Critic’s Choice for 2019-20

Wed Sep 11, 2019 at 12:39 pm
By Steven Brown
Venera Gimadieva will star in Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Golden Cockerel” at Dallas Opera, opening October 25. Photo: Ken Howard/Santa Fe Opera

Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and other concertos. Apollo’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrel. Dallas’ Tower Arts, October 4. Corpus Christi Chamber Music Society, October 5. San Antonio Chamber Music Society, October 6.

The period-instrument orchestra from Cleveland visits Texas with a program dubbed “Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons–Revisited.” Before each concerto, the players will demonstrate how Vivaldi uses instruments to depict natural phenomena. More Vivaldi concertos will round out the program.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 35, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1. Mercury. November 16. 

Houston’s Mercury period-instrument orchestra performed all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies in a multiyear cycle that ended in 2016, putting the accent on the music’s vitality. The group returns to the composer with No. 1, pairing it with Mozart’s Haffner.

Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel. Dallas Opera. October 25-November 2.

Source of the “Hymn to the Sun,” Rimsky-Korsakov’s colorful score tells a satirical tale about a clueless king bewitched by a seductive foreign queen. This is a co-production with Santa Fe Opera, which premiered it in 2017.

Beethoven’s Piano Concertos No. 1-5. Fort Worth Symphony. January 4, 2020.

The Fort Worth Symphony and Cliburn Foundation won’t wait around to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. They’ll go into action as soon as 2020 begins, performing all five of his piano concertos in a pair of concerts the same day. Pianists Joyce Yang, David Fray, Jon Nakamatsu, George Li and Till Fellner will take turns at the keyboard.

Joby Talbot’s Everest. Austin Opera. January 23-26.

A trio of climbers struggle to survive a mountain storm in Everest, a one-act drama debuted by Dallas Opera in 2015. Austin Opera’s cast includes the three principals from that world premiere.

Donizetti’s La Favorite. Houston Grand Opera. January 24-February 9.

In HGO’s first-ever production of Donizetti’s bel canto gem, powerhouse mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton will portray the title character, a woman caught in a love triangle between a king and a monk.

Andrés Orozco-Estrada will lead the Houston Symphony in a Robert Schumann Festival February 8-16, 2020. Photo: Martin Sigmund

Richard Strauss’s Salome. Dallas Symphony/Fabio Luisi. January 31 and February 2.

Opera-house veteran Fabio Luisi, who becomes the Dallas Symphony’s music director in Sept. 2020, shows Dallas what he can do with a blockbuster theatrical score in these concert performances of Strauss’s thriller. Lithuanian soprano Aušrinė Stundytė will portray the obsessed princess, and baritone Mark Delavan will play Jochanaan, the object of Salome’s affections. 

Robert Schumann Festival. Houston Symphony/Andrés Orozco-Estrada. February 8-16.

Houston Symphony music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada has a warm spot for Schumann’s music, as witness his performances of the rarely heard cantata The Pilgrimage of the Rose in 2015. This season’s festival will include Schumann’s four symphonies, the piano and cello concertos–featuring Benjamin Grosvenor and Alisa Weilerstein, respectively–and a program of choral works. 

J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion. Dallas Bach Society. March 28. 

Dallas Bach Society performs Bach’s St. John Passion in tandem with making a recording of the dramatic score. One of the group’s go-to soloists, tenor Dann Coakwell, will sing the role of the Evangelist.

J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Klavier, Book 1. Jeffrey Denk, pianist. April 27 and 28. 

When Jeremy Dank was focused on Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Da Camera brought him to Houston to play the epic work, and next spring the group calls on him for an even bigger and more-varied dose of Bach: Book 1 of The Well-Tempered Klavier. Each performance will include all 24 preludes and fugues.

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