Carnegie Hall’s 2003-2004 season was announced on January 7 in New York by executive and artistic director Robert Harth, who continues the traditional, star studded lines of Carnegie Hall programming in this, his third season at the helm.
Next season’s highlights include:
> The Kirov Orchestra under Valery Gergiev, featuring Shostakovich’s popular Symphony No. 7, violinist Maxim Vengerov playing Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, and Prokofiev’s complete ballet score Romeo and Juliet (Oct. 1, 3, 5, 2003).
> Vengerov returns to play Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, continuing his current enthusiasm for baroque violin repertoire(March, 19, 20, 2004).
> Voice lovers will mark German baritone Thomas Quasthoff’s recital of Schumann and Schubert lieder (Oct. 11, 2003). Other baritone recitals include: Thomas Hampson (Oct. 14), Matthias Goerne (March 7, 2004), and Bryn Terfel (April 12, 2004).
On the distaff side, soprano Renée Fleming performs with the very fine Orchestra of St. Luke’s (Dec. 11, 2003). She returns with fellow stars Anne Sofie von Otter and René Pape for an evening of Schubert lieder accompanied by James Levine.
The most anticipated vocal event of the season is surely the Carnegie Hall Recital Debut of the divine soprano Deborah Voigt, accompanied by James Levine (April 7, 2004). Running a close second will be the recital by voluptuous Russian mezzo Olga Borodina (May 9, 2004). She will also solo with the Met Orchestra (May 16, 2004).
> Opera fans take note: The Boston Symphony will offer a concert version of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, led by Bernard Haitink. The stunning cast includes Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Simon Keenlyside in the title roles and Canadian baritone Gerald Finley as Golaud (Oct. 20, 2003). Another French music highlight is sure to be the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony (Oct. 7, 2003).
> Pianist Emanuel Ax curates a season-long series of concerts exploring fin-de-siècle French music and its influences. The programming is heavy on Wagner, Franck, Ravel, and Chopin. Ax will play Debussy’s two books of Images, and much more.
> Francophiles will also want to celebrate the bicentennial of Berlioz’s birth with the Orchestre de Paris’s two Berlioz concerts (Nov. 20, 21, 2003).
> Among the galaxy of star pianists performing next season, one event of human interest stands out. The venerable pianist Leon Fleisher, who lost the use of one hand many years ago, gives his first two-handed piano recital in decades on Oct. 31, 2003. Bravo.
> The increasingly eccentric young Chinese pianist Lang Lang makes his Carnegie Hall recital debut on Nov. 7 with works by Haydn, Schubert, Chopin and Tan Dun. He returns with the Philadelphia Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 (March 9, 2004).
> Russian piano marvel Arcadi Volodos, whose fantastically slick and showy style has stirred up considerable controversy, returns for a recital on Jan. 31, 2004.
> The season’s top glamour event will be the Vienna Philharmonic’s three concerts under their new music director Seiji Ozawa. Reports from Vienna suggest that the Austrians love their Japanese maestro and are performing well for him. Their New York concerts will include solid Austro-German fare: Strauss’s Don Juan, Schoenberg’s Pelleas und Melisande, Schubert’s Symphony No. 8, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2, etc. (Feb. 18, 19, 20, 2004).
> The other hot ticket will be the Berlin Philharmonic with their new music director Sir Simon Rattle. The dream team will play Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, and Ligeti’s Violin Concerto (Nov. 12); two Haydn symphonies, Debussy’s La Mer, and a new work by French composer Henri Dutilleux for soprano Dawn Upshaw (Nov. 13); and a new work by German composer Heiner Goebbels, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 (Nov. 14, 2003).
> Rattle, a genius who should never be missed on his rare US visits, will return to helm the Philadelphia Orchestra in Wagner’s Prelude from Tristan und Isolde, Henze’s Symphony No. 10, and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 (Jan. 27, 2004).
> The Met Orchestra, easily the best symphonic ensemble in New York, is sure to please in programs featuring music by Berlioz and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 played by the eccentric virtuoso Evgeny Kissin.
> The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will make its annual visit with crowd-pleasing works by Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky. Conductor Herbert Blomstedt will try to fill the large shoes of Riccardo Chailly (Feb. 14,15, 2004).
> Canadians appearing at Carnegie Hall next season include soprano Dominique Labelle with the National Symphony Orchestra. A pack of top Canuck singers including Isabel Bayrakdarian, Michael Schade, Russell Braun, and Norine Burgess, will perform Brahms’s Liebeslieder-Walzer, Op. 52 on March 3, 2004.
> Of the many international orchestras visiting Carnegie Hall next season, a novelty will be the rarely heard Staatskapelle Berlin under Daniel Barenboim in four all Schumann concerts with the superb pianist Radu Lupu, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and violinist Gidon Kremer (Jan 21, 23, 24, 25, 2004). Another potentially enjoyable offering is the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in an all-Dvorak program with French pianist Pierre Laurent Aimard (March 22, 2004).
> For the first time in decades, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (MSO) will not perform its annual Carnegie Hall concerts. But the MSO’s ex-Music Director Charles Dutoit will return to Carnegie Hall on Oct. 26, 2003, the very date the MSO would normally have occupied, to conduct a student band! Though the band is the exquisite Juilliard Orchestra and the soloist is Emanuel Ax, this event seems to send a signal to the MSO that it no longer counts in New York City. Incidentally, Dutoit will also lead next season’s Carnegie Hall choral workshop, featuring Fauré’s Requiem, with Canadian baritone Nathan Berg (Feb. 22, 2004).
Don’t forget that Carnegie Hall has a great student rush deal. Tickets for most concerts are available for $10 on the day of the concert, with a student I.D.
> Full Carnegie Hall 2003-2004 concert season