Classical 2010 Season Preview

August 2010

Aug 10 – 23 ANNA NETREBKO returns to the Salzburg Festival to sing the doomed heroine in Bartlett Sher’s production of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette. Last season she worked with the Tony Award-winning director on his production of Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Met. The performances mark the first time the Russian soprano will sing Juliette, now one of her signature roles, at the Austrian summer festival. [Salzburg, Austria; Aug 10, 13, 16, 20, 23]

Aug 13 – 16 Pianist PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD explores the influence of traditional works on contemporary music at this summer’s Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. His focus will be on the the music of J.S. Bach, which he will present alongside modern music by György Ligeti, Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, George Benjamin, Harrison Birtwistle, and Georgian vocal music. Joining Aimard for these concerts will be musicians of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Ensemble Basiani, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) with conductor Ludovic Morlot. [Aug 13: Kaplan Penthouse; Aug 14, 15: ATH; Aug 16: Rose Theater]

Aug 17, Sept 14 CHANTICLEER’s new recording, A Chanticleer Christmas, is pre-released on and on Aug 17; the album’s worldwide release is on Sep 14. A collection of the best of the group’s American Public Media broadcasts recorded between 2007 and 2009, the new album conjures up family Christmases of yesteryear, when holiday music radio broadcasts enriched the celebrations. The featured repertoire spans the centuries, from Renaissance gems to popular carols, including the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble’s most popular encore, Biebl’s “Ave Maria”.

Aug 31 NAÏVE releases a new all-Chopin disc from Lise de la Salle, featuring the Piano Concerto No. 2, with the Staatskapelle Dresden under Luisi, and four ballades; in Oct (6, 7, 8), De la Salle plays Gershwin’s Piano Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra under Vänskä.


Sep 13, 15 Grammy Award-winning mezzo SUSAN GRAHAM embarks on a European tour with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, starting in Lucerne, Switzerland. [Sep 13: Lucerne, Switzerland; Sep 15: Milan, Italy]

Sep 14 Grammy-winning sextet EIGHTH BLACKBIRD performs Steve Reich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet, which was written for and premiered by the ensemble, on a new all-Reich recording, released worldwide on Nonesuch.

Sep 17 – 24 MUSIC MAKES A CITY: A LOUISVILLE ORCHESTRA STORY opens at New York City’s Quad Cinema. Directed by native Louisvillian and filmmaker Owsely Brown III and Jerome Hiler, and narrated by singer/songwriter Will Oldham, Music Makes a City tells the story of one of the most ambitious artistic projects in American history. In 1948, a struggling, semi-professional orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky embarked on a journey that would make the city an international cultural destination and an unlikely home for avant-garde classical music. Guided by the vision of Louisville’s charismatic mayor, Charles Farnsley, the orchestra commissioned new works from composers from around the world; over the years, nearly every living composer of note would be commissioned and recorded. As Farnsley predicted, as the orchestra’s reputation grew, so did the cultural and economic life of Louisville. No American orchestra has since matched the scope of the Louisville Orchestra’s ambitious project. [Sep 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; Quad Cinema]

Sep 21 Violinist GIL SHAHAM performs at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s season-opening concert. Shaham will join his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, CMSLC co-artistic directors pianist Wu Han and cellist David Finckel, violists Paul Neubauer and Richard O’Neill, and cellist Sophie Shao in a program featuring the music of Haydn, Dohnányi, and Brahms. [ATH]

Sep 22 ALAN GILBERT opens his second season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic with a nationally-televised gala concert featuring works by Richard Strauss and Paul Hindemith, as well as the U.S. premiere – with the Philharmonic and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra – of Wynton Marsalis’s Swing Symphony. The new work by the famed trumputer and composer was created specially for this occasion and draws on the full tonal and rhythmic forces of these two powerful ensembles. [AFH]

Sep 28 For NAÏVE, Marc Minkowski conducts an all-Handel album, including the complete Water Music, with his ensemble Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble. On another new release from naïve, David Greilsammer presents the world-premiere recording of Nadia Boulanger’s Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, which was first performed in 1912 and then not heard again until Greilsammer played it last season in Paris. Also featured on the recording is Alexandre Tansman’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (1927) and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (1924). In mid-Feb, Greilsammer makes his San Francisco Symphony debut playing Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 5 & 8, works he has also recorded for Naïve, with Bernard Labadie (Feb 17, 18, 19).


Oct (date tba) New recordings this month from EMI CLASSICS. Celebrating Sir Simon Rattle’s 30th anniversary of recording exclusively with the label, EMI Classics releases his high-spirited take on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, with the Berlin Philharmonic, and also completes its Simon Rattle Edition with the release of two new generously-packaged boxed sets focusing on Second Viennese School composers (Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern) and Beethoven’s complete symphonies; the series – 81 CDs in all – was first introduced in 2007 and offers a fresh hearing of many previously deleted treasures. Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin is soloist and, for the first time, conducts from the keyboard on a new recording of Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 20 & 27; his partner is the Kremerata Baltica. Also this month, EMI Classics releases two operas on DVD. The first is Puccini’s La rondine from the Met production by Nicholas Joël filmed in Jan 2009, conducted by Marco Armiliato, and starring Angela Gheorghiu, Lisette Oropesa, Roberto Alagna, Marius Brenciu, and Samuel Ramey. Gounod’s Faust from London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is conducted by Maurizio Benini and features an all-star cast led by Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, and Bryn Terfel.

Oct (date tba) Vanguard Classics releases the second volume in its cycle of MICHAEL HERSCH’s complete works for solo strings. After the much acclaimed release of Hersch’s Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 for Unaccompanied Cello, Vanguard follows up with Hersch’s complete works for violin, with Miranda Cuckson performing.

Oct 1 – 30 Baritone THOMAS HAMPSON stars in a new production of Macbeth, opening the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s season. Reviewing one of his previous performances of this role, the Financial Times observed, “His Macbeth was fascinating, delving into the subconscious to the point where every nerve-ending of the character was sliced open to view.” [Chicago, IL; Oct 1, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 30]

Oct 5 Deutsche Grammophon releases PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD’S new landmark recording of Ravel’s Piano Concertos, with the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez. The two French masters have a long and rich personal and professional history, which started when Boulez selected Aimard as the original pianist and keyboard player for his Ensemble Intercontemporain in 1976. They continue to collaborate regularly today on the world’s most important stages. Aimard rounds out the recording with Ravel’s haunting Miroirs for solo piano.

Oct 7 – 10 Gilmore Award-winning pianist KIRILL GERSTEIN joins the Cleveland Orchestra, led by Semyon Bychkov, in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. [Cleveland, OH; Oct 7, 8, 9, 10]

Oct 7 – 23 DEBORAH VOIGT makes her Washington National Opera debut as the sensuous and psychopathic Salome. Described as the leading Salome of her generation and “one of the greatest Strauss interpreters of all time” (Wall Street Journal), she will perform the title role in a new production by Francesca Zambello. [Washington, DC; Oct 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 23]

Oct 9 – Nov 6 MARC-ANDRE DALBAVIE’s new opera Gesualdo receives its world premiere at Zurich Opera, with the composer conducting. The opera depicts the controversial and colorful life of 16th-century Italian composer and nobleman Carlo Gesualdo, from the time of the brutal murder of his cuckolding wife and her lover by Gesualdo’s own hand. The libretto is by Richard Millet and the production by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, who recently created the Met’s new Hamlet. [Zurich, Switzerland; Oct 9, 14, 19, 23, 29, 31; Nov 6]

Oct 11 – 30 RENÉ PAPE delivers his American title role debut in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Boris Godunov. After performances of the role in Berlin, the Financial Times described Pape as the “consummate Boris, terrifying yet pitiable, a complex and charismatic ruler whose greatest battle is with himself.” [Met; Oct 11, 15, 18, 23, 25, 30]

Oct 12 Pianist JEREMY DENK, described by the New Yorker’s Alex Ross as “the leading humorist-intellectual of the classical music blogosphere,” returns to Carnegie Hall with Charles Dutoit and the Philadelphia Orchestra for a performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major. [CH]

Oct 12 On the same day as his Carnegie Hall performance (see above), JEREMY DENK releases his first solo recording, Jeremy Denk Plays Ives, which includes Charles Ives’s Piano Sonatas 1 & 2 (Concord), on his Think Denk Media label. Denk has a deep commitment to the music of Charles Ives, and has famously paired the composer’s mammoth Concord Sonata with Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” in his recent recital at Carnegie Hall, which the New York Times called “thrilling” and “dynamic ”. Denk explains: “People ask me after concerts why I perform Ives—why I’m drawn to him—and the answer proves difficult to communicate at your average cocktail party. It’s because the music is brilliant, inventive, tender, edgy, wild, original, witty, haunting.”

Oct 22 – Nov 5 Maltese tenor JOSEPH CALLEJA takes on the role of Pinkerton in Houston Grand Opera’s new, season-opening production of Madama Butterfly. [Houston, TX; Oct 22, 24, 30; Nov 2, 5]

Oct 22 – Nov 7 THE DALLAS OPERA opens its second season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House with performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Tony Award-winning baritone Paulo Szot sings the title role in John Pascoe’s production, conducted by Nicolae Moldoveanu. [Dallas, TX; Oct 22, 24, 27, 30; Nov 5, 7]

Oct 26 Praised by the New York Times for her “clear, soaring tone, virtuosic technique, and elegant phrasing,” trumpeter Alison Balsom performs Italian concertos on a new recording from EMI CLASSICS. In Nov she plays repertoire from her new album in a recital at the Schubert Club (Nov 9, Minneapolis) and then a few weeks later in concert at New York’s Peoples’ Symphony Concerts (Nov 20). Also on the label, LEIF OVE ANDSNES joins forces again with conductor Antonio Pappano for two more of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos (Nos. 3 & 4). The new album, with the London Symphony Orchestra, completes the cycle; their previous Rachmaninov release, with the Berlin Philharmonic, was both critically acclaimed and a Billboard best seller.

Oct 26 A new recording is issued on the NAÏVE label. Anne Sofie von Otter makes her debut on the label with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau in a new recording featuring pop, jazz, and standards, including songs by Mehldau. The artists perform this repertoire at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey on Feb 17 and at Zankel Hall on Feb 19.

Oct 27 In the second of its new “Met Mastersingers” series, the METROPOLITAN OPERA GUILD honors the Met’s new Boris Godunov, RENÉ PAPE, who will be on stage for an informal discussion of his life and career with the Guild’s Paul Gruber at New York City’s Town Hall. Videos of many of his most celebrated performances will be shown, as well as a new video profile created especially for this event. Pape will sing a few of his favorite songs. [Town Hall]

Oct 29 VIRGIN CLASSICS recording artist Christina Pluhar and her early music ensemble L’Arpeggiata perform the music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries – repertoire heard on their debut release, Teatro d’Amore, for the label – at Carnegie Hall, with guest artist French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky. [CH]

Oct 29 – Feb 19 ANNA NETREBKO reprises the role of Norina in Otto Schenk’s production of Don Pasquale at the Metropolitan Opera. Reviewing her 2006 performances, the New York Times described her opening scene: “Ms. Netrebko, her rich voice filling the auditorium, her radiant top notes stopping your breath, struts about her terrace, even turning a somersault on the lounge chair, looking like someone you don’t want to cross. There was so much intensity in her singing you would have thought she was performing Lucia’s ‘Mad Scene’. The house, understandably, went wild.” [Met; Oct 29; Nov 2, 6, 10, 13, 18; Feb 4, 8, 11, 14, 19]


Nov (date tba) New releases from VIRGIN CLASSICS and EMI CLASSICS. From the former, soprano Diana Damrau sings orchestral songs by Richard Strauss, backed up by Strauss conductor Christian Thielemann and Strauss’s “home town” orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic. On EMI Classics, the much-talked-about Ebène Quartet comes out with a crossover album featuring surprise special guests.

Nov 12 ALAN GILBERT and the New York Philharmonic are joined by Midori for one of the orchestra’s rare but compelling Carnegie Hall programs, featuring Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Adams’s seminal Harmonielehre. [CH]

Nov 14 The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC presents the world premiere of MICHAEL HERSCH’s Two Pieces for Cello and Piano, with the composer accompanying cellist Daniel Gaisford. Also on the program is the Washington premiere of Hersch’s Sonata No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello. [Washington, DC]

Nov 16 VIRGIN CLASSICS recording artist David Fray gives his Carnegie Hall recital debut in Zankel Hall, playing Bach and Schubert, composers who featured prominently on the pianist’s first two acclaimed solo recordings for the label. [ZH]

Nov 19 JOSEPH CALLEJA returns to Toronto to present a recital of opera arias at Roy Thompson Hall. The Maltese tenor made his Canadian debut ten years ago, when he was only 22 years old, as Rodolfo in La bohème with the Canadian Opera Company. This performance marks his Canadian recital debut. [Toronto, ON]

Nov 19, 20 ALAN GILBERT and the New York Philharmonic present two CONTACT! concerts, featuring the world premiere of a new work by the orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence, Magnus Lindberg, and Gérard Grisey’s Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil, the French composer’s final work, which premiered in 1999 soon after his death the previous year. [Nov 19: Symphony Space; Nov 20: Met]

Nov 20 Grammy Award-winning pianist YEFIM BRONFMAN teams up with his longtime friend the violinist and violist Pinchas Zuckerman for a program of Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms sonatas at Carnegie Hall. [CH]

Nov 27 – Dec 23 CHANTICLEER starts its annual holiday tour at George Mason University in Virginia. Tour stops for “A Chanticleer Christmas”, one of the group’s most beloved programs, include multiple performances at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, concerts in Chicago, and a return to LA’s Walt Disney Hall. [Nov 27: Fairfax, VA; Nov 30, Dec 1: Met Museum, NYC; Dec 3: Westport, CT; Dec 5: East Lansing, MI; Dec 6, 7: Chicago, IL; Dec 9: Palo Alto, CA; Dec 10: Oakland, CA; Dec 12: Napa, CA; Dec 13: Petaluma, CA; Dec 14: Sacramento, CA; Dec 15: Los Angeles, CA; Dec 17: Berkeley, CA; Dec 18, 19: San Francisco, CA; Dec 21: Carmel, CA; Dec 22: Santa Clara, CA; Dec 23: Livermore, CA]

Nov 29 Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux sings French opera arias on a new recording issued today by NAÏVE, including works by Massenet, Berlioz, and Bizet, with the Orchestre National de France.

Nov 30 EIGHTH BLACKBIRD performs songs from the music-theater piece Slide (composed by and also featuring Rinde Eckert and Steve Mackey) on a new CD – the ensemble’s fifth on the Chicago-based Cedille label – to be released today.


Dec (date tba) EMI CLASSICS’ new recording of Rossini’s Stabat Mater features conductor Antonio Pappano leading a stellar cast that includes ANNA NETREBKO, JOYCE DiDONATO, Lawrence Brownlee, and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, and Italy’s best-known orchestra, Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and its chorus. Pappano is the music director of the orchestra, one of Europe’s oldest, and has partnered with it on a number of releases for EMI CLASSICS, including a recent successful recording of Verdi’s Requiem. Rising star pianist David Fray’s new offering from VIRGIN CLASSICS is Mozart’s Concertos Nos. 20, 22, and 25 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Jaap van Sweden. Also on EMI CLASSICS, Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang releases a new recording of the most famous concerto for guitar, Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, performed with the Orquestra Sinfonica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, the same orchestra that premiered the work more than 70 years ago in 1939. This concerto is programmed with the world premiere recording of Stephen Goss’s new guitar concerto and rarely recorded transcriptions of Albeniz’s Espana suite.

Dec 1 – 4 Norwegian pianist LEIF OVE ANDSNES brings his four-city Risor Chamber Music Festival tour to an end at Carnegie Hall with four programs exploring a wide variety of music from the classical to the contemporary. Andsnes, taking his final lap as one of the festival’s long-time artistic directors, is featured with rising and established stars who have been associated with the festival. Highlights include Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet; Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor; Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (arranged by Schoenberg) and other songs, performed by soprano Measha Brueggergosman; and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 with Andsnes as soloist. Marc-André Hamelin and Andsnes will also perform the two-piano version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. [CH; Dec 1, 2, 3, 4]

Dec 1 – 8 PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD embarks on a four-city North American recital tour, playing Ravel’s Miroirs and works by Chopin and Messiaen. The tour concludes at Carnegie Hall on Dec 8. [Dec 1: Los Angeles, CA; Dec 3: Philadelphia, PA; Dec 5: Chicago, IL; Dec 8: CH]

Dec 1 – 11 JOSEPH CALLEJA sings Rodolfo in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of La bohème. He recently appeared at the Met in his role debut as the title character in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann; the New York Times wrote that Calleja “gave his all, singing with ardor, stamina, and poignant vocal colorings and winning a rousing ovation.” This is the first of three roles the Maltese tenor performs at the house during the 2010-11 season. [Met; Dec 1, 4, 8, 11]

Dec 4 – May 29 After giving the work its world premiere last season in Atlanta – where it was described by Pierre Ruhe as “showy, exuberant, beautifully crafted,” EIGHTH BLACKBIRD makes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s new concerto On a Wire a staple of its season; from Dec to May, the sextet performs the piece with several orchestras – including the Toronto Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra – in Vermont, Akron, Toronto, Michigan, and Cleveland. The premiere performance of On a Wire with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was recorded for a future CD release on Telarc. [Dec 4: Burlington VT; Jan 14: Akron, OH; March 10: Toronto, ON; Apr 13: Allendale, MI; Apr 15, 16: Muskegon, MI; May 29: Cleveland, OH]

Dec 6 – Jan 8 DEBORAH VOIGT stars as Minnie – in her house role debut – in the centennial run of Puccini’s Gold Rush extravaganza La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) at the Metropolitan Opera (where Toscanini premiered the work 100 years ago to the week). After making her role debut as Minnie with the San Francisco Opera in the summer, she stars as the the pistol-packing, poker-playing barmaid at the Met from Dec 6 to Jan 8, and soon afterwards heads west – still wearing her cowgirl hat – for the Jan-Feb 2011 production at Lyric Opera of Chicago. [Met; Dec 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 27, 30; Jan 3, 8]

Dec 7 The METROPOLITAN OPERA GUILD presents its 75th anniversary luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. For three quarters of a century, the Guild’s annual luncheon has honored the great artists of opera, from Bruno Walter and Marjorie Lawrence in its first years to Kiri Te Kanawa, Franco Zeffirelli, Plácido Domingo, and Frederica von Stade more recently. To mark the occasion of its 75th anniversary, the artists will this year honor the Guild: a large contingent of current Met stars will participate in a musical celebration of this milestone, and two short videos will highlight the past, present, and future of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. [Waldorf=Astoria]

Dec 7 – Jan 2 After his long-awaited role debut as Wotan in a new production of Das Rheingold at La Scala in May 2010, which Die Welt described as “a wonderful role debut, which will change the perception of this Wagner character for decades to come,” RENÉ PAPE returns to La Scala for the second part of Wagner’s great Ring cycle, in performances of Die Walküre. [Milan, Italy; Dec 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 28; Jan 2]

Dec 9 Following her acclaimed Montreal performance earlier in the year of Alban Berg’s rarely heard Seven Early Songs, SUSAN GRAHAM performs the work for the first time in New York at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, led by Edo de Waart. [CH]

Dec 10 – 12 On the heels of his critically acclaimed CD Air. a baroque journey, DANIEL HOPE presents an evening of Baroque music with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall. While in New York, Hope also gives a concert with pianist Wu Han at the Peoples’ Symphony. [Dec 10, 12: ATH; Dec 11: Washington Irving High School]

Dec 17, 18 ALAN GILBERT and the New York Philharmonic present another program of compelling new music in their CONTACT! series, this time offering the world premieres of new works by James Matheson and Jay Alan Yim, as well as the U.S. premiere of Julian Anderson’s Comedy of Change. [Dec 17: Met Museum; Dec 18: Symphony Space]

Dec 28 Violinists DANIEL HOPE and Jaime Laredo are the soloists in Brahms’s Double Concerto with the New York String Orchestra, with Laredo also acting as conductor, at Carnegie Hall. [CH]

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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