Lots of classical music and opera to hear this season



‘PROVE UP’ Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new Music Director, Enrique Mazzola, begins his season with Verdi’s “Macbeth,” but it’s an encouraging sign of his commitment to contemporary work that he will also direct this magnificent dark bedroom piece by Missy. Mazzoli, from 2018, on surreal suffering on the American border. (Jennifer Koh plays the first performances of Mazzoli’s Violin Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra in February and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in March.) (January 22-30 at the Goodman Theater, Chicago)

SONYA YONCHEVA This passionate soprano, who has had brilliant hits at the Met in “La Bohème”, “La Traviata”, “Otello”, “Luisa Miller” and “Iolanta”, is rewarded with the company of a solo recital on his stage, joined by experienced pianist Malcolm Martineau. (January 23 at the Metropolitan Opera, Manhattan)

‘PENELOPE’ André Previn’s latest work – a monodrama, with text by playwright Tom Stoppard, about the patient heroine of Homer’s “Odyssey” – was completed after his death in 2019, and now has its premiere in New York. The protagonist is remarkably divided between a soprano (Renée Fleming) and a speaking actress (Uma Thurman), who are joined by the Emerson String Quartet and pianist Simone Dinnerstein. (January 23 at Carnegie Hall, Manhattan)

VIVA MUSIC Joel Thompson’s choral piece “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” – which set the last words for Michael Brown, Eric Garner and five other black men killed in police encounters – was written in 2014, but it has found new listeners in the past year. This varied ensemble will perform it alongside works by Bach, Abbie Betinis and Shelley Washington. (January 23 at All Souls Church, Manhattan)

AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Our main renovator of rarities, the conductor Leon Botstein, conducted this orchestra in 2013 in a staging revealing of Sergei Taneyev’s great opera “Oresteia”, little performed since its creation in 1895. There will therefore be an interest additional for the interpretation by these forces of the last major work of Taneyev, the massive and garish cantata “To the reading of a psalm”. (March 24 brings a rich and important program of orchestral music from Duke Ellington – originally scheduled for March 12, 2020, and therefore one of the first pandemic cancellations.) (January 28 at Carnegie Hall, Manhattan)

OPERA BEAT OF CUR This rambling company, specializing in daring rearrangements of classical works, revives its moving 2018 adaptation of Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” which placed the opera in a contemporary prison and included the recorded voices of choirs from Midwestern correctional facilities. . (February 10, 12 and 14 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan)



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