South Florida Classical Review » » Critics’ Picks for 2022-23


Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will perform with the Mutter Virtuosi in West Palm Beach and Miami in January-February. 2023. Photo: Monika Höfler

Music by Rachmaninoff. New World Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas and Yefim Bronfman. October 22

The romantic repertoire has long been a specialty of Michael Tilson Thomas. The founder and laureate conductor of the New World Symphony returns with an all-Rachmaninoff concert at the Arsht Center in Miami that should combine passion, emotional projection and musicality in equal parts. Yefim Bronfman, long a formidable keyboard virtuoso and frequent New World guest, solos in Piano Concerto No. 3. The Vocalise and Symphony No. 2 complete the program. nws.edu

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Lahav Shani. November 9 (Kravis Center, West Palm Beach) and November 10 (Arsht Center, Miami)

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra returns to South Florida under Lahav Shani, the ensemble’s first new music director in nearly five decades (after Zubin Mehta’s historic tenure) and the first native Israeli to occupy this position. At the Kravis Center, Shani combines Mahler’s First Symphony with Symphony No. 1 by Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984), Israel’s first major classical composer. The Arsht Center concert features a program entirely devoted to Prokofiev—music by Romeo and Juliet and two contrasting symphonies – the light “classical” (No. 1) and the monumental No. 5. kravis.org; arshtcenter.org

“Songs from the Salon” Susanna Phillips, soprano. Palm Beach Chamber Music Society. December 7

Serious vocal recitals are becoming an endangered species in South Florida. The Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach has imagined a unique event. Met soprano Susanna Phillips is joined by two longtime members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center – violist Paul Neubauer and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott – for “Songs from the Salon” at the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach. by Rachmaninoff, Gounod and Schumann and songs from Italy and the British Isles. cmspb.org

Symphonies by Schubert and Tchaikovsky. Cleveland Orchestra/Franz Welser-Möst. January 20-21, 2023.

The return of the world-class Cleveland Orchestra and its Austrian Music Director after a two-year absence is cause for celebration. Two touchstones of the orchestral repertoire – Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”) and Symphony No. 6 (“Pathétique”) by Tchaikovsky – should provide the ensemble with the opportunity to deploy its rich sonority, its precision and his distinctive understated virtuosity. arshtcenter.org

Puccini: Gianni Schicchi and Ching: Buoso’s ghost. Florida Grand Opera. January 28-February 11.

It is rare for an opera to receive a sequel. The Florida Grand Opera offers an intriguing double bill. Puccini’s sparkling comedy Gianni Schicchi (of Il Trittico)—best known for the aria “O mio babbino caro,” is paired with Buoso’s Ghost by contemporary composer Michael Ching. In Ching’s single cast, the scheming Donati family continue their attempt to reclaim the fortune of the late Buoso Donati, as it is revealed that his demise may not have been due to natural causes. The quirky double poster should make for a confusing comic puff. Composer Ching conducts. fgo.org

Conductor Lahav Shani will conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the Kravis Center and Arsht Center in November. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Vivaldi: The four Seasons. Anne-Sophie Mutter and Mutter’s virtuosos. January 31 (Kravis Center, West Palm Beach) and February 1 (Arsht Center, Miami)

Anne-Sophie Mutter is one of the most brilliant violin virtuosos in the world of music and a deeply penetrating interpreter of a varied repertoire. His appearances in South Florida have been too rare. In a welcome return, Mutter brings in a chamber orchestra of protected strings. She doses the perennial of Vivaldi Four Seasons as a soloist, in a program that also includes more Vivaldi, High cadence for two violins by Unsuk Chin and Mozart’s Concerto No. 5 in A major contemporary with Joseph Bologna. This is one of the most promising offers of the season. kravis.org; arshtcenter.org

Good : The road of promise. Miami Orchestra/Elaine Rinaldi. February 4 and 5.

In 1937, The eternal road, Kurt Weill’s first American work was created in New York. A four-hour opera performance, the work mixes stories from the biblical Old Testament with a warning about Nazism and the potential holocaust looming on the horizon. Elaine Rinaldi conducts Orchestra Miami in the stripped-down oratorio version of Ed Harsh’s score in this enterprising South Florida premiere at Temple Emanu-el, Miami Beach. Soloists include tenor Anthony Dean Griffey as the Rabbi, baritone Mark Delavan as Moses, Abraham and Jeremiah, and soprano Elizabeth Caballero as Rachel. orchestramiami.org

Bach: Oratory of the Ascension. Seraphic Fire/Patrick Quigley. February 23-26

The superb Miami Chamber Choir celebrates its 20th anniversary this season. The latest iteration of Seraphic Fire’s annual Festival of Lights is dedicated to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. For the closing program of the festival, Patrick Quigley conducts a rare interpretation of Bach Oratory of the Ascension. The choir is joined by a chamber orchestra and singers from the group’s UCLA Ensemble Artists program. The concert also features Bach highlights Christmas Oratory, mixing Christmas and Easter music. Performances will take place in Naples, Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton.

Wagner’s music Ring of the Nibelung. New World Symphony/Domingo Hindoyan with Heidi Melton. March 18-19.

Wagner in Miami has long been a rarity. The New World Symphony will remedy this situation with a full program of orchestral and vocal excerpts from the four operas Ring of the Nibelung cycle. From “The Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” (Das Rheingold) to the Brünnhilde immolation scene (Götterdammerung), the concert offers a tour of the great moments of the cycle. Domingo Hindoyan, Principal Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, conducts this Cliff Notes edition. Heidi Melton, who has sung Wagnerian heroines in major houses, performs Sieglinde’s love music and Brünnhilde’s final sacrifice. nws.edu

Messiaen: From canyons to stars. New World Symphony/Matthias Pintscher. First of April.

Olivier Messiaen’s last great orchestral work was From canyons to stars (Des canyons aux étoiles), a sprawling symphonic soundscape in twelve movements. Written to celebrate the American Bicentennial, the work reflects Messiaen’s sonic reflections on birdsong, nature and spiritual monumentality. Composer-conductor Matthias Pintscher is on the podium for the Traversée du Nouveau Monde with guest musicians from the Ensemble Intercontemporain de Paris (of which Pintscher is the artistic director). nws.edu

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