Lift every voice!

Classical goodies for 2009
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 30, 2008

090102_classical_mian
SWEET SINGING: Metropolitan Opera soprano Barbara Frittoli performs two programs with the BSO, including Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

Opera is the big word for 2009. The touring TEATRO LIRICO D'EUROPA brings back good old-fashioned opera with big voices and full-bodied choruses in Verdi's Aida (January 16-18) and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci (Cutler Majestic Theatre, March 6-8; 617.824.8000). OPERA BOSTON's The Nose (Shostakovich) should be nothing to sneeze at, with Gil Rose conducting baritone Stephen Salters (Cutler Majestic, February 27 + March 1, 3; 617.451.9944). With his BOSTON MODERN ORCHESTRA PROJECT, for John Harbison's 70th birthday, Rose leads a long-overdue performance of Harbison's Shakespeare opera, A Winter's Tale (Jordan Hall, March 20; 617.585.1260). BOSTON LYRIC OPERA has glamorous soprano Marquita Lister in Dvorák's moonstruck Rusalka (Shubert Theatre, March 20-31; 617.542.6772). Sir Roger Norrington and the HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY offer a rare shot at Haydn's Orfeo opera, L'anima del filosofo (Symphony Hall, January 23, 25; 617.262.1815).

To see live HD telecasts of METROPOLITAN OPERA productions, go on line to find the nearest movie theater. But what I'm most looking forward to is Verdi's glowering Simon Boccanegra, with James Levine leading the BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and the Met's star Verdi soprano, Barbara Frittoli, tenor Marcello Giordani, legendary baritone Josû van Dam, and bass James Morris (Symphony Hall, January 29, 31, February 3; 617.266.1200). Levine and Frittoli return for two Mozart arias on a program with Gunther Schuller's new commission, Where the World Ends, and some Brahms (February 5-7).

Levine concludes his appearances with three programs of Mozart symphonies, early (February 12-13 and 14, 17) and late (February 19-21). BSO guests include Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey playing the Haydn Second Cello Concerto under Bernard Labadie, who also leads music from Mozart's Idomeneo and a rare performance of Handel's complete Water Music (January 15-17). Kurt Masur conducts only Mendelssohn (January 22-24, 27). Stylish pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays the Liszt Second Concerto under Yannick Nûzet-Sûguin (February 26-28). Alan Gilbert, the new NY Philharmonic director, leads Sibelius, Rachmaninov (with pianist Stephen Hough), and Ives (March 5-7, 10). Herbert Blomstedt delivers the Goode (Richard, that is) in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 18 (March 12-14, 17). Hans Graf returns with the Brahms Double Concerto (Janine Jansen and Alisa Wallerstein) and Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 (March 19-21, 24). Charles Dutoit has a Franco-Russian program with violinist Lisa Batiashvili (March 26-28).

The CELEBRITY SERIES OF BOSTON brings two incisive and insightful international artists, German violinist Christian Tetzlaff and Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, in their first Boston appearance together — a varied program of Mozart, Brahms, Janácek, and Schubert (Jordan Hall, January 31; 617.482.6661). The London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev plays Profofiev's Fifth Symphony and accompanies pianist Alexei Volodin in Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (Symphony Hall, March 25). Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble return in two concerts (Symphony Hall, March 8-9). Celebrity Series chamber groups include Philharmonia Quartett Berlin, the principal string players of the Berlin Philharmonic, in Mozart, Lutoslawski, and Schubert (Jordan Hall, January 23), and the Orion String Quartet with clarinettist David Krakauer playing Wolf, Del Tredici, Golijov, and Beethoven (Jordan Hall, April 18). Live chamber music will surely be a part of the Mark Morris Dance Group's spring visit (Cutler Majestic, March 19-22). Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter joins jazz pianist Brad Mehldau for an evening combining classical and jazz (Sanders Theatre, February 13). The Celebrity pianists are Angela Hewitt (Jordan Hall, February 22), Lang Lang (Symphony Hall, March 1), and Murray Perahia (Symphony Hall, March 29).

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