform his life story as a puppet show to rediscover his love for the craft. It’s a must-see performance that has been garnering rave reviews!

Cirque Éloize has created another masterpiece! Now showing at the Sony Centre For the Performing Arts, iD is filled with jaw-dropping acts  that combine theatre, dance, music, and circus arts. With lots of energy and risky stunts, this innovative show brings plenty of visual effects to make for an unforgettable evening.

Trick or treat! Although Halloween is a few weeks away, visitors to Canada’s Wonderland should prepare to scream as this famous amusement park is once again transformed into the largest haunted attraction in the country. The annual Halloween Haunt offers tons of spooky attractions like haunted mazes and the Psycho Circus. Plus, experience all your favourite rides in complete darkness!

Saturday: Hear classics performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, October 9th
Enjoy a night of legendary music as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs George Gershwin’s legendary Rhapsody in Blue. This all-American concert will also feature Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Leonard Bernstein’s overture to Candide. Head to Roy Thomson Hall for this powerful performance!

Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida has returned to the Canadian Opera Company stage! This tragic opera tells the forbidden love story between an Ethiopian slave girl and an Egyptian king in a time of war. It’s a stirring show, on now at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts.

The Fryderyk Chopin and Romantic Piano exhibit opens today at the Royal Ontario Museum. Showcasing numerous instruments, costumes and original scores from the Romantic Era, the show celebrates the bicentennial of this amazing composer’s birth.

Sunday: See mythical beasts at the Ontario Science Centre

Sunday, October 10th
Are you fan of all things fantasy? Head to the Ontario Science Centre to see their newest exhibit Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids. On display is an unbelievable range of sculptures, fossils, creatures and characters that have played a large role in popular myths and fables. You (literally) can’t miss the 40-metre long Chinese dragon that stretches along this exhibit!

The Arts at the Heart market takes over the busy Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend as hundreds of vendors display their handmade wares for sale. Find unique and colourful apparel, fashionable jewelery, belts, accessories and so much more.

It’s your last chance to check out Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel! This unique production brings together incredible circus acts, colourful costumes, vibrant dance routines, and a hilarious story. The final performance is tonight at the Canon Theatre.

Hot Date: New Aida Debuts

Sondra Radvanovsky and Scott Hendricks in Aida (photo by Michael Cooper)

OCTOBER 2 TO NOVEMBER 5 The Canadian Opera Company opens its latest season with Aida, one of opera’s most spectacular stories. Giuseppe Verdi’s tour de force tells the tale of a forbidden love between an Egyptian king and an Ethiopian slave set against a backdrop of war, jealousy and political intrigue. With soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in the lead role and acclaimed director Tim Albery at the helm, this new production is sure to be a stunning affair. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $28 to $62; call 416-363-8231 or visit here for showtimes and to buy.

Weekend Roundup, August 20 to 22

The Canadian National Exhibition opens this weekend, but it’s hardly the only game in town. There’s plenty of entertainment for everyone!

Friday: Be touched by the timeless musical, South Pacific

Friday, August 20
Get a major dose of theatre tonight at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, which offers three highly anticipated plays on its various stages. The main event is the debut of Window on Toronto, in which artists from Soulpepper Theatre Company’s academy examine the city from the perspective of a hot-dog vendor. The evening also offers preview performances of Joe Orton’s bold and witty What the Butler Saw, as well as Sharon Pollock’s award-winning drama, Doc.

The play’s the thing at the Four Seasons Centre, too! Take your loved ones to witness a triumphant re-staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. The heart-rending musical romance has received glowing reviews from Toronto critics and audiences.

Head to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre to see a Canadian folk-rock institution, as ebullient East Coast band Great Big Sea is in concert tonight. Get to the venue early for a real treat: emerging all-female country group Ladies of the Canyon opens the show.

Celebrate Cuba with the third annual Havana Cultura festival, which showcases that country’s music, arts and food all weekend long. Tonight, hear popular Cuban musician Julio Cuza, see a cigar-rolling demonstration, and much more. (more…)

Hot Date: Love and War in the South Pacific

photo by Bruce Bennett

AUGUST 12 TO SEPTEMBER 5 Set during the turmoil of World War II, two parallel love stories comprise the Tony Award–winning Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific. Amidst a wartime of atmosphere of racial prejudice, nurse Nellie Forbush struggles with her feelings for plantation owner Emile de Becque, while Joe Cable, an American marine Lieutenant, finds himself falling for Liat, the daughter of the local grass-skirt seller. Internationally renowned standards such as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair,” provide a tuneful score. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $28 to $200; call 416-644-3665 or visit here to reserve.

Hot Date: West Side Steps

Dancers perform the West Side Story Suite (photo by Bruce Zinger)

June 4 to 13 A commentary on prejudice and intolerance woven into a tale of star-crossed love is the heart of West Side Story. This month the National Ballet of Canada distills the vital essence of that beloved musical with its West Side Story Suite, which offers highlights from Jerome Robbins’ thrilling choreography set to the original score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The performance is followed by Opus 19/The Dreamer—also by Robbins—and an untitled world-premiere piece by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Wednesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $20 to $200; call 416-345-9595 to reserve.

Hot Date: Royal Affair

A Dallas Opera Company production of Maria Stuarda (photo by Karen Almond)

MAY 1 TO 30 Delve into the dark intrigue of the Tudor court in Gaetano Donizetti’s thrilling Maria Stuarda, presented by the Canadian Opera Company. Seething with jealousy and thoughts of vengeance upon discovering that her beloved Earl of Leicester is in love with her cousin Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland, an enraged Queen Elizabeth issues a death warrant for her rival. Director Stephen Lawless and sopranos Serena Farnocchia and Alexandrina Pendatchanska bring Donizetti’s sumptuous melodies and rousing ensembles to life with dazzling acoustics in this bitter battle. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $62 to $292; call 416-363-8231 or click here to order and for showtimes.

Hot Date: Stormy Sailing

The Four Seasons Centre hosts The Flying Dutchman this month.

OPENS APRIL 24 Spring is a time of rebirth, and this month the Canadian Opera Company breathes new life into Richard Wagner’s haunting masterpiece, The Flying Dutchman. Watch as baritone Evgeny Nikitin embodies the role of the legendary title character, who is condemned by the devil to sail the seas until he can be redeemed by the love of a faithful woman. Director Christopher Alden originally teamed with the COC in 1996 to bring his iconoclastic interpretation of Dutchman to the stage; he returns to helm the German-language opus that is certain to move even the hardest of hearts. Four Seasons Centre, 7:30 p.m., $62 to $292; call 416-363-8231 or click here for tickets.

Hot Date: Swoon for Swan Lake

The National Ballet of Canada's Swan Lake (photo by David Cooper)

MARCH 11 TO 21
Ask any budding ballerina to make a list of her dream roles and Princess Odette from Swan Lake is bound to be on it. And for good reason—the haunting strains of Tchaikovsky’s score and the sensual grace required of the dancers never fail to cast a spell on audiences. The National Ballet of Canada presents the 19th-century masterpiece with choreography by James Kudelka, whose renowned interpretation highlights the tragic implications of this tale of doomed love between a prince and a princess who has been transformed into a swan. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $20 to $210; call 416-345-9595 or navigate here for times and tickets.

Hot Date: Opera’s Otello

Otello (photo by Catherine Ashmore).

FEBRUARY 3 TO 28 One of Shakespeare’s most heart-wrenching tragedies is given a musical treatment in performances of Otello by the Canadian Opera Company.
A magnificently demanding score by composer Giuseppe Verdi enhances the drama in this devastating tale of love and betrayal. For this revival, directed by Paul Curran and conducted by Paolo Olmi, seasoned tenor Clifton Forbis returns to the Toronto stage in the title role following an acclaimed run as Tristan in Tristan und Isolde at the Opera National de Paris. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $31 to $292; call 416-363-8231 or navigate here for times and tickets.

Hot Date: COC’s Carmen

Larissa Kostiuk in the COC's 2005 production of <em>Carmen<em> (photo by Michael Cooper)

The COC's 2005 production of Carmen (photo by Michael Cooper)

JANUARY 27 TO FEBRUARY 27 No one can dispute the enduring success of composer Georges Bizet’s final work, Carmen, perhaps the best-loved of all 19th-century operas. Set in Seville, Spain, this dramatic revival by the Canadian Opera Company tells of the rich culture of the gypsies and packs a plot riddled with sexual desire, moral ambiguity and a shocking finale. This passionate tale of obsession and love gone awry is sure to entertain. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $68 to $321; call 416-363-8231 or navigate here for times and tickets.

BONUS! On select weekdays, starting at noon, attend one-hour free performances in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, located within the Four Seasons Centre. The special program features concerts and dance recitals by established and up-and-coming artists.

December Hot Date: Two Nutcrackers

The Nutcracker, performed by the National Ballet of Canada (photo by Bruce Zinger)

The Nutcracker, performed by the National Ballet of Canada (photo by Bruce Zinger)

OPENS DECEMBER 12 Let visions of sugarplum fairies dance through your head—and right before your eyes—in the annual holiday performance of The Nutcracker, brought to life by The National Ballet of Canada. The timeless story of siblings Misha and Marie navigating a dream world will enchant young and old alike. Tchaikovsky’s memorable score, paired with James Kudelka’s choreography and libretto and set against the backdrop of Santo Loquasto’s lush backdrops and costumes, creates a magical re-imagining of this classic 19th-century Russian tale. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $33 to $121; call 416-345-9595 or visit the National Ballet’s website for times and tickets.

DECEMBER 12 & 13, 19 & 20 If you just can’t get enough sugar-plum fairies and toy soldiers, this city hosts a second production of The Nutcracker, performed by the Toronto International Ballet Theatre with a global roster of special-guest dancers. Choreographed by Bolshoi-trained ballerina Tatiana Stepanova, this version seeks to pay tribute to the imperial beauty of the original Russian ballet. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, December 12 and 13; Cardinal Carter Theatre, December 19 and 20, $35 to $60; click here for further details and to buy tickets.