Erwartung . . .

Classical goodies for 2007
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 28, 2006

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LEON FLEISHER performs with the Emerson String Quartet for the Celebrity Series in May.
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA music director James Levine will be back in February to continue his survey of Beethoven and Schoenberg with Metropolitan Opera diva Deborah Voigt in Beethoven’s “Ah! perfido” and Schoenberg’s Erwartung (“Awaiting”), along with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Eighth Symphony (Symphony Hall, February 1-3). He follows this with nothing less than Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, with French mezzo-soprano Yvonne Naef, American tenor Paul Groves, and the great Belgian baritone José van Dam (February 8-10). Other standout programs include Mahler’s Third Symphony with powerhouse mezzo Stephanie Blythe (March 15-17) and Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, with a starry cast including sopranos Karita Mattila and Jennifer Welch-Babidge, tenors Johann Botha and Matthew Polenzani, bass-baritone James Morris, and bass Kurt Moll (March 23, 25, 27). Levine will also conduct new American works by Charles Wuorinen, along with Haydn and Brahms (February 15-17), and Gunther Schuller, along with Mozart (with pianist Alfred Brendel) and Ravel (March 29-31).

Before he returns, the BSO guest conductors will include Robert Spano, with violinist Joshua Bell (January 4-6, 9); David Zinman, with John Harbison’s Canonical American Songbook and Radu Lupu playing Mozart’s D-minor Piano Concerto (January 11-13, 16); Sir Colin Davis leading Mozart and Haydn symphonies and Imogen Cooper in Mozart’s C-minor Piano Concerto (January 18-20, 23) and the Sixth Symphonies by Beethoven and Vaughan Williams (January 25-27). Also visiting: Jukka-Pekka Saraste and cellist Anssi Karttunen, in a mostly Finnish program (February 22-14, 27); Ingo Metzmacher doing Bruckner’s Sixth and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2, with Leonidas Kavakos (March 2, 3, 6); Charles Dutoit in a program of Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, and the Beethoven First Piano Concerto with phenomenal superstar pianist Martha Argerich (March 8-10, 13). Call 617.266.1200 or visitwww.bso.org.

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KARITA MATTILA performs with the BSO in March and gives a Celebrity Series recital in April.
More superstars return in the (formerly Bank of America) CELEBRITY SERIES, which is bringing us violinist Hilary Hahn (January 12) and a trio of pianists: Lang Lang (January 28), Garrick Ohlsson (February 10), and Alexander Kobrin (March 25). Soprano Dawn Upshaw is on the roster (February 25), as are the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, under the too-long-absent Riccardo Chailly with young piano virtuoso Yundi Li (February 28), and the National Philharmonic of Russia, with Vladimir Spivakov and pianist Olga Kern (March 16). Beloved Broadway star turned classic American song stylist Barbara Cook will be more than welcome (March 24), and so will Finnish soprano Karita Mattila (April 13). Chamber-music highlights include violist Roger Tapping with the Prazák String Quartet (March 17) and (get your tickets early) pianist Leon Fleisher with the Emerson String Quartet (May 12). Subscriptions are a bargain; call 617.482.2595 or visitwww.celebrityseries.org.

EMMANUEL MUSIC (617.536.3355) got its series of concert performances of Handel operas based on Ariosto off to a spectacular start last fall with Orlando. Next up is the tragic/heroic Ariodante, lesser known but with some of Handel’s most expressive arias (January 27), with Michael Beattie conducting. Last will be the magical and moving Alcina, with Craig Smith on the podium (April 21).

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