Classical Music on the Cheap
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Classical Music on the Cheap

Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann courtesy of the TSO.

If you’re turned off at the idea of classical music concerts because they seem like an activity for the high society rich, think again. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Toronto’s healthy classical music scene on the cheap or for free.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

In an effort to infuse some young blood into its increasingly grey-haired audience demographic, the TSO offers $12 concert tickets to people aged 15 – 29 who become part of the tsoundcheck card program. You can sign up for the free card here or visit the TSO Customer Service Centre at 212 King St. W., 5th floor (across the road from Roy Thomson Hall) to pick one up in person. Then, simply flash the card along with photo ID to order special tsoundcheck tickets that usually become available a week or so before the performance. The card is good for up to two tickets per performance, so you can bring a guest who can be any age. As for the quality of the seats – well, don’t expect front row centre. But at $12 for tickets that routinely cost more than $100, it’s too good to pass up.

If you’re under 30, you can check out the COC in its swanky new digs that the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for a mere $20 per ticket. A block of 150 specially priced Opera for a New Age tickets are reserved for each production and go on sale about a week before opening night. Discount tickets for Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Jan. 31 – Feb.23) and Faust (Feb. 1 – 24) go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Buy them in person at the Four Seasons Centre (145 Queen St. W.) or online using the URL above. There’s a limit of two tickets per person per opera – and bring photo ID.

Canadian Opera Company

National Ballet of Canada

Sharing the Four Seasons Centre with the Canadian Opera Company is the National Ballet of Canada, which offers a limited number of rush tickets for its performances for $30. You can buy them in person from the box office starting 11 a.m. on the day of the show. The 07 seasons kicks of with The Taming of the Shrew which runs March 10 – 18.

Free classical music is happening around Toronto all the time. The University of Toronto Faculty of Music’s Thursdays at Noon series (at Walter Hall in the Edward Johnson Building, 80 Queen’s Park Cresc.) features lectures, solo recitals and ensemble performances from faculty members, students and guests.

There’s also the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in the lobby of the Four Seasons Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, and on the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. Classical, jazz, world music and modern dance is on the program.

Free Recitals!