Sunday, April 3, 2022

The CMG Concert Calendar: April 2022

I think I'm in a rhythm now. Last month, I felt myself burning out. Not this month. I held my off days sacred. I didn't go to concerts for the sake of having plans. And I'm still exhausted, but I'm more happy exhausted and less cranky exhausted (though I do not regret napping instead of seeing Rodelinda last Sunday).

Between Holy Week and all these amazing concerts, April might kill me. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.


April 1, 5, 9, 12, 16mat, 20 | Met Opera House | $30 and up
This will be my first Elektra, but after reading the synopsis, it makes last month's Wozzeck look like Sesame Street. The Met's Wagnerian queen, Lise Davidsen, is back for this production after stealing March's run of Ariadne auf Naxos. She's in a secondary role this time around, but that's still reason enough to come -- as if Nina Stemme and Greer Grimsley weren't already. I think I'm shooting for opening night on this one.
EDIT: This was probably the best cast I've seen this season. Nina Stemme was perhaps the weakest of the leads, and she was still absolutely phenomenal, especially considering that Elektra comes onstage in the first minute and never leaves. The amount of fire that Michaela Schuster puts into Klytämnestra alone justifies the ticket price. Run, don't walk.

April 2mat, 7, 10mat, 14 (cont. from March) | Met Opera House | $30 and up

April 2, 6, 9mat, 13, 16, 21 | Met Opera House | $30 and up
I saw this in January, so you won't see me there this month. But if you didn't, now would be a great time. Ying Fang is famous for her Mozart, Sasha Cooke never disappoints, and Gerald Finley and Christian Van Horn will probably be hilarious playing off of each other.

April 23, 26, 29 (into May) | Met Opera House | $30 and up
This updated Lucia has caused a stir in the few boomer opera-nerd Facebook groups where I lurk (how about that for niche?). Of course, I have a dirty secret: I've never seen Lucia in the first place. Maybe I'll watch a traditional production first. Maybe I won't, and my first Lucia will take place in the modern-day Rust Belt. Either way, I'm expecting a barn-burning mad scene from Nadine Sierra and one of the Met's two principal flutes -- and after seeing Matthew Rose step into a Don Carlos lead on a couple hours' notice last week, I want to hear more.


April 7-10 | The Prince George Ballroom | $50
Last time I saw On Site Opera, they were telling of the African slave trade on the big ship Wavertree in the South Street Seaport -- a moving and extremely well-executed production, even in sub-optimal conditions. Now, it's time for Gianni Schicchi in an ornate East Side ballroom -- something about wood paneling and bronze purfling makes any concert sound better (as I learned with TENET's cheeky Les plaisirs de Versailles in the gorgeous House of the Redeemer reading room last month).

April 14-15 | Park Avenue Armory | $45
New York has a lot of phenomenal new music ensembles, but seeing them perform is a crapshoot when you don't live in the city -- many of them only perform five or six one-off concerts a year. Now, it's time to make my way down the missed connections list. I've been listening to Alarm Will Sound since high school, and an hour of John Luther Adams is just the live introduction I was hoping for. 

April 29-May 1 | 8 venues in Downtown Brooklyn | days from $95, full festival $195
I'm covering this one for Which Sinfonia, where I do the bulk of my serious writing, and I'm so excited -- avant-garde classical Coachella! I'm still looking for the right companion -- or, let me rephrase. I know who the right companion would be, but he won't be around. I'm looking for the right Sam substitute.


April 2 | Weill Recital Hall | $38 and up
Rule number one of concert planning: if you can, see people performing music they own. Padmore's Schubert. Bang on a Can's Wolfe. Jeanine De Bique's set of traditional Trinidadian songs. I've never encountered De Bique outside of a Handel context (a comment on me, not her), but early music specialists so often excel at mid-to-late-Romantic lieder. I'm excited.
EDIT: There are simply no words.

April 3mat | Morgan Library | $50
Yes, I'm trying to see three concerts this day. First up, at 3pm: among the world's best sopranos and fortepianists on tour with their fantastic new album of Haydn, Mozart, and contemporaries. I haven't met a soul who doesn't think Carolyn Sampson is a deity incarnate, and after hours of listening, I hold the same view of Kristian Bezuidenhout. Two of those artists I've been waiting to see for years, and the weekend is finally upon us!!!

April 3mat | Merkin Hall, Kaufman Center | $20
Next, at 5pm: one of my good friends is making his NYC debut as a pianist for this art song collective run by a former professor of mine. Another of those instances where the program looks wacky at first glance -- Mozart, Barber, and Sondheim on the same program? -- but Richard Lalli and Tobé Malawista always, always make it fit.

April 3 | Advent Lutheran Church | $25
And finally, at 7pm: NYC's foremost period instrument quartet, whose Haydn-Seven Last Words-plus-commissions project was one of my favorite performances of [November? December? time is a construct]. Here, they present their first installment in a ten-year project of Haydn's 68 quartets, alongside responsive commissions from today's up-and-coming voices -- this time from American composer Alexandra du Bois.

April 6 | Roulette Intermedium | $20
Based on Emmanuel Iduma's reflective travelogue of the same name, Sara Serpa's Intimate Strangers is perhaps one of the most technically pieces I've seen in the past few months -- the evening-length work served as one night of her February residency at The Stone. The work is as stunning live as it is recorded, the close-harmonied vocal trio dancing around and intermingling with (but never overpowering) poised, well-considered narrations directly from the text. I have a rehearsal that conflicts with this performance (and besides which, I've already seen it), but I highly, highly recommend you make the trip.

April 7 | Carnegie Hall (Stern) | $14.50 and up
I don't recommend Bach on modern instruments often, but at very least go to this performance for the soloists. Julian Prégardien brings a coarse drama to his Evangelists, less smooth than some of his counterparts but with a compelling honesty. Philippe Sly has a rich voice that fits into any period -- the early music scene is so, so lucky to have him. A quartet at the forefront of the British Bach scene -- Carolyn Sampson, Hugh Cutting, Andrew Staples, and Matthew Brook -- take all of the arias, strategically saving poor choir members from double duty in the marathon, three-hour piece.

April 13 | Carnegie Hall (Zankel) | $35
Ensemble Signal is another of those new music ensembles that I've never had the fortune to see -- and after the transformative Steel Hammer that started Julia Wolfe's Carnegie residency, I'll see as many of these performances as I have time for. Plus, I remember being impressed with Tessa Lark at an informal concert she gave at the Rubinstein Atrium with her partner, Michael Thurber (of vintage YouTube fame), and this sort of repertoire seems to be among her specialties.

April 21 | Miller Theatre | $20 and up
I had the pleasure to review Yarn/Wire's performance at last year's TIME:SPANS festival -- they're a group with monstrous musicality and even more intimidating brainpower. I thought I remembered Meadowcroft on that program, but it seems I'm mistaken. But Miller's composer portraits never steer wrong.

April 21 | Merkin Hall, Kaufman Center | $25
God, I wish I could be in two places at once on April 21. The JACK Quartet has that Midas touch -- they can do no wrong. The first time I saw them (at Miller Theatre, funnily enough), I haphazardly reoriented my plans to see them again the next night. So what do I see, fantastic new music about 25min from my apartment or....fantastic new music about 25min from my apartment?

April 22 | Carnegie Hall (Weill) | $57 and up
Il Pomo d'Oro has been around for a while, but they shot into the mainstream somewhat recently as the ensemble behind one of Joyce DiDonato's highly-acclaimed 2016 album In War and Peace. Since then, they've become prolific -- there have been months where they release two or three albums in a row, and they always sound in top shape (especially under wild-child Maxim Emelyanychev). Time to see them shine.

April 23 | Carnegie Hall (Stern) | $65 and up
I will be very frank: my first reaction to this program was less "Ooooooh!" and more "What is THIS clusterfuck?" I love Joyce, but it's not like she's never misstepped -- my opinions on her Songplay album remain unchanged, Grammy win notwithstanding. But this hodgepodge of Mahler, Ives, Gluck, a world premiere by Rachel Portman, and plenty of furious early-classical actually flows quite well. I'm interested to see how the staging contributes.

April 23 (late) | Carnegie Hall (Zankel) | $65 and up
If there's any time to hear George Crumb's (may he rest in peace) Black Angels, now would be the time: so much of the world ravaged, so many spirits down, so many hopes dashed. The piece, centered on the Vietnam War, is at once haunting and downright terrifying. And who better to hear play it than the Kronos Quartet, who included the work on their first concerts in the '70s? Other newer works (about which I know very little) follow, but suffice it to say that if it passes through the collective Kronos consciousness, it's bound to be good.

April 24 | Merkin Hall, Kaufman Center | $25 and up
Parlando's last concert, centered around the tensions between Hollywood and the American concert scene, was a stunner -- I've never been surer that every note would sound perfectly as I was in Tai Murray's Bernstein Serenade. Now, it's new music time: four premieres that explore different facets of Americanism and American identity, capped off with Copland's peak-Americana Appalachian Spring.

No comments:

Post a Comment