NOT SO CRUEL APRIL Stephanie Blyth sings Offenbach’s La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein for Opera Boston.
Composers JOHN HARBISON and PETER LIEBERSON are big presences this spring. Peggy Pearson's Winsor Music (winsormusic.org) is co-sponsoring a Bach 325th-birthday celebration with Emmanuel Music (emmanuelmusic.org) for which Harbison will discuss and conduct Bach's Cantata No. 42 (free; Emmanuel Church, March 20) and will also present a Lieberson Boston premiere (St. Paul's Church, April 25).
Collage New Music (collagenewmusic.org) offers Harbison's latest song cycle, The Seven Ages— a beautiful and unnerving setting of Louise Glück (Longy School, March 22). And James Levine leads Harbison's new Double Concerto with the BSO (bso.org), along with Mahler's Symphony No. 7 (Symphony Hall, April 8-10). Levine also leads the premiere of Lieberson's Songs of Love and Sorrow, with baritone Gerald Finley ("Doctor Atomic") (March 25-30), and Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah, with power soprano Christine Brewer and mezzo Stephanie Blyth (April 1-3).
March goes out like a lamb with cellist YO-YO MA's Celebrity Series of Boston recital (Symphony Hall, March 26; celebrityseries.org). For Emmanuel Music, pianist RUSSELL SHERMAN plays Haydn and Schoenberg (Emmanuel Church, March 28 + April 11, 25). Conflict alert! On April 25, the Celebrity Series presents another great pianist, MAURIZIO POLLINI, who'll play Chopin (Symphony Hall). The BOSTON CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY (bostonchambermusic.org) has an intriguing program of early Mahler (the Piano Quartet) and the Second Viennese School (Sanders Theatre, April 18). And the BORROMEO STRING QUARTET (borromeoquartet.org) starts a Beethoven cycle at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (April 4).
Courtney Lewis's DISCOVERY ENSEMBLE (discoveryensemble.com) returns with Haydn, Bartók, and Schumann (Sanders Theatre, April 11). Ben Zander's BOSTON PHILHARMONIC (bostonphil.org) has Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps and Gwyneth Wentink in Ginastera's Harp Concerto (Sanders Theatre, April 22, 25; Jordan Hall, April 24).
Works for the stage include AMERICAN CLASSICS (amclass.org), doing, in concert, Irving Berlin's 1918 revue, Yip, Yip, Yaphank, whose biggest hit was "Oh, How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning" (Follen Church, April 16; Longy School, April 18). BOSTON LYRIC OPERA (blo.org) offers, fully staged, Mozart's first operatic masterpiece, Idomeneo (Shubert Theatre, April 23–May 4). OPERA BOSTON (operaboston.org) ends the cruelest month with Offenbach's delectable military satire, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, with, once again, Stephanie Blyth (Cutler Majestic, April 30–May 4).
May brings us some stellar early music. The HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY (handelandhaydn.org) welcomes Sir Roger Norrington back to Symphony Hall to lead Beethoven's most pastoral symphonies, Nos. 4 and 6 (April 9, 11), and Harry Christophers paints a "Bach Portrait" there (April 30, May 2). The BOSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL (bemf.org) has Jordi Savall's Hespèrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, and Al Darwish in a musical history of Jerusalem (Sanders Theatre, May 5). Martin Pearlman's BOSTON BAROQUE (bostonbaroque.org) features Michael Miniaci in Mozart arias for male soprano (Jordan Hall, May 7-8). David Hoose and the CANTATA SINGERS (cantatasingers.org) continue to explore and celebrate Heinrich Schütz, with his final Schwanengesang (Jordan Hall, May 14). And Gil Rose's BOSTON MODERN ORCHESTRA PROJECT (www.bmop.org) brings us up to date with baritone Sanford Sylvan and five modern mavericks (Jordan Hall, May 28).