It might be a cliche to say, but the classic New York scene is reborn this spring, after a hesitant start in the fall and a series of Omicron-related delays and cancellations in the winter.
Contemporary opera and musical theater burst onto the scene with three American premieres. “Book of Mountains and Seas”, a collection of Chinese creation myths, composed by Huang Ruo and designed by master puppeteer Basil Twist, performs at St. Ann’s Warehouse (March 15-20). Michael van der Aa “To download,” an opera about AI and the price of immortality, is coming to the Park Avenue Armory (March 22-30). Even the Metropolitan Opera, flagship of the classics, ends its season with Brett Dean “Hamlet” (May 13-June 9), his third production since September of an opera written over the past five years.
Highlights of experimental chamber music include Du Yun “A Cockroach’s Tarantella” at NYU’s Skirball Center (April 29-30), and Andy Akiho’s Rhythm Complex “Seven Pillars” at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (April 7-8). Death of Classical uses video projections to visualize the work of Sarah Kirkland Snider “Mass for people in danger” a beautiful reinvention of the Latin Mass in homage to nature, at Green-Wood Cemetery, in Brooklyn (June 14-16), and the New York Philharmonic unveils Snider’s “Forward Into Light” at Carnegie Hall (June 10).
Coming off a light fall schedule, Carnegie fills its schedule with regulars such as Andras Schiff (March, 31st), Yuja Wang (April 12), and Yefim Bronfmann (April 18), and with a remarkable debut by Jeanine DeBique (April 2) and Karim Sulayman (May 19). The immersive theater specialists of Opera on site also get in shape by staging Puccini’s comedy about a family of gold diggers, “Gianni Schicchi,” amid the Beaux-Arts splendor of the Prince George Ballroom (April 7-10).
It’s not an anniversary year for JS Bach, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Wall Street Trinity Church and the Orchestra of Saint Luke each presents its gigantic St. Matthew Passion (March 29-31 and April 7, respectively). Simone Dinerstein organizes a Bach series for the Miller Theater which includes his own journey through the Goldberg Variations (March 31). And the Orchestra of Saint-Luc and the 92nd Street Y mount overlapping Bach festivals in June.
Still at 92, the curious soprano Dawn Upshaw considers the legend of Dido, Queen of Carthage, in an extensive program (April 3). The pianist Antoine deMare does much the same with the late Stephen Sondheim, performing through inventive transcriptions of the musical theater titan’s songs, at the Kaufman Music Center (March 26). ♦