A dreamy night with Fleetwood Mac, a bold Russian ballet and six other things worth seeing, hearing and doing in Toronto this week
A dreamy night with Fleetwood Mac
1Earlier this year, Fleetwood Mac parted ways with long-time guitarist Lindsey Buckingham over a scheduling conflict. Buckingham was the creative mind behind some of the band’s most iconic songs—including “Go Your Own Way” and “Never Going Back Again”—but this isn’t the first time the group has changed dynamics over its 50-year run: founder Peter Green said farewell to the band in the ’70s and Stevie Nicks took a detour as a soloist in the ’90s. In Buckingham’s place, the band subs in former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House frontman Neil Finn for a show that includes all of the hits, paired with nostalgic tracks from their early days. Monday, November 5. $74–$1,200. Scotiabank Arena.
A true tale of internet prophecy
2In the 1960s, U of T professor Marshall McLuhan became the world’s most influential media theorist, coining the phrase, “The medium is the message.” Today, he’s also regarded as the prophet who predicted the wonders and perils of the internet. In Jason Sherman’s controversial biodrama, The Message an aging McLuhan (played by R. H. Thomson), disabled by a stroke, attempts to complete one final visionary work to save humanity from the threat of modern technology. Sherman’s play was supposed to debut in 2003 but was cancelled after a threatened lawsuit from the McLuhan estate. Opens Wednesday, November 7. $30. Tarragon Theatre.
The 17th century’s greatest hits
3Between his days as a diplomat, a priest and a singer, Agostino Steffani composed some of the most captivating music of the 17th century. To reintroduce his work to a modern audience, Tafelmusik is taking a “greatest hits” approach with Drama and Devotion: mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó sings arias from several of his once-popular operas, and the ever-reliable chamber choir will perform “Stabat Mater,” the piece that Steffani hailed as his best, which describes Mary’s grief at her son’s crucifixion. Thursday, November 8 to Sunday, November 11. $30–$99. Jeanne Lamon Hall.
An acrobatic spectacle
4Renowned Australian choreographer Yaron Lifschitz’s latest show, Humans, combines dance with acrobatics to explore the limits of strength and flexibility. There are no elaborate backdrops or flashy lights; a bare stage showcases the adrenaline-fuelled stunts, which include human jump rope, extreme leapfrog and human pyramids. Their movements flow from graceful to extreme, showcasing the most astounding things that human bodies are capable of. Friday, November 9. $62–$157. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
A bold ballet
5Legendary choreographer John Neumeier—who choreographed the National Ballet’s beloved Nijinsky—returns to Toronto with Anna Karenina, a modern take on Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel. Neumeir’s adaptation, performed over two acts, is set in the present day, and the score combines Tchaikovsky with works from German-Soviet composer Alfred Schnittke and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). Saturday, November 10 to Sunday, November 18. $71–$265. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
A wartime masterpiece
6English composer Benjamin Britten—a committed pacifist and conscientious objector during World War II—wrote The War Requiem, an emotional masterpiece to mark the 1962 consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral after the original building was destroyed during a bombing raid. In a brilliant choral gambit, he combined the traditional Latin mass for the dead with poignant anti-war poems by Wilfred Owen, who was killed in battle one week before the armistice brought World War I to an end. Combining power and outrage with intimate poetic details, The War Requiem is a sprawling composition worthy of almost every resource the Toronto Symphony Orchestra can offer: a full orchestra, a chamber orchestra, a full choir, a boys’ choir, three vocal soloists and an organ. Thursday, November 8 and Saturday, November 10. $35.50–$131.75. Roy Thomson Hall.
A sprawling showcase for indie artists
7Now in its 16th year, Indie Week returns to Toronto for its biggest year yet, featuring more than 250 artists from 16 countries, including Chilean hip-hop artist Bubaseta and Latvian rock band Carnival Youth. In addition to performances, Indie Week hosts workshops, one-on-one mentorship sessions and a massive Indie101 Music + Tech Conference that teaches artists how to make a dent in the marketplace. Tuesday, November 6 to Sunday, November 11. Passes $60–$120. Various venues.
A night with Young the Giant
8In their earlier days, Young the Giant took a mellower approach to music, focusing on hummable soft rock. But the Trump era inspired them to take on a more political tone. For their 2016 album, Home of the Strange, the band, which includes members of Indian, Persian and Québécois descent, reflected on their immigrant identities and the concept of “America.” For their North American tour, the Orange Country alt-rockers perform alongside Canadian singer Lights to promote their newest release, 2018’s Mirror Master. Thursday, November 8. $35–$45. Rebel.