Class Act

Orchestral Maneuvers Hit the Mark

Most classical music stars try to preserve their celebrity by riding the standard warhorses that their public seems to demand. It's for the less famous, not necessarily the less accomplished, musicians to explore more adventurous repertory, new or old. Two stars unafraid to shake up their audiences, and themselves, with the most challenging of nonstandard music are cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor Daniel Barenboim. They'll get together at Carnegie Hall October 18 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the New York premiere of Elliott Carter's brand-new (and very first) cello concerto. Carter, the most inventive composer alive, has been warming his famous, dazzling complexity of late with fresh lyrical impulses, and cellist Ma has been extolling the new piece to one and all while learning it.

'I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI'
September 25 and 29, October 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13
New York State Theater, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 870-5570

New York City Opera's new and first-ever production of Bellini's hauntingly melodious rarity should be enhanced by soprano Mary Dunleavy as Juliet and mezzo Sarah Connolly as Romeo. Both women are superb singers and vivid actresses.

The always inventive Elliott Carter stops by carnegie hall.
Photo by Chris Lee
The always inventive Elliott Carter stops by carnegie hall.


'WOZZECK'
September 26 and 29, October 2 and 6
Metropolitan Opera House, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 362-6000

James Levine and the Met Orchestra achieve what seems to be maximum beauty and drama when they tackle Berg's great tragedy, and this season's cast promises to be very help-ful indeed.



'BLOOD ON THE FLOOR'
September 28-29

Miller Theater, Columbia University, Broadway and 116th Street, 854-7799

Britain's Mark-Anthony Turnage is a firebrand among composers, and this evocation of Francis Bacon's same-titled painting will give conductor Kristjan Järvi, his Absolute Ensemble, and a jazz trio lots of work.


'IDOMENEO'
September 29, October 3, 6, 10, 13, 18, 22, and 25
Metropolitan Opera House, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 362-6000

Mozart's first startling operatic masterpiece gets a powerhouse revival with James Levine conducting Plácido Domingo in the title role and such proven Mozartians as Susan Graham, Carol Vaness, and Dawn Upshaw.

 


SCENES FROM GOETHE'S 'FAUST'
October 16-17
Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, 247-7800

Seiji Ozawa conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a starry contingent of singers in Robert Schumann's often moving and dramatic, but seldom performed work. The singers include José Van Dam as Faust, Barbara Bonney, Heidi Grant Murphy, Susanne Mentzer, Mitsuko Shirai, John Mark Ainsley, Kristinn Sigmundssen, and the always thrilling Tanglewood Festival Chorus.


CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
October 18-20
Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, 247-7800

Besides the Elliott Carter Cello Concerto noted in the introductory paragraph, conductor Daniel Barenboim brings in a mostly Wagner festival. Following Carter on October 18 is soprano Elizabeth Connell in excerpts from Götterdämmerung. Next night, same time, is a new work for piano and orchestra by Isabel Mundry, with Barenboim at the keyboard, and the heart-throbbing first act of Wagner's Die Walküre with Angela Denoke, Peter Seiffert, and John Tomlinson. On October 20 comes the entire eros-obsessed Tristan und Isolde, with Christian Franz and Waltraud Meier as the crazed lovers.


'IL RITORNO D'ULISSE IN PATRIA'
October 27 and 30, November 1, 4, and 7
New York State Theater, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 870-5570

New York City Opera's new production (imported from Glimmerglass) of Monteverdi's panoramic and pioneering 17th-century music-drama is captivating. Stephen Powell will be a vital Ulysses, Nathalie Stutzmann is Penelope, and the savvy Daniel Beckwith conducts.

 


MET CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
October 28
Weill Recital Hall, 154 West 57th Street, 247-7800

James Levine takes a small, choice group from his Metropolitan Opera Orchestra back to previous triumphs, specifically an all-Schoenberg concert including Chamber Symphony no. 1, Serenade, op. 24, and Pierrot lunaire, with soprano Dawn Upshaw once again the shrewd soloist.


MARILYN NONKEN
November 1
Miller Theater, Columbia University, Broadway and 116th Street, 854-7799

This justly fearless pianist devotes an evening to all of Schoenberg's solo-piano music and brings in three commentators, including the eloquent Schoenberg pupil Leonard Stein.


'LILITH'
November 11, 15, and 17
New York State Theater, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 870-5570

Composer Deborah Drattell, who can put music on a high dramatic boil, and librettist David Steven Cohen deal with the confrontation of Eve and her legendary predecessor in Adam's life. For City Opera's world-premiere staging by the always innovative Anne Bogart, there should be much excitement from Lauren Flanigan as Eve, Beth Clayton as Lilith, and Mel Ulrich as both son and serpent.

 


NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC
November 15-17
Avery Fisher Hall, Broadway and 65th Street, 875-5030

Conductor Kurt Masur indulges his special talent for 20th-century Russian music with Shostakovich's scathing Babi Yar symphony and the New York premiere of a viola concerto by Sofia Gubaidulina, the most compelling of living Russian composers. Baritone Sergei Leiferkus and the New York Choral Artists are past masters of "Babi Yar," and the unrivaled Yuri Bashmet plays the concerto.


'L'ENFANCE DU CHRIST'
December 2
Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, 247-7800

Berlioz's gorgeously delicate cantata gets royal treatment, with Sir Charles Mackerras conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke's and such first-class vocalists as Stephanie Blythe, Paul Groves, Sanford Sylvan, John Cheek, and the New York Concert Singers.


PIERRE-LAURENT AIMARD
December 3
Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, 247-7800

This invincible pianist plays a typically wide-ranging recital that includes sonatas by Beethoven and Berg, a bit of Liszt, both books of Debussy's Images, and three Ligeti études.

 
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