One of the spring’s most exciting prospects is the premiere of John Harbison’s But Mary Stood: Sacred Symphonies for Chorus and Instruments (Jordan Hall, March 19); it was commissioned by David Hoose and the Cantata Singers, who will end their season with Handel’s Belshazzar, a timely oratorio about Babylon and guilt (May 12; 617.868.5885). Harbison also conducts his Songs America Loves To Sing for Scott Wheeler’s Dinosaur Annex (First Church, April 30; 617.482.3852). Composer/piano virtuoso Frederic Rzewski gives a free recital of his works in the Boston Conservatory Piano Masters series (March 28; reservations at 617.912.9222).
For Mozart’s 250th birthday, we’ll get two performances of Die Zauberflöte. The delightful Teatro Lirico d’Europa’s touring production (Cutler Majestic, March 31–April 2) follows its La bohème (March 28; 617.824.8000). Our homegrown Mozartians, Emmanuel Music, under Craig Smith, offer The Magic Flute in concert in Alice Goodman’s literate and singable English (Emmanuel Church, April 28 and 30). Two remaining Emmanuel concerts complete Russell Sherman’s memorable Mozart piano sonata series (April 22, May 6; 617.536.3356).
James Levine won’t return until the fall, but the BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA has a solid line-up of guest conductors (Symphony Hall; 617.266.1200). David Robertson is joined by Yo-Yo Ma in Schumann’s Cello Concerto, which replaces the concerto Osvaldo Golijov hasn’t yet completed (March 15-18). That’s followed by Yuri Temirkanov with violinist Joshua Bell (Symphony Hall, March 29-April 1); Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos doing Mozart with violinist Gil Shaham (April 6-8 and 11) and the Berlioz Requiem with tenor Matthew Polenzani (April 13-15); Robert Spano with the wonderful pianist Piotr Anderszewski (April 19-22 and 25); and Christoph von Dohnányi leading violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann (April 27-29 and May 2) and a program of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (May 4-6).
Celebrated artists also appear in the Bank of America Celebrity Series (617.482-2595). Symphony Hall hosts Kurt Masur and the London Philharmonic (March 24); Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interviewing NPR’s Ira Glass (April 9); violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman (April 26); and pianist Maurizio Pollini (April 30). Sanders Theatre will host sensational new-music group eighth blackbird (March 26); Jordan Hall will have violinist Vadim Repin and pianist Nikolai Lugansky (April 8), the Emerson String Quartet (April 21), and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky (May 13).
Boston Lyric Opera’s “Diva Season” at the Shubert Theatre continues with Verdi’s La traviata (March 31–April 11) and Massenet’s Thaïs (April 28–May 9; 617.542.4912). Opera Boston offers Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, with soprano Barbara Quintiliani (Majestic Theatre, April 28, 30, and May 2; 617.451.3388). Jeffrey Rink’s Chorus pro Musica presents Verdi’s Attila in concert (Jordan Hall, June 4; 617.267.7442).
Boston Musica Viva plays Varèse, Ruggles, Respighi, and Satie (Tsai Center, April 22; 617.496.6013). The Fromm Players have three free electronic music concerts at Harvard (Paine Hall, March 10-12; 617.496.6013). Boston Chamber Music Society does Schnit tk e and Beethoven (Jordan Hall/Sanders Theatre, March 24 and 26) and the Schubert Octet (April 28 and 30; 617.349.0086). Peggy Pearson’s Winsor Music offers Bach, Schumann, and Martin Brody (St. Paul’s Church, Brookline, April 23; 781.863.2861). Boston Baroque combines Cherubini’s Requiem with Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony (Jordan Hall, May 5-6; 617.484.9200). And Benjamin Zander’s Boston Philharmonic Orchestra does Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky (Sanders Theatre, April 27 and 30; Jordan Hall, April 29; 617.236.0999).