New York's Must-See Opera and Song Events in 2013-14

Email a Friend

With summer winding down, Operavores are busy digging out agendas and writing in musical dates. Here are our picks for New York’s most enticing vocal and operatic events in 2013–14.

Song Recitals

Princes of German-language song reign this season: Christian Gerhaher sings Robert Schumann at the Park Avenue Armory on September 29 and October 1; Wolfgang Holzmair performs Schubert at the Frick Collection on February 9; Gerald Finley’s sole New York date is a February 13 Winterreise at Zankel Hall; Matthias Goerne sings the composer’s Die schöne Müllerin at Carnegie Hall on March 5; At Carnegie on February 28, Goerne also takes on the title role in Berg’s Wozzeck with the Vienna State Opera forces under Daniele Gatti; Florian Boesch brings his shattering way with Die Winterreise to Weill Recital Hall on May 9.

Brooklyn Academy of Music spotlights cutting-edge song on November 22 and 23 with 21c Liederabend, Op. 3. Chock-full of world premieres (including scenes from Mohammed Fairouz’s opera-in-progress, Bhutto), the weekend features music by Paola Prestini, Missy Mazzoli, David T. Little, Eric Whitacre, and others; performers include the stellar Choir of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner.

New York Festival of Song’s sparkling season includes a 90th-birthday tribute to Ned Rorem.

Last year Abigail Fischer’s powerful, great-hearted musicianship in Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar drew comparisons to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Kathleen Ferrier. On October 30 and November 1 hear Fischer in Respighi and the New York premiere of John Harbison’s Crossroads with the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble at the Morgan. She sings John Zorn at the Miller Theatre and the Metropolitan Museum in September and in Experiments in Opera’s Chorus of All Souls on November 2.

For intelligence, glamour, and fierce, searching artistry, no diva today outshines Anna Caterina Antonacci (right). On November 13 and 14 she sings 17th-century music of love and madness in Era la notte, part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. (Photo: Magali Bouchet)


Britten Centennial

Wachner and the Trinity forces spearhead local Benjamin Britten centennial festivities with fall Concerts at One featuring his music and an evening with tenor Nicholas Phan on September 21.

Rufus Müller and David Leisner perform Britten’s songs for tenor and guitar on October 18 at Symphony Space.

In October the Metropolitan Opera revives A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring the lustrous-toned alto Iestyn Davies as Oberon, who joins Ian Bostridge and Joshua Hopkins on October 20 to sing The Canticles at Zankel Hall.

And Carnegie’s Britten 100 series also includes Peter Grimes starring Anthony Dean Griffey and Susanna Phillips under David Robertson on November 22, and the War Requiem led by Robert Spano.

Below: Phan performs Britten  in the WQXR Cafe:

Early Music

Monteverdi’s Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda is an exemplary 20-minute tragedy, complete with Aristotelian recognition and reversal. At the Miller Theater on October 19, early-music band Le Poème harmonique pairs the Combattimento with a Monteverdi spoof. Later, Gotham Chamber Opera sets it alongside a Lembit Beecher world premiere at the Metropolitan Museum on February 26 and 27.

New Yorkers also have multiple chances to hear Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux enfers, performed by Gotham January 1, 3 and 5 at St. Paul's Chapel and by the Boston Early Music Festival forces March 17 and 18 at the Morgan Library.


The Devil’s Own Job

With his smoldering voice and arresting presence, Eric Owens made Alberich the most gripping character in the Met’s recent Ring cycles. On November 6 at Carnegie, backed by the Collegiate Chorale, he takes on the urbane title role in Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele, a ripsnorting opera too long absent in these parts. (Incidentally, Abdrazakov stars as Boito’s archfiend in San Francisco this season, in the witty Carsen production co-owned by the Met. A future Owens-Abdrazakov satanic smackdown would be a heavenly treat for New York audiences.)

Operas Old and New

The Met gives Verdi a luxe bicentennial gift in December: a new Robert Carsen staging of Falstaff led by James Levine, whose way with Verdi’s magical score is a wonder of this or any other age.

In February Borodin's Prince Igor returns to the Met for the first time in nearly a century, directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov (in his company début) and starring Ildar Abdrazakov. The electrifying maestro Gianandrea Noseda conducts.

This year’s inaugural Prototype Festival left audiences stomping and whooping in delight. Prototype 2014 opens in January and features five new operas, including works by Kamala Sankaram and Du Yun. Experiments in Opera in 2014 offers a program of radio operas and Aaron Siegel’s Brother, Brother, inspired by the life of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

New York City Opera’s season includes Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle at St. Ann’s Warehouse and what promises to be a boisterous and bilious Christopher Alden staging of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, both led by music director Jayce Ogren.

Finally, catch rising stars at New York’s conservatories. Juilliard's opera and vocal season includes Handel’s Radamisto, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and Massenet’s Cendrillon, while Manhattan School of Music stages Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All and Haydn’s Orlando Paladino.

To all, happy listening!