After perusing the traditional Christmas programs, which include everything from caroling to Bach and Handel, my thoughts race ahead to next summer, and to the musical "high season" to come. And - just in time for planning your festival season with friends over a mug of hot mulled apple cider - the Boston Symphony has announced its Tanglewood schedule - only a scant seven months away!
Try, for the moment, to forget the winter nearly upon us, with its attendant overcoats, gloves and galoshes, and dream of beautiful music performed in the bucolic hills and dales of Lenox. There will be a multitude of wonderful concerts and events from late June through Labor Day to cherish. Here are some highlights to fantasize about, and excite the musical daydreamer within you.
n The BSO’s Tanglewood season opens July 5 with Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos leading an all-Tchaikovsky program featuring violin virtuoso Joshua Bell, and closes on Aug. 25 with the return of BSO Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink, who will lead the combined forces of the BSO and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in the traditional seasonal finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
n The 200th anniversaries of the births of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi will be marked by two special concerts: Bryn Terfel, Katarina Dalayman and Amber Wagner will be the featured singers in a performance of Act III of Wagner’s "Die Walküre," led by maestro Lothar Koenigs (7/20).
n The Tanglewood Festival Chorus will also join the BSO in a performance of Francis Poulenc’s gorgeous "Stabat Mater" and Richard Strauss’s philosophically profound "Death and Transfiguration," led by Stephane Deneve (8/2,) and Charles Dutoit conducts Maurice Ravel’s spectacular "Daphnis et Chloe" and Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring" (8/3 and 4).
n Conductor Andris Nelsons directs the BSO in a performance of Gustav Mahler’s heaven-storming Third Symphony (7/6,) and maestro Christoph von Dohnanyi conducts the BSO in Brahms’ Second and Fourth Symphonies (8/9 and 10).
n For lovers of piano music, Tanglewood 2013 puts a spotlight on 13 of the world’s great pianists during the festival season. They are: Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Christoph Eschenbach, Leon Fleisher, Lang Lang, Paul Lewis, Garrick Ohlsson, Menahem Pressler, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov, Peter Serkin, and Christian Zacharias.
n In the populist sphere, "A Prairie Home Companion" returns for its traditional live broadcast from Tanglewood, hosted by Garrison Keillor and special guests on June 29.
n Composer/conductor John Williams leads the Boston Pops, joined by superstar vocalist Audra McDonald on Aug. 24 for his much-anticipated "Film Night."
n Keith Lockhart conducts the Pops in four concerts. Featured artists include country music legend Vince Gill (7/7) and Great American Songbook singer/pianist Michael Feinstein (8/16).
n Ozawa Hall will once again be the place to hear the best in chamber music, solo and joint recitals, opera performances and jazz. Some highlights: the Mahler Chamber Orchestra with pianist Paul Lewis in music of Mozart (7/24); Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, accompanied by collaborative pianist Natalia Katyukova will present a program of German and English art songs (7/18,) and a solo piano recital by the magnificent Garrick Ohlsson performing works by Beethoven, Schubert, Charles Griffes and Chopin (7/25).
n Lovers of ensemble chamber music will want to attend these two string quartet concerts: the Borodin String Quartet (7/17); the Emerson String Quartet (8/14).
n Attention opera aficionados: Composer John Harbison’s "The Great Gatsby" will be performed in concert by the ensemble Emmanuel Music (7/11,) and the Tanglewood Music Center fellows will perform Henry Purcell’s "Dido and Aeneas" and Benjamin Britten’s "Curlew River" in a double bill - also in Ozawa Hall - both directed by choreographer/director Mark Morris (7/31 and 8/1).
n For the adventurous listener, there’s the Festival of Contemporary Music, curated by the stellar pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The 2013 Festival focuses on the music of British composer George Benjamin, the recently deceased, 103-year old American master Elliott Carter and the German Helmut Lachenmann. Works by Christian Mason, Marco Stroppa and Steve Reich will also be performed. The FCM runs from Aug. 8-12.
n Special events at Tanglewood 2013 will include a showing of the re-mastered 1961 film West Side Story, with the Boston Symphony performing Leonard Bernstein’s classic score live, while the film is shown on large monitors in high-definition, with the original vocals and dialogue (7/13).
n Superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma will be joined by string virtuosos Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan in a program inspired by their recent genre-defying recording, "The Goat Rodeo Sessions" (8/15).
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Looking at the full Tanglewood late-spring-summer season, this listing is hardly more than a sampler of all that there is to hear and see. Now that you’ve seen my picks, go online at tanglewood.org and consider your own preferences.
Tickets go on sale Sunday, January 27, and can be purchased at the website, above, through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, and at the Symphony Hall box office, located at 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. In late June at a date to be announced, tickets will be available for purchase at the Tanglewood box office at the main gate, on West Street in Lenox.
It’s going to be a great spring/summer season with something to suit every musical taste. Dream on and imagine the sights and sounds yet to be seen and heard.