Season Prelude

Classical Music Builds to a Crescendo

When autumn hits New York, the roof falls in. That holds whether your primary target is the orchestral concert, instrumental or vocal recital, opera, chamber music, choruses mighty or meek, freewheeling avant-garde, or wagons-in-a-circle modernism. This year, the local scene seems all the more hectic, largely because Carnegie Hall and, to a lesser extent, Lincoln Center have been stepping up the educational-outreach and professional-workshop aspects of their activities as presenters. Out of the general maelstrom scheduled for the next four months, here are some specifics.


ROBERTO DEVEREUX
September 12
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 870-5700

New York City Opera opens its season with a new production of Donizetti's most dramatic opera. Mark Lamos stages it, and Lauren Flanigan as Queen Elizabeth I will probably electrify everyone. Further performances: September 16 (matinee), 20, 24 (matinee), and 28, October 4 and 7.


DON GIOVANNI
September 25
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 362-6000

The Metropolitan Opera opens its season with the high-octane young Welsh bass-baritone, Bryn Terfel, taking the uniquely glamorous title role for the first time in this country. The otherwise strong cast includes today's best Mozartian soprano, Renée Fleming, as Donna Anna (a New York first), and James Levine conducts. Further performances: September 28, October 2, 6, 9, 14, 18, and 21 (matinee).


MET CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
October 8
Weill Recital Hall, 154 West 57th Street, 247-7800

James Levine leads a chamber music ensemble from his championship Met orchestra in a program that features Richard Strauss's greatest work, the tragic Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings. Also listed are Schoenberg's Serenade, with bass-baritone Richard Paul Fink as soloist, and Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale Suite.


MARILYN NONKEN
October 12, November 15
Miller Theatre, Columbia University, Broadway and 116th Street, 854-7799

The adventurous pianist plays Ives's "Concord" Sonata and two pieces by Michael Finnissy, one of them inspired by Ives's mighty piece. The November date brings her back with Ensemble 21 for a concert devoted to France's Jean Barraqué, that mine-infested bridge between Debussy and Boulez.


FIDELIO
October 13
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 362-6000

Having made us wait and wait, the Met brings in a new production of Beethoven's maximally powerful opera, with James Levine conducting most performances of the run and a heavy-duty cast headed by Karita Mattila, Ben Heppner, and René Pape. You can also catch it, with an occasional personnel change, October 17, 21, 25, and 28 (matinee), November 2, December 22, 27, and 30, with a few more performances in January.


'SONIC BOOM'
October 20, 22, 23, and 27, November 2, 4, and 13
Cooper Union, 7th Street and Third Avenue, 279-4200

It's a seven-concert series with all the participating ensembles sharing the first program, which consists of Terry Riley's In C, Cage's Variations IV, and Reich's Vermont Counterpoint. October 22 brings a Continuum concert with music by Jon Deak, Cage, Cowell, Davidovsky, and others. Next night, Da Capo Chamber Players and soprano Lucy Shelton salute the late Stephen Albert with three of his lyrical pieces and add Jonathan Harvey's compelling Bhakti. October 27 has the New York New Music Ensemble playing Druckman, and world premieres by Melinda Wagner and two others. Modernworks! stresses cellos via Gubaidulina and less famous composers on November 2. Newband concentrates on Partch, Drummond, and the freshly free Elizabeth Brown on November 4. And the not always grayly eminent Speculum Musicae winds up the series with an electronic session of Stockhausen (Mantra), Martin Matalon, and Machover.


ABSOLUTE ENSEMBLE
October 27
Miller Theatre, Columbia University, Broadway and 116th Street, 854-7799

This outfit and its feisty conductor, Kristjan Järvi, accompany Leila Josefowicz in John Adams's dazzling, haunting Violin Concerto. On their own, they also do music by James Brown, Charles Coleman, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, and others.


CECILIA BARTOLI AND BRYN TERFEL
October 29
Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 362-6000

Bartoli and Terfel, with their charismatic personalities and vocal virtuosity, sing a benefit concert for the Met's pension fund. James Levine conducts.


GOGMAGOGS
October 31-November 11
Miller Theatre, Columbia University, Broadway and 116th Street, 854-7799

This English gang invades with a reportedly insane music-theater parody created and mashed up by playwright Caryl Churchill, composer Orlando Gough, and several other miscreants. It's supposed to make the legendary Hellzapoppin' look like When We Dead Awaken.


RINALDO
October 31
New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 870-5570

New York City Opera does its first production of the young Handel's heroic and melodious breakthrough opera. The baroque-savvy Harry Bicket conducts, and the singers include such bright Handelians as Lisa Saffer, Christine Goerke, David Daniels, and Daniel Taylor. Further performances: November 4 (matinee), 9, 12 (matinee), 15, and 18.

 
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