Classical music to come: cantatas, concertos and a great centenary


FULL OF TEETH This adventurous vocal byte got unexpected good news in April when one of its members, Caroline Shaw, won the Pulitzer Prize for her “Partita for Eight Voices”. A dazzling contemporary take on a baroque dance suite, “Partita” was composed for Roomful of Teeth, who recorded it, but so far the group has not performed the four movements together live. This alone would make this concert a special event, but the program also includes works by Caleb Burhans, Brad Wells and William Brittelle. November 4. Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, (212) 505-3474, (ZW)

“NED TO FOUR-TWENTY-TEN” A month before Britten’s centenary, there is a not quite centenary: the 90th birthday of composer Ned Rorem, whose elegant and emotionally precise songs are at the heart of his production. The New York Festival of Song pays homage with works by Mr. Rorem and his friends and influences (including Barber, Bernstein, Copland, Poulenc, Virgil Thomson and, yes, Britten), interwoven with excerpts from his inimitable journals. The singers, mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and baritone Andrew Garland, are young and talented, and as always, Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, directors of the venerable series, play the piano. November 5. Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street, Manhattan; (212) 501-3330, (ZW)

‘MEFISTOFELE’ The Collegiate Chorale’s performances of opera rarities in concert have become a valuable part of the New York music scene, taking up some of the slack from a declining New York opera orchestra. Arrigo Boito’s rich score may not be really unknown – the Metropolitan Opera performed it in 2000 – but there is no reason why it should be less appreciated than, say, “Faust” by Gounod, a more devious account of the same story. James Bagwell, the choral director, is a solid conductor, especially operas like this which showcase the choir, and its soloists, led by bass-baritone Eric Owens and rising soprano Julianna Di Giacomo, have the wherewithal to do justice to Boito’s rising vocal lines. November 6. Carnegie Hall. (ZW)

‘DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN’ The consensus these days is that the so-called new Metropolitan Opera productions do best when they were first performed (and refined) elsewhere. But local successes are possible, as Herbert Wernicke proved with his scintillating 2001 production of Strauss’s Curious Fairy Tale, a collaboration with librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Not seen at the Met since 2003, he returns with an excellent cast: sopranos Anne Schwanewilms (who made her Met debut as Empress) and Christine Goerke, mezzo-soprano Ildiko Komlosi, tenor Torsten Kerl and baritone Johan. Reuter. Vladimir Jurowski directs. A treat under the radar: Rising American soprano Meagan Miller succeeds Ms Schwanewilms as Empress for a single performance on November 16. Opening on November 7. Metropolitan Opera House. (ZW)

BEETHOVEN STRING QUARTET New York has had no shortage of complete cycles of these pieces lately: the Metropolitan Museum has presented one in each of the past two seasons. But the superb Hagen Quartet, better established in Europe and on records than in the United States, should add something special to these interpretations in – remarkably enough – their first full live preview of these 16 landmark works. November 7, 9-10, 14, 16-17. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, (212) 415-5500, (JRO)

CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Conductor Louis Langrée, familiar to New York listeners since his 11 years as musical director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, is taking over in Cincinnati. He succeeds Paavo Jarvi, who – especially judging from the recordings – has left the ensemble in good shape. M. Langrée’s inaugural program examines the past and present of the orchestra. Maya Angelou recounts Copland’s “Portrait of Lincoln”, which premiered in Cincinnati as part of Freedom Week in conjunction with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center. Jennifer Higdon’s ‘On a Wire’, a co-commissioned by the orchestra, will feature the Eighth Blackbird chamber ensemble, and the program ends with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which the orchestra performed in 1895, in its first season (like you needed an excuse to introduce it). November 8-10. Music Hall, (513) 381-3300, (JRO)

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