March Madness at Lincoln Center

Classic Arts Features   March Madness at Lincoln Center
An overview of a particularly busy month of Lincoln Center programming which features opera premieres, special chamber music offerings and a variety of classical events.


March at Lincoln Center is bookended by three estimable orchestras, led by two of today's most dynamic conductors as part of Great Performers. The London Philharmonic Orchestra played two Avery Fisher Hall concerts under principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski, with Thomas Zehetmair as the soloist for Beethoven's Violin Concerto (March 1) and Alexander Toradze performed Ravel's G major Piano Concerto (March 7).

March ends with Beethoven Then and Now: The Complete Symphonies, in which Ivan Fischer leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in two Alice Tully concerts (March 25, 26) and the Budapest Festival Orchestra at Tully (March 27) and at Avery Fisher Hall (March 28). This quartet of concerts takes audiences on a journey: on both period and modern instruments: through Beethoven's nine classic symphonies.

A special New York Philharmonic event, a two-day celebration of Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday, lines up Broadway stars Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, Jason Danieley, Nathan Gunn, George Hearn, Patti LuPone, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Mandy Patinkin, and Bernadette Peters, all singing the Tony-winning legend's greatest hits (Avery Fisher, March 15, 16).

One of the Metropolitan Opera's most anticipated premieres, Dmitri Shostakovich's rarely-heard bureaucratic satire The Nose (based on the Gogol story), stars Tony-winning South Pacific heartthrob Paulo Szot in his Met debut as the ordinary man who loses the title proboscis. Valery Gergiev, a veteran of the Russian repertory, leads the Met Orchestra, while William Kentridge directs for the first time at the Met (March 5 _25).

Another new Met production is Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser's staging of Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet. This dramatic showcase stars British baritone Simon Keenlyside as the Danish prince. Louis Langr_e conducts (March 16 _April 9).

For the Opening Night performance of its spring season, New York City Opera brings back one of its most delectable recent productions: Mark Lamos' splendid staging of Emmanuel Chabrier's fizzy, funny L'Etoile. A sort of "La Belle ê_poque meets Broadway," the production: choreographed by Sešn Curran: nods to artist Toulouse-Lautrec, and features the return of French tenor Jean-Paul Fouch_court as the madcap king (David H. Koch Theater, March 18, 20, 26, 28).

The Finnish Voices festival is the Chamber Music Society's exploration of the music of a small country with a rich composing heritage, from Jean Sibelius to Esa-Pekka Salonen, Magnus Lindberg, and Olli Mustonen, whose works are performed on March 16 at Alice Tully Hall. A March 18 Rose Studio concert features Lindberg, Kaija Saariaho, and Einojuhani Rautavaara. Also part of Finnish Voices is a March 15 symposium at the Rose Studio, in which artistic director Wu Han leads a discussion about Finland's musical history.

At the Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center presents Pablo Aslan: Tango Salon, which stars bandleader-bass player Pablo Aslan and his group: who combine North American jazz with the Argentine tango: along with special guest Paquito D'Rivera on the clarinet and saxophone (March 26 _27).

Two Juilliard faculty members give recitals in March: cellist Joel Krosnick plays works by Babbitt and Carter at Paul Hall on March 17,while flutist Carol Wincenc performs at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater on March 31. The Juilliard Dances Repertory presents works choreographed by Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, and Jerome Robbins: with the Juilliard Orchestra, led by conductor George Stelluto, providing the music: for four performances at the Sharp Theater (March 24 _27).

With On a Sunday Afternoon, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts offers free concerts throughout the year, and March is no exception. The series includes Manhattan Opera Association's Songs and Arias (March 21) and pianist Alexander Wu (March 28).

The Film Society of Lincoln Center's 15th annual Rendezvous with French Cinema series sets up shop at the Walter Reade Theater March 12 _21, including New York premieres of the latest films from France. Movie-filled March concludes with the 39th edition of New Directors/New Films, which runs at the Walter Reade and the Museum of Modern Art March 24 _April 4.

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