A Tchaikovsky ballet, a massive flower market and five other things to see, hear, do and read in Toronto this week
A modernist Tchaikovsky ballet
1In the 19th century, Tchaikovsky was one of many artists who had to conceal their identities as gay men—failure to do so would have cost them everything. Boris Eifman, Russia’s most renowned contemporary choreographer, honours the prolific composer in this modern ballet that portrays two sides of Tchaikovsky: his brilliance and his psychological torment. His inner struggle, embodied by an impish demon who stalks the composer unsettlingly across the stage, is reframed as the inspiration for his greatest works, and the mixtape-style score features beloved passages from masterpieces like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. Thursday, May 9 to Saturday, May 11. $62.75–$166.50. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
A fancy food festival
2Tastemaker Toronto, a next-level dinner party hosted by some of the city’s top restaurateurs, ditches fancy tablecloths and dessert forks in favour of DJs, craft cocktails and new tasting menus inspired by spring (think sea charcuterie and pickled pineapple flatbread). The all-star chef lineup includes the Drake’s Alexandra Feswick, Alo’s Patrick Kriss, Kojin’s Paula Navarrete, Alma’s Anna Chen and others, who will be on-hand to chat with guests about their creations. Friday, May 10 to Sunday, May 12. $59.71–$79.08. Evergreen Brickworks.
A gender-neutral memoir
3In May 2017, Joshua M. Ferguson applied to have their gender removed from their Ontario birth certificate, but it wasn’t an easy process. Ferguson’s application was plagued by delays while the provincial government worked on a policy review. One year later, after filing a claim with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Ferguson finally received a new birth certificate with an “X” in lieu of “male” or “female.” Their debut memoir, Me, Myself, They, reflects on a lifelong struggle with discrimination and erasure. By recounting traumatic experiences with gender conversion therapy, bullying and depression, Ferguson takes a closer look at how we think about gender and sex, making a compelling case for a non-binary future. Tuesday, May 7. $22.95. House of Anansi Press.
A music marathon with Dave Grohl
4Avid concert-goers can pack in back-to-back shows at the 38th annual Canadian Music Week, which brings together some of the country’s top talent (including Tokyo Police Club, Kongos and Born Ruffians) for a series of genre-spanning performances and talks. Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl will also take the stage with an unexpected guest: his mom. The two will sit down for an intimate interview that chronicles Dave’s journey from a guitar-loving kid to global rock icon (with more than a few embarrassing childhood anecdotes). Monday, May 6 to Sunday, May 12. $75–$150. Various locations.
A massive flower market
5After nearly six months of hibernating from snowy hell, Toronto is finally in full bloom—especially on Queen West. The city’s annual flower market hosts dozens of local florists, gardeners and ceramics makers to transform Toronto’s streets into a colourful plant lovers’ haven. If you swing by, make sure to stop and smell the roses. Opens Saturday, May 11. Free. CAMH, West Queen West.
A grand Bach tribute
6Bach’s Magnificat—Mary’s song of praise when she learned she was going to be the mother of the Lord—opens with a choral explosion of joy and closes with a magisterial Credo. The performance puts all of Tafelmusik’s strengths on display: impeccable choral singing, an ebullient orchestra and melodious arias by a fine quartet of soloists. Also on the program is a debut performance of a mass by Jan Dismas Zelenka, one of Bach’s favourite composers. Thursday, May 9 to Sunday, May 12. $65–$144. Koerner Hall.
An outsiders’ love story
7Toronto-based author Anthony De Sa’s latest novel, Children of the Moon, is set in rural Tanzania and Portuguese-controlled Mozambique in the 1950s. The protagonist, Pó, who has albinism, has spent her entire life as an outsider. Her tribe sees her condition as a curse. More than 1,000 kilometres to the south, the adopted son of a Portuguese man and a Makonde woman is caught between two communities. When a civil war erupts, fate brings the two strangers together, and they feel a sense of belonging for the first time. Tuesday, May 7. $32.95. Penguin Random House Canada.