Thursday, May 5, 2022

The CMG Concert Calendar: May 2022

I'm a few days late here -- I think the month of April is designed to kill the human race. No one I know had an easy, relaxing month, myself included. I made it to maybe half of the concerts I wrote up. Averaged maybe one a week in the latter half of the month?

Anyway, I'm in the process of bouncing back. Stress levels are still high, and convincing myself to leave the house is getting harder, especially as a current work-from-home-er.


May 2, 6, 10, 14mat, 17, 21mat (cont. from April) | Met Opera House | $30 and up
see last month

May 13, 18, 21, 26, 31 (into June) | Met Opera House | $30 and up
Several exciting debuts in this one. Hamlet is tenor Allan Clayton, whose recent Peter Grimes in London received rave reviews. Countertenors Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen and Christopher Lowrey (both one-time Met competition winners) debut opposite each other as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. South African baritone (and once boy soprano) Jacques Imbrailo plays Horatio. It's even composer Brett Dean's first Met rodeo. This is going to be a powerhouse performance.

May 19, 22mat, 25, 28mat (cont. from March) | Met Opera House | $30 and up
Instead of going to the 2019 Harvard-Yale football game (the last before COVID), I decided to fly home a day early. My flight was late enough to catch the first two acts of Met's Akhnaten simulcast, but I had to leave before Act III. I still don't know how it ends. He dies, I think? This is one that you want to watch from the nosebleeds, it's about the composite spectacle -- glow-in-the-dark juggling, 40-pound costumes, nude scene and all.

May 30 (into June, only four performances!) | Met Opera House | $30 and up
I will never turn down an opportunity to see Golda Schultz, especially after her stunning Contessa Almaviva in January's Figaro run. And she heads a cast that will make my first Rake's Progress a memorable one. Ben Bliss supposedly lives up to his name (I bet I'm the first to make that joke), Raehann Bryce-Davis will make her awaited debut, and Christian Van Horn's dry humor stole January 2019's Wozzeck. At least, I think dry humor is right for Van Horn's character, Nick Shadow, but I'm basing that only on a Twitter parody account.


April 29-May 1 | 8 venues in Downtown Brooklyn | days from $95, full festival $195
see last month -- or wait for my review in Which Sinfonia!

May 13-14 | The Jazz Gallery | $25 and up
Last week, I stepped foot in the cesspit that is the Village Vanguard for the first time since 2019. In hindsight, not a great decision health-wise, but the set was fabulous: a drummer named Johnathan Blake and his new-ish quintet, Pentad. Vibraphonist Joel Ross was one of the clear stars, although Blake's approach crosses boundaries far less than Ross's, which usually fuses elements of hip-hop and other genres. I'm excited to see Ross lead a band in his own music.

May 20-21 | Roulette Intermedium | $40 online, $45 doors
I did not get to see Henry Threadgill at The Jazz Gallery a few months ago. But the same point stands: I learned about this man in my jazz history classes, and he's almost 80. Jazz was only invented a century ago, so now is the time to see the pioneers before they, uh, go the way of the dodo.


May 5 | Alice Tully Hall | $20
This already happened, but it was really lovely! Copland's In The Beginning is a nifty little piece that sounds difficult as all hell. And of all the Haydn masses, the Creation mass is definitely one of them!

May 6 | 92nd Street Y | $20 and up
The Dovers might be the best quartet in the country right now. They're here in NYC at least once a year, so I'm not going to this performance. But if you're in the area with nothing to do, you will never go wrong with a Dover evening. (I reviewed them most recently in October 2019, but I don't remember what I said. Let's find out!)

May 6 | Carnegie Hall (Stern) | $34.50 and up
I turned down the opportunity to see Igor Levit in recital due to Omicron, and I was hell-bent on seeing him this time. But alas, I'm skipping this concert for a very good reason (see immediately below). But you shouldn't. There are things I'd rather see Levit play than Brahms, like the Shostakovich preludes and fugues he's bringing to Carnegie next year. But Brahms is never a bad choice, nor is the Bartok Concerto for Orchestra.

May 6 | Carnegie Hall (Zankel) | $38 and up
General rule: in my house, we support our friends. One of my besties designed the projections for this premiere, and her work is always stunning. It's a great ensemble, too -- I've been absolutely dying to hear Nora Fischer live after her album of electric guitar-accompanied Baroque airs (it works, trust me!). I confess, I usually am not a Golijov fan. But I am willing to be converted.

May 8mat | Carnegie Hall (Stern) | $19 and up
The English Concert has been touring operas in concert for the past few years, always to great acclaim. For sopranos Lucy Crowe and Mary Bevan, Handel is their bag. Emily D'Angelo seems to do a bit of everything -- I'll be interested to read her reviews.

May 8mat | Corpus Christi Church | $10 and up
I grew up in a nerdy world where Ockeghem (think 15th-century Flanders) came up in conversation relatively often. I thus assumed that Ockeghem gets performed relatively often. Not the case, at least in this country. This may be the first (and last) major Ockeghem concert of the NYC concert season, and no way am I missing it.

May 9 | Advent Lutheran Church | FREE
Guys. It's a free Mendelssohn Octet. And one of Florence Price's gorgeous quartets. And some fun new music. And it's FREE. There is no downside.

May 11 | Roulette Intermedium | $35 online, $40 doors
God, I wish I didn't have orchestra rehearsal on May 11!!!! John Zorn aligns himself with only the best musicians in the NYC avant-garde scene. The people he trusts to give his premieres are the demigods, the ones who simply don't know how to make mistakes. Buckle up, kids, this one's going to be wild.

May 17 | Park Avenue Armory | $55
When I don't know what I want to listen to, I put on Ensemble Correspondances. They have their French Baroque niche, but they've started to branch out -- their 11th album, released in March 2021, features a German (and Swedish!) program they've been touring around the US. But here in NYC, it's comfort food: their Plaisirs du Louvre program, one that I count among my comfort albums. I requested my tickets in mid-April, never got a reply, and now it's sold out. I will show up the day of and pout as much as I need to, so help me god.

May 18 | National Sawdust | $30
I saw these projects in their first iteration, at Roulette in [September? October?], and they're so fabulous I'm considering seeing them again. In reality, I'm probably not going to schlep to Williamsburg on a Wednesday to see this again, especially considering it's coming out on twin CDs five days earlier. I also really dislike National Sawdust -- it's sort of cold and dank and unwelcoming, especially compared to Roulette's kitschy coziness -- but in this rare case, it's worth it, I promise.

May 19 | Carnegie Hall (Weill) | $38 and up
Carnegie needs to quit putting up such great concerts at the same time. This album made me smile, a rare ray of hope right around the beginning of the pandemic -- it's some of the nicest, most profound, best-though-out Schubert on the market. Yi-heng Yang is a name I'm surprised I don't see more often around here, considering the fabulous playing on this album. I think she's based in New Jersey?

May 19 | Carnegie Hall (Stern) | $45 and up
I finally got to chat with Julia Wolfe a bit at the Bang on a Can Long Play -- we were randomly seated next to each other at the finale. I will probably end up seeing Karim Sulayman this date, but it's only because I've gone out of my way to see most every other performance of Wolfe's music this year. This is the piece that won her a Pulitzer, a cantata about coal miners in eastern Pennsylvania. It's probably the best primer on Wolfe's incredible music that you're going to get.

May 20 | National Sawdust | $25
I've mentioned my friend Jimmy Reese here before, usually in conjunction with TENET Vocal Artists. He's a founding member of this mostly-new-music sextet in Philadelphia -- already a hotbed of avant-garde vocal music thanks to The Crossing. They release their first album this month, and this Friday performance is the release performance. Again, worth a trip to the venue that tries too hard.

May 21 | Miller Theatre | $20 and up
Next month, I'll be a fellow at the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism in San Francisco. They've kindly sent us a list of all the concerts we'll have to review, and one of them is a huge Miguel Zenón premiere at SFJAZZ. Call this research! Fun, enjoyable research.

No comments:

Post a Comment