Critic’s Choice for 2022-23

September 7, 2022 at 3:07 pm

By Jonathan Blumhofer & Aaron Keebaugh

Andris Nelsons will conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra in music of Wagner and Shostakovich in the 2022-23 season. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Shostakovich Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2. Yuja Wang, pianist; Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons. September 29-October 1.

The focus of Andris Nelsons’ Shostakovich symphony recording project has expanded since its inception in 2015: now, in addition to the fifteen symphonies, it includes (or will) the instrumental concertos plus the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. While the remaining symphonies (Nos. 3 and 13) are slated for performance and taping later this season, Yuja Wang starts things off playing Shostakovich’s two piano concertos: the jazz-inflected First and neo-Mozartian Second. (JB)

Corigliano: Symphony No. 1. New England Philharmonic/ Tianhui Ng. October 30.

The 2022-2023 season will see a new face at the helm of the New England Philharmonic. In his first concert as music director, Tianhui Ng will lead John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, a score that commemorates victims of the AIDS epidemic. Filling out the program will be local premieres of works by Mary D. Watkins, Iván Rodríguez, and NEP composer-in-residence Eric Nathan. (AK)

Music by Norman, Mozart, and Korngold. Berlin Philharmonic/Kirill Petrenko. November 13.

Kirill Petrenko makes his first Boston appearance as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic in a program of invigorating contrasts: Andrew Norman’s Unstuck, Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (featuring BPO concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley), and Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s epic Symphony in F-sharp. (JB)

Emerson Quartet. Jordan Hall. January 22, 2023.

The Emerson String Quartet’s farewell season comes to Boston with a program that largely celebrates music central to the esteemed ensemble’s repertoire: Bartók, Shostakovich, and Beethoven. Also on the docket is George Walker’s affecting Lyric for Strings. (JB)

Wagner: Tannhäuser—Act 3. Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons. February 2 and 4.

When he came aboard as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2013, Andris Nelsons frequently spoke about how hearing Wagner’s Tannhäuser as a youth inspired his conducting career. He brings that experience full circle in February when he leads Act 3 from Wagner’s vivid tale about the redemption of pure love. German tenor Klaus Florian Vogt stars in the title role with American soprano Amber Wagner as Elisabeth. (AK)

Benjamin Zander, who marks his 50th anniversary as a conductor in 2022-23 will lead the Boston Philharmonic in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in April. Photo: Liz Linder.

Julia Wolfe: Her Story. Boston Symphony Orchestra/Giancarlo Guerrero. March 16-18.

There’s much to admire  about the BSO’s programming this year, particularly “Voices of Loss, Reckoning, and Hope,” a three-week-long survey of music by underrepresented and/or neglected composers (including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, William Grant Still, Margaret Bonds, and William Levi Dawson). The festival culminates with this pairing of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3 and the local premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, a commemoration of the centennial of the 19th amendment that showcases the exceptional Lorelei Ensemble. (JB)

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas. Boston Camerata. March 18.

The Boston Camerata frequently turns its attention to period drama. This spring will see director Anne Azéma and the early music troupe explore love and loss in a staged performance of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, the composer’s only full-scale opera. (AK)

Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde. Sarah Connolly and Stefan Vinke; Boston Philharmonic Orchestra/Benjamin Zander. April 14.

The music of Gustav Mahler is one of Benjamin Zander’s specialties and, as he marks his 50th season as a conductor this year, it’s fitting that a rare outing of Mahler’s transcendent song-symphony be part of the festivities. Franz Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony shares the bill. (JB)

Music of William Byrd. Stile Antico/Boston Early Music Festival. April 28.

Stile Antico will return to Boston in April with a program dedicated to William Byrd. This musical retrospective, celebrating the composer’s 400th birthday, explores Byrd’s complex career working for the Protestant establishment while secretly maintaining his Catholic faith. (AK)

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar.” Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons. May 4-6.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s multi-season exploration of Shostakovich’s symphonies concludes in May when Andris Nelsons leads the composer’s haunting Symphony No. 13. Reflecting the mass murder of Russian Jews by a Nazi occupation force at Babi Yar, this dark score wrestles with the historical tragedy and memories that defined post-war Soviet thought. (AK)

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