Critic’s Choice for 2016-17 season

September 1, 2016 at 1:06 pm

By Aaron Keebaugh

Simon Rattle will lead the Berlin Philharmonic November 16 at Symphony Hall. Photo: Jim Rakete

Simon Rattle will lead the Berlin Philharmonic November 11 at Symphony Hall. Photo: Jim Rakete

From music by traditional masters to Britten, Adès, Benjamin, and beyond, the 2016-2017 season will bring a wide variety of old and new music to the Boston area.

Highlighting the season will be the Berlin Philharmonic in its final Boston performance with principal conductor Simon Rattle, the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a new artistic partnership with Thomas Adès, and Boston Lyric Opera and New England Philharmonic celebrating their 40th anniversaries.

But there is much more. Here are just a few of the most rewarding and offbeat concerts to take place around Boston this season.

* Dvořák’s Dimitrij. Odyssey Opera. September 16, 2016 at Jordan Hall. 
Odyssey Opera returns to action this fall with a concert performance of Dvořák’s rarely heard grand opera, Dimitrij. The cast features an international roster of singers, including Ales Briscein in the title role, Dana Buresova as Marina, Olga Jelinkova as Xenie, and Irina Mishura as Marfa. Gil Rose conducts. odysseyopera.org

* Thomas Adès with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. November 3-5, 2016, Symphony Hall. 
In his first concert as Artistic Partner with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, British composer and conductor Thomas Adès will lead a program that brings together Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, Sibelius’ Tapiola, and Adès’ own Totentanz  with mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn and baritone Mark Stone. bso.org

* Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. Presented by the Celebrity Series November 11, 2016 at Symphony Hall. 
Simon Rattle will lead the Berlin Philharmonic, one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, in his final Boston performance as director of that storied ensemble. The program will include Mahler’s Symphony No 7 and Boulez’s Éclat. (In addition, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet will appear in a separate recital at Jordan Hall on February 3, 2017, and the Philharmonic Quartet Berlin will perform March 3 at the same location.) celebrityseries.org

* George Benjamin’s Dream of the Song to be premiered by Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. February 9-11, 2017 at Symphony Hall. 
The esteemed English composer George Benjamin penned Dream of the Song in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Tanglewood Music Center. The BSO co-commission will feature countertenor Bejun Mehta and Boston’s Lorelei Ensemble. Andris Nelsons conducts. bso.org

* Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the New England Philharmonic. March 4, 2017 at the Tsai Performance Center.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the New England Philharmonic will present Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, a work that combines thrilling music with themes of social justice. Soloists will include soprano Sarah Pelletier, mezzo-soprano Krista River, tenor Charles Blandy, and bass Sumner Thompson. Chorus pro Musica, prepared by Jamie Kirsch, will perform the work’s choral sections. Filling out the program will be music of Richard Cornell and Gunther Schuller. Richard Pittman conducts. nephilharmonic.org

Tenor Ben Bliss makes his Boston Lyric OPera debut as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" March 12-19, 2017. xxxat Cutlker Majestic Theatre.

Tenor Ben Bliss makes his Boston Lyric Opera debut as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress” March 12-19, 2017.

* Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Boston Lyric Opera. March 12-19, 2017 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre.
Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Stravinsky’s play on the Faustian myth will star Ben Bliss in his BLO debut as Tom Rakewell, Kevin Burdette as Nick Shadow, and Anya Matanovic as Anne Trulove. David Angus conducts a production by Allegra Libonati. blo.org

* Pianist Paul Lewis in recital. Presented by the Celebrity Series March 26, 2017 at Jordan Hall. 
Paul Lewis makes his long-awaited return to Boston in a recital of music by Bach, Beethoven, Weber, and Chopin. celebrityseries.org

* Monteverdi’s Vespers performed by the Handel and Haydn Society April 7 and 9, 2017 at Jordan Hall and Sanders Theatre. 
Following Harry Christophers’ Grammy-winning recording of Monteverdi’s Vespers with the Sixteen, the English conductor will lead the Handel and Haydn Society in the Baroque composer’s masterpiece. Soloists will include sopranos Margot Rood and Sonja DuToit Tengblad as well as baritones Woodrow Bynum and David McFerrin, all members of the H&H chorus. handelandhaydn.org

* Roomful of Teeth and A Far Cry. Presented by the Celebrity Series April 13, 2017 at Sanders Theatre. 
The Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth will team up with Boston’s own conductorless string orchestra A Far Cry for an innovative program of music by Ted Hearne, Caroline Shaw, and Josquin Desprez. celebrityseries.org

* Honegger’s King David to be performed by the Cantata Singers. May 12, 2017 at Jordan Hall.
Honegger’s King David, an oratorio that fuses Baroque styles with jazz, will conclude the Cantata Singers’ 2016-2017 season. Filling out the program will be selections of Lazar Weiner’s Yiddish Art Songs and Choruses and Yehudi Wyner’s Torah Service for cantor, chorus, and brass ensemble. cantatasingers.org

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