Highlights of 2006-07 season

September 03, 2006|By TIM SMITH

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra will mark the centennial of Dmitri Shostakovich's birth in a big way. Each will devote to him two weeks of programs with starry soloists and conductors who knew the composer well. Between Sept. 28 and Oct. 7, BSO music director emeritus Yuri Temirkanov conducts Symphony No. 5 and No. 10, as well as Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Yefim Bronfman). Call 410-783-8000 or visit baltimoresymphony.com. And Nov. 2-11, Mstislav Rostropovich leads the NSO in Symphony No. 8 and No. 10, Piano Concerto No. 1 (with Martha Argerich), Cello Concerto No. 2 (with Yo-Yo Ma) and Violin Concerto No. 1 (with Maxim Vengerov). Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org/nso.

Baltimore Opera Company has been on a bel canto roll for several years now, exploring the mid-19th-century Italian repertoire known for elegant and exciting melodic flights. A rare staging of Rossini's Siege of Corinth, Oct. 14-22, features two singers who know how to take those flights in stride and in style, soprano Elizabeth Futral and mezzo Vivica Genaux. Call 410-727-6000 or visit baltimoreopera.com.

Shriver Hall Concert Series brings back to Baltimore one of the most interesting and rewarding pianists on the world scene, Helene Grimaud. Her recital Nov. 5 offers lyrical gems by Chopin and Brahms, as well as Rachmaninoff's sweeping Sonata No. 2. Call 410-516-7164 or visit shriverconcerts.org.

Musicians will be packed, sardine-like, on the stages of Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the Music Center at Strathmore Jan. 11-14 when Marin Alsop leads the BSO and members of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra in a musical trek up and down a majestic mountain in An Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss. This sprawling piece has many a detractor, but many of us can't resist the sonic richness and marvelous pictorial details. The program also offers Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Call 410-783-8000 or visit baltimoresymphony.com.

Deborah Voigt, recently slimmed down from overly diva size, makes her much anticipated debut in the demanding title role of Strauss' Salome this fall in Chicago. Fortunately, local Voigt fans can hear what the fuss is all about closer to home. She'll head the cast in a concert version of the opera Jan. 19-22 with the NSO, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. It's sure to be one of the hottest tickets of the season. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org/nso.

Harmonielehre, the dream-inspired score by John Adams, ranks among the most mesmerizing symphonic works of the past 50 years. Leonard Slatkin leads the NSO in performances of this masterpiece Feb. 15-17. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org/nso.

Eloquent British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves these days, so it's welcome news that you can find at least two major works of his this season. On Feb. 17, Concert Artists of Baltimore performs his Mass in G, conducted by Edward Polochick (call 410-625-3525 or visit cabalto.org); the BSO, May 12-15, offers Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 4 conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier. Call 410-783-8000 or visit baltimore symphony.com.

The season provides a serendipitous opportunity to check out the light and dark sides of Czech opera. There will be productions of Bedrich Smetana's comic gem The Bartered Bride from Baltimore Opera March 24-April 1. Call 410-727-6000 or visit baltimore opera.com. And Leos Janacek's compelling drama Jenufa will be staged by Washington National Opera May 5 to 24. Call 202-295-2400 or visit dc-opera.org.

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