Critic’s Choice for 2018-19 season

By Lawrence Budmen and David Fleshler

Anna Netrebko & Yusif

Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov will perform at the Arsht Center on October 28. Photo: Vladimir Shirokov

Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony. Mozart, Britten and Bruckner. October 20 and 21. New World Center, Miami Beach

The symphonies of Anton Bruckner have begun appearing again on South Florida concert programs, after a dearth of many years. A real rarity will be performed at New World Symphony’s season-opening concert, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6, which displays the composer’s characteristic breadth of scale, harmonic richness and heroic brass writing, with a vast slow movement of rare eloquence. Also on the program is Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 14 with soloist Gabriela Montero and Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. (DF)

Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov.  October 28. Arsht Center, Miami

In the heyday of the defunct Concert Association of Florida, concerts by major opera stars in programs of popular arias with orchestra were an annual event. The fall season brings back some of that high-voltage star power and glamour with Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Yusif Eyvazov, her husband. Netrebko has made a transition from lyric coloratura repertoire to major Verdi roles. Eyvazov received plaudits for high-profile debuts at the Met and La Scala. Denis Vlasenko conducts. (LB)

Brad Lubman and the New World Symphony. Sounds of the Times. December 8. New World Center, Miami Beach

The New World Symphony’s concerts during Art Basel week usually features unique modernist repertoire and this year’s edition is no exception. Contemporary music specialist Brad Lubman will lead the American premiere of harmony and understanding by David Lang and John Adams’ Harmonielehre, an American classic. (LB)

Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra. Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. January 25-26, 2019. Arsht Center, Miami 

Performances of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies by Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra have been highlights of recent seasons. During this year’s two-week Miami residency, Welser-Möst and the Clevelanders turn to Mahler’s massive Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) with its chorus, vocal soloists and offstage brass choirs. Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and soprano Joélle Harvey will do the solo honors and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus will make the trip to Miami for the final hymn. (LB)

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with pianist Jeremy Denk. February 23. Arsht Center, Miami

Few ensembles can perform 18th-century repertory better than the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The chamber orchestra’s lively, precise and expressive playing will be on display in Albinoni’s Concerto No. 5, C.P.E. Bach’s Symphony in E-flat Major, Haydn’s Symphony No. 44, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 and, in a nod to the 20th century, Britten’s Young Apollo for piano and orchestra. Taking the solo piano part will be Jeremy Denk, another frequent South Florida visitor, whose impeccable technique and sensitive interpretations invigorate every concert in which he participates. (DF)

Christian Tetzlaff with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony. Ligeti, Bach, Smetana and Dvořák. February 23-24. New World Center, Miami Beach

Christian Tetzlaff is one of the world’s finest violin virtuosos with the keen artistic instincts to revitalize the most familiar reportoire. His appearances with the New World Symphony have consistently been season standouts. Tetzlaff returns to NWS for modernist icon György Ligeti’s Violin Concerto with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting. The varied program also features Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8. (LB)

The Borodin Quartet will perform for Friends of Chamber Music of Miami on xxx.  Photo: Keith Saunders

The Borodin Quartet will perform for Friends of Chamber Music of Miami March 20, 2019. Photo: Keith Saunders

Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Rimksy-Korsakov. February 26 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach; February 27 at the Arsht Center in Miami

For those who love the orchestral classics, the concerts of choice this year should include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s appearances at the Kravis and Arsht performing arts centers. Although the conservative programs offer zero novelty, this is one of the world’s great orchestras playing some of the literature’s greatest works. At the Kravis Center, the orchestra will play an all-Beethoven program, including the Leonore Overture No. 3, Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 7. At the Arsht Center, the orchestra will perform two Romantic Russian classics, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. (DF)

Borodin Quartet at Friends of Chamber Music of Miami. March 20. FIU Wertheim Auditorium

The Borodin Quartet’s link to Shostakovich may not be quite as direct as when older members of the ensemble had worked closely with the composer. Yet there’s still a strong sense of history to this venerable chamber music institution, founded in 1945 and known for a burnished, old-world sound. The quartet will perform Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 13, a wintry one-movement work composed toward the end of Shostakovich’s life, Borodin’s graceful String Quartet No. 2 and the String Quartet No. 13 of Nikolai Myaskovsky. (DF)

Florida Grand Opera. Massenet’s Werther.  April 27-May 11 at the Arsht Center, Miami and the Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale

Aside from the perennial Carmen, French opera has been a rarity on South Florida stages. During her six-year tenure as executive director of FGO, Susan Danis attempted to address that omission with successful mountings of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers and Massenet’s Thaïs. Appropriately the final production planned by the out-going Danis will be Massenet’s Werther. Based on Goethe’s tragic saga of a lovelorn poet, Werther is replete with passionate music and great arias for the protagonists. Met tenor Dimitri Pittas sings the title role and rising mezzo Daniela Mack is his beloved Charlotte.  Soprano Evan Kardon, who was impressive last season in Orfeo ed Euridice, plays Sophie and baritone Benjamin Dickerson sings Albert. The FGO performances will be conducted by Joseph Mechavich. (LB)

Brett Karlin and the Master Chorale of South Florida. Haydn’s The Creation. May 3 at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, and May 5 at Wold Performing Arts Center, Lynn University, Boca Raton

Under artistic director Brett Karlin, the Master Chorale of South Florida has established itself as a leading tri-county classical institution. The ensemble’s performance of Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” mass two seasons ago was full of grandeur, drama and refined singing. This season the Master Chorale will perform Haydn’s The Creation, a work often considered the composer’s masterpiece. Portraying nothing less than the Biblical creation of the universe, it opens with an eerie orchestral portrayal of chaos, containing one of Haydn’s greatest dramatic touches. (DF)

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