Music Director James Levine leads the opening night gala on October 4, featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham as soloist in Ravel's song cycle Sh_h_razade, as well as Jean-Yves Thibaudet in Ravel's Piano Concerto in G.
Seven months later, Levine closes the 2007-08 season with concert performances of Berlioz's epic opera, Les Troyens. The cast includes tenor Marcello Giordani (Aeneas), mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter (Dido), mezzo-soprano Yvonne Naef (Cassandra and Ghost of Cassandra), baritone Dwayne Croft (Chorebus and Ghost of Chorebus), tenor Eric Cutler (Iopas), tenor Kenneth Tarver (Hylas) and bass Kwangchul Youn (Narbal); joining the BSO will be the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
Another major event comes April 9-12, with Levine conducting back-to-back Brahms programs featuring the Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 (with Evgeny Kissin as soloist) and the Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3. Another highlight includes Levine conducting Smetana's complete Mš Vlast, a cycle of six tone poems including the famous "The Moldau"; these will be the first BSO performances of the complete work at Symphony Hall in 35 years.
Bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff visits Boston at the end of February for two programs: Schubert's Winterreise, with Levine accompanying him at the piano, and a set of five Schubert songs orchestrated by various composers.
Other works conducted by Levine include Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and tenor Johan Botha, Berg's Violin Concerto with Christian Tetzlaff, and Duparc songs with soprano Ren_e Fleming.
The contemporary music lineup includes the world premiere of Elliott Carter's Horn Concerto (written for BSO principal horn James Sommerville), John Harbison's Symphony No. 5 (with mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and baritone Nathan Gunn), and William Bolcom's Symphony No. 8 for chorus and orchestra, a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission. Levine also leads the U.S. premiere of Henri Dutilleux's Le Temps l'horloge, for soprano and orchestra, and Australian composer Brett Dean's The Lost Art of Letter Writing with violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, for whom the work was written. Other contemporary works featured next season include Michael Gandolfi's The Garden of Cosmic Speculation and Osvaldo Golijov's Ausencia and Azul for cello and strings, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist.
The guest conductor lineup includes BSO conductor emeritus Bernard Haitink leading three performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Ian Bostridge as the Evangelist. Colin Davis leads Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius, with mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, tenor Ben Heppner, bass-baritone Gerald Finley, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus; he also conducts Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 with Mitsuko Uchida. Rafael Fr‹hbeck de Burgos leads three Strauss tone poems, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Leif Ove Andsnes. Daniele Gatti leads the orchestra and Garrick Ohlsson in Schumann's Piano Concerto and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. Markus Stenz makes his BSO debut leading Mozart's Symphony No. 1 and Schumann's Symphony No. 2. Newly appointed BSO assistant conductor Julian Kuerti makes his regular season debut with Knussen's The Way to Castle Yonder.
Symphony Hall's 67-stop Aeolian-Skinner organ is spotlighted twice in next season's programming, with Simon Preston featured in Poulenc's Concerto for Organ, Timpani, and Strings, led by Robert Spano, and James David Christie joining the orchestra for Saint-SaêŠns's "Organ" Symphony (No. 3), led by Charles Dutoit.
The soloist lineup also includes Leon Fleisher celebrating his 80th birthday with a performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (the "Emperor"). Violinist Isabelle Faust makes her BSO debut with pianist Peter Serkin in Berg's Chamber Concerto for piano and violin with thirteen wind instruments.