THE VIENNA PHILHARMONIC, THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA & THE BOSTON SYMPHONY
Carnegie Hall: Vienna: March 2, 3, 5 & 6 / Philadelphia: March 8 / Boston: March 19 & 20
Carnegie Hall hosts three of the world’s finest orchestras in March. The Vienna Philharmonic checks in first, led by the Hungarian conductor Ádám Fischer on March 2 and 3 with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture, “Eroica” Symphony, and Béla Bartók’s Debussy-inflected Two Pictures. Fischer also conducts a night of Haydn (Symphony No. 97) and Mozart (“Turkish” Violin Concerto, played by Leonidas Kavakos, and “Jupiter” Symphony). March 5 and 6 sees Michael Tilson Thomas tackle Ives (“Decoration Day”), Beethoven (Piano Concerto No. 3, performed by Igor Levit) and Brahms (Symphony No. 2) for his first program, and the epic Mahler 9 for his finale. The Philadelphia Orchestra and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin stop in for a single evening, March 8, with two grand Romantic works, Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1, played by 23-year-old Canadian prodigy Jan Lisieki, Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 the “Great,” and a new suite from Nico Muhly, Liar, adapted from his recent opera, Marnie. Later in the month, The Boston Symphony offers an all-Strauss vocal program led by music director Andris Nelsons and featuring soprano Renée Fleming; a second program celebrates British composer Thomas Adès, who will conduct the New York premiere of his own piano concerto played by the Russian-born virtuoso, Kirill Gerstein, along with Liszt’s voluptuous Mephisto Waltz No. 1 and Tchaikovsky’s thrilling Symphony No. 4.
David Geffen Hall: March 10 & 11
London’s Philharmonia Orchestra performs two concerts at Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series, led by its music director Esa-Pekka Salonen. New York will have the unique opportunity to savor Salonen conducting Salonen—his recent Cello Concerto, performed by Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, paired with Sibelius’s seafaring 1913 tone poem The Oceanides, and Stravinsky’s complete The Firebird. In the second concert, Salonen and the Philharmonia will take on Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7.
MATTHIAS GOERNE & DANIIL TRIFONOV
The 92nd Street Y: March 17
Trifonov, perhaps the most scintillating pianist in classical music today, accompanies the celebrated baritone Matthias Goerne on selected German lieder. The two will then be joined by the New York Philharmonic String Quartet in a performance of Hanns Eisler’s still-fiercely topical Ernste Gesänge (Serious Songs), which Goerne has recorded. The Quartet, on its own, will undertake works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms before teaming with Trifonov on Brahms’ Piano Quintet.
The Appel Room: March 4
The vivacious American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who in 2018 added an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera to her Grammys and other trophies, makes her debut at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series with Songplay, a boundary-defying exploration of the universality of a great song. Fronting a band led by luminaries from the world of jazz and the world of tango, including legends like Chuck Israels, Bill Evans’ longtime bassist; drummer Jimmy Madison, who has worked with everyone from Carmen McRae to James Brown; and Argentine music’s great young star, bandoneónist Lautaro Greco. DiDonato will showcase her range, performing songs from Broadway to Ellington alongside more traditional swingers by Vivaldi and his Italian contemporaries in arrangements that will be anything but Baroque.
Miller Theatre at Columbia University: March 7
John Zorn, the multi-instrumentalist composer and performer, defies the expectations of jazz and/or classical traditions. His eclecticism will be on display as part of Miller Theatre’s Composer Portraits series, with an evening of his chamber music works, including five world premieres. Zorn’s shape-shifting compositions will be performed by a veritable all-star team of new music instrumentalists, including the next composer due to be showcased in this series (on March 28), drummer Tyshawn Sorey.
DAS RHEINGOLD, RIGOLETTO, FALSTAFF AND NATIONAL COUNCIL AUDITIONS GRAND FINALS CONCERT
Metropolitan Opera House
Scene-stealing productions dominate March at the Met; the return of director Robert Lepages’s metallic Ring Cycle, Parts 1 and 2: Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, as well as two radically resituated chestnuts, Michael Mayer’s transportation of Rigoletto to 1950s Vegas, and Richard Carsen’s sublime transplanting of Falstaff to 1950s England. Finally, on March 31, come the Grand Finals of the Met’s Council Auditions, whose winners often become household names, like Renée Fleming or Stephanie Blythe. It’s an opportunity to catch opera stars of tomorrow today, just as they are launching.