Critic’s Choice for the 2017-18 season

Fri Aug 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm
By Wayne Lee Gay & Steven Brown

Dallas Opera will present the American premiere of Michael van der Aa’s “The Sunken Garden” March 9, 2018. Photo: Mike Hoban

Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Mahler and Stucky. September 14 & 17 at Meyerson Symphony Center.

Music director Jaap van Zweden launches his final season at the helm of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra with a hefty program, opening with the introspective “Elegy” from the late Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964, a work premiered by van Zweden and the orchestra in 2009. Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 5, an epic journey from a somber funeral march in C-sharp minor to a triumphant finale in D major, will provide the bulk of the program. (WG)

Mercury: Haydn and Mozart, November 18 at the Wortham Center.

Houston’s period-instrument orchestra showcases Haydn’s inventiveness with two not-so-familiar symphonies: No. 22,The Philosopher, and 49, La Passione. Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante will spotlight two of the orchestra’s principal players: concertmaster Jonathan Godfrey and violist James Dunham, former violist of the Cleveland Quartet. (SB)

Da Camera: Pianist Jeremy Denk and violinist Stefan Jackiw–“Charles Ives’ America” January 23, 2018 at Zilkha Hall.

Jeremy Denk’s performances of Ives’ Concord Sonata helped make his name, and he goes deeper into the American iconoclast’s world with violinist Stefan Jackiw and members of the Houston Chamber Choir. Denk and company will put Ives’ four violin sonatas alongside the hymns, patriotic songs and other Americana that helped inspire them. (SB)

Dallas Opera: Korngold double bill. February 9-17 at Winspear Opera House.

Having successfully presented a rare production of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die tote Stadt in 2014, Dallas Opera returns to Korngold to present the composer’s little-known one-act comedy The Ring of Polykrates. The unique hybrid program also features Korngold’s Violin Concerto. Soprano Laura Wilde, tenor Paul Groves, bass-baritone Craig Colclough, and violin soloist Augustin Dumay will perform with Dallas Opera music director Emmanuel Villaume conducting. (WG)

Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Houston Symphony: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. February 23-25 at Jones Hall.

Music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the orchestra brought out the power, irony and eloquence of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in performances last season, and they reprise the cataclysmic work before including it on a European tour. Violinist Hilary Hahn solos in Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade, part of the orchestra’s salute to Bernstein’s centennial. (SB)

Jaap van Zweden opens his final season as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra September 14 with music of Mahler and Stucky. Photo: Mark Kitaoka

Dallas Opera: U.S premiere of The Sunken Garden. March 9-17 at Winspear Opera House.

Cinema, live performance, and 3-D technology combine when Dallas Opera presents the U.S. premiere of Dutch composer Michel van der Aa’s high-tech mystery-fantasy The Sunken Garden. Nicole Paiement conducts a cast including baritone Roderick Williams, soprano Katherine Manley,  and soprano Miah Persson, with the composer directing. (WG)

Houston Grand Opera: Bellini’s NormaApril 27-May 11

HGO stages Bellini’s bel canto classic for the first time in more than twenty years. Soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska, a compelling Aida for the company in 2014 and a powerful Abigaille in the Metropolitan Opera’s Nabucco last winter, portrays the Druid priestess. Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is her rival in love, Adalgisa. (SB)

Fort Worth Opera: Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires. April 27-May 12 at Bass Performance Hall.

Though this tango-focused tale of the adventures of an Argentine prostitute has been around for half a century, it is only now making its way to the Dallas-Fort Worth region. This Fort Worth Opera  production will place the audience on stage with the performers. John de los Santos directs, with mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian in the title role. (WG)

Andrés Orozco-Estrada and the Houston Symphony in Mozart and Brahms. May 4-6 at Jones Hall.

Mark Nuccio has contributed expressive, colorful solos to an array of Houston Symphony performances since leaving the New York Philharmonic to become the orchestra’s principal clarinetist in 2016. He finally takes center stage for Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, with music director Andres Orozco-Estrada on the podium. The Houston Symphony Chorus completes the program with Brahms’ A German  (SB)

Van Zweden’s final Dallas Symphony Orchestra program: Beethoven’s Ninth and world premiere of Leshnoff concerto. May 24-26 at Meyerson Symphony Center

In what will undoubtedly be the hottest ticket in the classical music season in Dallas, Jaap van Zweden closes out his years as music director with an obvious and iconic choice, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Equally interesting for connoisseurs of the contemporary music scene, however, will be the premiere, on the same concert, of the Violin Concerto No. 2 by assertively romantic American composer Jonathan Leshnoff, with the orchestra’s co-concertmaster Alexander Kerr as soloist. (WG)

Liudmyla Monastyrska will sing the title role in Bellini’s “Norma” at Houston Grand Opera April 27.

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