Fifteen Performances to Catch this Fall

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This fall, Emperor Titus returns to the Met, Philip Glass returns to BAM, Simon Keenlyside returns to Berg and VOX returns to New York City Opera. Here are our picks for the upcoming New York opera season.

Einstein on the Beach (September 14–23)
Philip Glass’s first opera still galvanizes and gobsmacks audiences. Following a U.S. premiere at the Met in 1976, it docked at BAM in 1984 and returns to Brooklyn almost 30 years later as part of a world tour that has already gained gale force.

L’Elisir d’Amore (September 24–February 9)
The Metropolitan Opera’s season opens for the second consecutive year with Anna Netrebko as the headliner. She is joined by Mariusz Kwiecien and Matthew Polenzani for a far sunnier plot than last year’s Anna Bolena, starring in this heady Donizetti comedy. Director Bartlett Sher gives the work a makeover in a new production.

Dog Days (September 29–Oct 7)
It’s worth trekking out to New Jersey to see David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s opera, based on Judy Budnitz’s short story detailing a suburban family in the midst of a dystopian, war-ravaged America.  After several workshops, the work receives its world premiere in Montclair, produced by Peak Performances and Beth Morrison Projects.

The MET Orchestra (October 14)
With conductor Semyon Bychkov in tow, the Met’s musicians-in-residence go south of Columbus Circle for the first of their concerts at Carnegie Hall. Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, who spends part of her season singing Sieglinde in the Met’s Ring Cycle, lends her voice to Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder in a program that also includes the Overture and Bacchanale from Tannhäuser and Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie. Big sounds for a big orchestra.

Les Arts Florissants (October 19)
Tickets are already limited for this concert, which is presented as part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series. Christie’s company explores the motets of 17th-century French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier with selections from Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, Miseremini Mei, and The Prodigal Son.

Philadelphia Orchestra (October 23)
Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s debut season at the helm of the Philadelphia Orchestra includes a stopover at Carnegie Hall with a statement-making concert of Verdi’s Requiem. The soloists are nothing to sneeze at either, with soprano Marina Poplavskaya, mezzo Christine Rice, tenor Rolando Villazón and bass Mikhail Petrenko doing the honors.

The Tempest (October 23–November 17)
Thomas Adès makes his Metropolitan Opera debut as both composer and conductor in the company premiere of his landmark opera, The Tempest. Robert Lepage directs, but unlike his recent work for the Met, this work has had a luxurious out-of-town run in Canada over the summer. Simon Keenlyside stars as Prospero in a cast that also includes Isabel Leonard, Alek Shrader, Toby Spence, and Iestyn Davies.

Marlis Petersen (October 26)
After a scintillating 2010 performance of Lulu at the Met, this German soprano makes her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall with a program based on her recent Harmonia-Mundi album. Singing works based on Goethe’s concept of the eternal feminine, Petersen includes Schubert, Mendelssoh, Beethoven and Bruch, in her programming.

VOX (November 8)
New York City Opera revives its workshop of new American operas, presenting it in conjunction with Opera America’s 2012 New Works Forum and playing on familiar territory at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Don’t miss John Zorn’s “mystery play in 11 strophes,” The Holy Visions, based on the life and work of Hildegard von Bingen.

Un Ballo in Maschera (November 8–December 14)
The Met’s series of new productions for the 2012-13 season includes an appearance by the unapologetically iconoclastic director David Alden. Portraying Verdi’s love triangle in Alden’s dreamlike setting are Marcelo Álvarez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Sondra Radvanovsky, with Fabio Luisi leading from the pit.

The Richard Tucker Gala (November 11)
With Richard Tucker’s centennial year celebrations underway, this year’s gala will carry some extra occasion. Headlining the concert is 2012 winner, soprano Ailyn Pérez. Also slated to sing are Susan Graham, Gerald Finley, Marcelo Álvarez, Erwin Schrott, Olga Borodina, Ildar Abdrazakov, and more. Fabio Luisi conducts members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New York Choral Society.

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the Monteverdi Choir (November 16–17)
It’s hard to beat Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Beethoven concerts. Kicking off the season for overindulgence, New Yorkers get not one but two Carnegie Hall evenings of the master at work, with the Ninth Symphony (featuring Rebecca Evans, Jennifer Johnston, Michael Spyres, and Matthew Rose) on the 16th and the same composer’s Missa Solemnis (with the same cast of singers) the following night.

Joyce DiDonato (November 18)
The Yankee Diva taps into a reign of Baroque royals for “Drama Queens,” an evening-length Carnegie recital of works by Handel, Monteverdi, Gluck, Orlandini, Cesti, Giacomelli, Hasse, and Porta. Accompanying her is Il Complesso Barocco with Dmitri Sinkovsky on violin.

Wozzeck (November 19)
In between turns as Prospero, Simon Keenlyside stars as Berg’s tragic antihero. The concert performance at Lincoln Center reunites Keenlyside with soprano Angela Denoke, who sang Marie to his Wozzeck in Paris four years ago. Supplying the score is the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen.

La Clemenza di Tito (November 16–December 10)
The highlights at the Met this fall aren’t exclusively new productions. The company’s familiar production of Mozart’s late, great opera is worth revisiting to hear Harry Bicket lead a cast of singers including Lucy Crowe, Barbara Frittoli, Elina Garanca, Kate Lindsey and Giuseppe Filianoti.

Photos: Yannick Nézet-Séguin (Marco Borggreve/Lincoln Center, Inc.); Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Marcelo Álvarez in Un Ballo in Maschera (Brigitte Lacombe/Metropolitan Opera)