From First Avenue to Riverside Drive, the classic arts scene in New York is never quiet. Here is just a sampling of some of the classic arts events happening this week:
The Metropolitan Opera’s 2023-24 season will kick off Tuesday, September 26, with the Met premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Dead Man Walking, based on the book and film of the same name. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato stars as Sister Helen Prejean, alongside bass-baritone Ryan McKinny as Joseph De Rocher, and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, who originated the role of Sister Helen at the opera’s 2000 premiere, as Mrs. De Rocher. Met Opera Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts. The production, directed by Ivo van Hove, is the first of four Met premieres in the season, part of the company’s present effort to program more contemporary works.
The Met’s season-opening week will continue with performances of early and late masterpieces by Verdi. Nabucco, Verdi’s first hit opera, will be conducted by Daniele Callegari, and will star baritone George Gagnidze as the titular king of Babylon. Soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska reprises her role as Nabucco’s ambitious and vengeful daughter Abigaile, and bass Dmitry Belosselskiy plays the Jewish high priest Zaccariah who leads the Hebrews against the imperious king. Belosselskiy will also sing in performances of Verdi’s Requiem, alongside soprano Leah Hawkins, mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, and tenor Matthew Polenzani. Performances of the Requiem will be conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Both of these works by Verdi prominently feature the Metropolitan Opera’s acclaimed chorus, which will be led for the last time this season by chorus master Donald Palumbo, who will resign at the end of this season.
The New York Philharmonic’s season officially began two weeks ago, but their opening gala will take place September 27. The one-night concert, conducted by Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden, will feature Yo-Yo Ma playing Dvořák’s cello concerto. The program will also include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien.
Violinist Joshua Bell will join the New York Philharmonic from September 29 to October 1 for the U.S. premiere of The Elements, a new work commissioned by Joshua Bell featuring movements by five contemporary American composers: Kevin Puts, Edgar Meyer, Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon, and Jessie Montgomery. The concert will also include Copland’s third symphony.
The New York City Ballet’s fall season is entirely devoted to celebrating the work of George Balanchine, and after last week’s season-opening run of Jewels, will continue this week with two more all-Balanchine programs. The first program, an all-American affair will include Western Symphony, choreographed to a selection of traditional American melodies; The Unanswered Question, choreographed to the work of the same name by Charles Ives; Tarantella, choreographed to music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk; and Stars And Stripes, using the music of John Philip Sousa. All of the ballets on this program except for The Unanswered Question feature arrangements and orchestrations by Hershey Kay.
The second all-Balanchine program this week will include Bourrée Fantasque, choreographed to selections by Chabrier; Stravinsky’s Agon; and Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, the ballet scene from the 1936 Rodgers and Hart musical On Your Toes, the first of four Rodgers and Hart musicals choreographed by Balanchine. Slaughter On Tenth Avenue will be presented with the original scenic and costume design by Jo Mielziner and Irene Sharaff.
Dorrance Dance will return to the 92nd Street Y September 29 to open the Y’s 150th Anniversary Season of Dance. The performance will include the premieres of new works by Dorrance Dance company members Elizabeth Burke, Luke Hickey, and Claudia Rahardjanoto, as well as a tenth anniversary performance of SOUNDspace, Michelle Dorrance’s 2013 work that brought the company to prominence.
On Site Opera will present their final performances of Song of the Nightingale September 28-30 at Brookfield Place. The site-adaptive opera by composer Lisa Despain and librettist Melisa Tien is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Nightingale, and has been performed at three public spaces owned by Brookfield Properties, which co-commissioned and co-produced the opera.
September 30 and October 1, cellist Julian Schwarz and pianist Marika Bournaki will perform Beethoven’s complete cello sonatas at Bargemusic across two concerts. The five sonatas span Beethoven’s early, middle, and late periods.
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