First Congregational Church, 11 Garden St, Cambridge, | 8 pm | $19-$66
BOSTON LYRIC OPERA'S THE LIGHTHOUSE | February 8, 9, 11, 12
Peter Maxwell Davies's gripping and efficiently sinister operatic mystery (based on a creepy true story) gets its first Boston staging (by Tim Albery) since Peter Sellars did it 28 years ago, and in the perfect venue, overlooking Boston Harbor. David Angus conducts. What really happened at that lighthouse. . . ?
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston | $33-$99
EMMANUEL MUSIC | February 11
Emmanuel Music is famous for doing Bach cantatas as part of every Sunday's service at Emmanuel Church. Ryan Turner's greatest hit in his first year as music director was a concert version of Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress. The new year at Emmanuel begins with "Connected by Bach," a program combining both Emmanuel's strengths: Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 4 and Stravinsky's complete Pulcinella, along with more Stravinsky, a little Mozart, and the superb cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer playing John Corigliano's Fancy on a Bach Air.
Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St, Boston | 8 pm [pre-concert talk 7 pm] | $10-$150
HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY | February 17 + 19
There's a lot of excitement about the young Canadian conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni, who seems to have turned the Columbus Symphony Orchestra around in his first season as music director. The Handel and Haydn Society has invited him back to lead one of the most exciting and demanding symphonies in the repertoire: Beethoven's Eroica, on a program with Beethoven's dramatic Egmont Overture and Haydn's rarely heard Symphony No. 48.
Symphony Hall, 301 Mass Ave, Boston | $20-$78
BOSTON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA | February 23, 25 + 26
Music Director Benjamin Zander has a high-octane program called "Breaking Free of Chains" lined up. The beloved British cellist Alexander Baillie returns for a rare performance of the great Witold Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto, a piece Baillie has made his own. More heroism arrives in the form of Richard Strauss's autobiographical tone poem Ein Heldenleben (Strauss as his own hero), and Beethoven's grand LeonoreOverture No. 3. Come early and join the crowds for Zander's pre-concert talks.
Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston [February 25] | Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St, Cambridge [February 23 and 26] | $15-$90
BOSTON BAROQUE | March 2-3
An evening of Mozart on period instruments features brilliant Mozart pianist (and distinguished Mozart scholar) Robert Levin and his dazzling partner (and wife) Ya-Fei Chuang in the enchanting Concerto for Two Pianos, along with Martin Pearlman leading the Symphonies No. 29 (maybe the greatest of Mozart's "early" symphonies) and No. 36, the Linz. Linzer torte, anyone?
Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston | $19–$75
CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON: THOMAS QUASTHOFF AND MICHAEL SCHADE | March 23
This hot-ticket concert of rare bass-baritone and tenor duets (and some solos), by two of the most sensitive and insightful interpreters of German songs, is a concert I can't wait to hear. Along with Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schubert, and Brahms, the program includes a marvelous duet from Mozart's Cosí fan tutte and a delicious medley of Viennese operetta numbers.
Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston | $50-$70
LOOK AHEAD: All the movies, music, theater, games, restaurants (and more!) you'll be checking out in 2012