Critic’s Choice for 2016-17 season

Mon Sep 05, 2016 at 1:31 pm
Daniel Barenboim will conduct the Staatskapelle Berlin in Bruckner's complete symphonies January 19-19 at Carnegie Hall.

Daniel Barenboim will conduct the Staatskapelle Berlin in Bruckner’s complete symphonies January 19-29 at Carnegie Hall.

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Metropolitan Opera
September 26-October 27

The Metropolitan Opera leads off a strong season with a new production of Tristan und Isolde directed by Mariusz Treliński, whose vivid and disturbing staging of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle in 2015 stunned Met audiences. Simon Rattle leads a starry cast featuring Nina Stemme as Isolde, Stuart Skelton as Tristan, Ekaterina Gubanova as Brangäne, René Pape as King Marke, and Evgeny Nikitin as Kurwenal. (ES)

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts Saariaho with the New York Philharmonic
October 13-14 at the Park Avenue Armory

New York Philharmonic Composer-in-Residence Salonen will lead four pieces from Kaija Saariaho, including the New York premieres of D’OM LE VRAI SENS and Circle Map, and the American premiere of Lumiére et Pesanteur. Soprano Jennifer Zetlan and clarinetist Kari Kriikku will be featured, and director Pierre Audi will place the orchestra in the center of the drill hall. (GG)

Danish String Quartet with Torleif Thedéen
October 26 at Zankel Hall

In a stark contrast of the sorrowful and the sublime, the Danish String Quartet offers a pairing of two valedictory pieces, beginning with Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 15, a deep and ruminative expression of grief. Torleif Thedéen joins for Schubert’s blissfully nostalgic String Quartet in C. (ES)

Prototype: Opera/Theater/Now
January 5–15, various venues

Smaller opera companies and productions are becoming increasingly important on the music scene, and the annual Prototype Festival of new works is far and away the place to experience contemporary opera. The fifth edition stands out for both the freshness of the works and the names involved: some of the festival productions will be the NY premiere of Breaking the Waves by Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, adapted from the Lars von Trier film; the world premiere of Mata Hari, by Matt Marks; and Funeral Doom Spiritual, a collaboration between Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, frontman for the experimental metal band Liturgy, and self-described “Negrogothic Devil-worshipping free black man in the blues tradition” M. Lamar. (GG)

Daniel Barenboim/Staatskapelle Berlin–Bruckner Cycle
January 19–29 at Carnegie Hall

A true festival in all but name; a celebration of these great and often profound symphonies that still appear infrequently on orchestra programs in America. Playing them in numerical order, Barenboim will pair all the symphonies, save the Eighth, with Sinfonia concertantes or Piano Concertos from Mozart, the conductor at the piano. Barenboim is one of the finest living Bruckner interpreters, and this is sure to leave a lasting impression. (GG)

Diana Damrau sings the role of Elvira in Bellini's "I Puritani" January xx at the Metropolitan Opera.

Diana Damrau sings the role of Elvira in Bellini’s “I Puritani” February 10-28 at the Metropolitan Opera.

Bellini’s I Puritani at the Metropolitan Opera
February 10–28

It’s hard to imagine a better cast for this winter revival of I Puritani: Diana Damrau as Elvira, Alexey Markov as Riccardo, Luca Pisaroni as Giorgio, and blossoming superstar Javier Camarena as Arturo. Maurizio Benini conducts. (ES)

Massenet’s Werther at the Metropolitan Opera
February 16–March 4

Isabel Leonard, one of the most gifted actors on the operatic stage, adds the dramatic and complex role of Charlotte to her repertoire in a revival of Richard Eyre’s 2014 production. Vittorio Grigolo, whose turn as Des Grieux in Manon was a highlight of the 2015 season, plays the title role, alongside Anna Christy as Sophie, David Bizic as Albert, and Maurizio Muraro as the Bailli. Edward Gardner conducts. (ES)

Three Generations: David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon
April 19 at Zankel Hall

While classical music is fundamentally a celebration of history, there are few real opportunities in the present to relive previous moments in time. Here’s one, and it’s big; the three composers behind Bang on a Can and the post-minimalist era presenting, through the Bang on a Can All-Stars, JACK Quartet, and others, what are arguably the seminal works of the past 25 years: Wolfe’s Lick and Early That Summer, Lang’s cheating, lying, stealing, and Gordon’s exceptional Yo Shakespeare. (GG)

Alisa Weilerstein Bach recital
April 22 at the 92nd Street Y

The young doyenne of American cellists, Alisa Weilerstein plays the complete cycle of Bach solo cello suites at the 92nd Street Y. (ES)

Sequentia at Music Before 1800
April 30 at Corpus Christi Church

Part of the Music Before 1800 season, the trio of vocalist and harpist Benjamin Bagby, vocalist and harpist Hanna Marti, and flutist Norbert Rodenkirchen will perform “Monks Singing Pagans; Medieval Songs of Heroes, Gods, and Strong Women.” Outstanding even amid the plethora of early music ensembles, Sequentia does more than just present well-preserved fragments of the past—with Bagby’s particular imagination and musical intensity, they demonstrate that Medieval music making was in many ways far more daring than what we expect to hear today. (GG)

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