The opening weekend program is a concert presentation of the world's favorite opera set in Paris (and possibly the world's favorite opera, period) — Puccini's La Bohme. French soprano Norah Amsellem stars as Mimì, with tenor Marcus Haddock as Rodolfo, soprano Georgia Jarman as Musetta and baritone Fabio Capitanucci as Marcello. ASO music director Robert Spano conducts, with the semi-staging directed by Ed Berkley. The three performances this weekend will be recorded by the Telarc label (with which the ASO has an ongoing recording contract) for future release.
Other highlights of "I Love Paris" include Franck's tone poem The Accursed Huntsman, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Garrick Ohlsson as soloist), orchestral selections from Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet, Ravel's Tzigane, and Saint-Saëns's "Organ" Symphony (No. 3), with Peter Marshall as soloist under the baton of guest conductor Pinchas Zukerman. Spano closes the festival with Milhaud's Cration du monde, music by Debussy and Ravel, and, naturellement, Gershwin's An American in Paris.
Later in the season, Spano will conduct world premieres of two ASO commissions: a piano concerto by Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran, with Jean-Yves Thibaudet as soloist, and a new work by Venezuelan composer Gonzalo Grau. The contemporary music lineup also includes John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls and the Atlanta premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, which marks the ASO debut of clarinetist Todd Palmer.
In February, Oliver Knussen conducts a performance of his Where the Wild Things Are with soprano Lucy Shelton; that program also includes Ravel's Mother Goose Suite.
Principal guest conductor Donald Runnicles conducts four subscription concerts, including Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3, Beethoven's Symphony No. 4, Berlioz's Requiem and Symphonie fantastique, and Henryk G‹recki's Symphony No. 3, the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," with soprano Christine Brewer.
In April, the ASO, the ASO Chorus, and Spano return to Carnegie Hall for the New York premiere of Christopher Theofanidis's The Here and Now. The program also includes Sibelius's Tapiola and Ravel's Daphnis and Chlo_.
The upcoming season features the ASO debuts of more than 15 artists, including conductor Kwam_ Ryan, violinist Viviane Hagner and pianists Nicholas Angelich and Adam Golka. Returning soloists include pianists Ingrid Fliter and Yefim Bronfman, violinists Leila Josefowicz and Cho-Liang Lin, and baritone Nathan Gunn.
In addition to its own concerts, the ASO will present the China Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be making a U.S. tour in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The program includes works by Chinese composers and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Lang Lang as soloist.