New York, New York

LIMELIGHT’S GUIDE TO THE BEST ARTS EVENTS IN THE BIG APPLE this May

Classical Music

MTT meets Yuja

Michael Tilson Thomas and Yuja Wang share the stage. Prokofiev strove for simplicity in his final piano concerto. However, it is anything but facile with its nimble opening movement, quicksilver toccata, and emotionally powerful Larghetto. Emotions are at the fore in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, a phantasmagorical tale of obsessive passion.

B Minor Mass

Les Violons du Roy, conductor Bernard Labadie and countertenor Iestyn Davies are among the draws for Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor, a masterpieces of the choral literature. The work bears all Bach’s hallmarks: intricately woven counterpoint; brilliant orchestral writing; expressive vocal passages; and a dramatic power that lifts the spirit

England’s Orpheus

Countertenor Iestyn Davies sings songs by three composers – John Dowland, Henry Purcell, and Handel – who were likened to Orpheus, the mythical musician. For these songs, at times melancholy, tender, and bawdy, he is joined by the brilliant young lutenist Thomas Dunford who  BBC Music Magazine has called the “Eric Clapton of the lute”.

Corigliano’s First

American composer John Corigliano’s poignant First Symphony is a piercing, personal dedication to loved ones lost and the many impacted by the widespread AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. Music Director Jaap van Zweden conducts the New York Philharmonic and is joined by David Fray for a performance of Mozart’s fierce, introspective Piano Concerto No 24.

Music of Conscience

The New York Phil season culminates in three weeks of music created in response to historical events, political unrest and societal turmoil. Beethoven’s Eroica is forever linked to Napoleon – nearly its dedicatee, until he crowned himself emperor. Jaap van Zweden also conducts music by Shostakovich, who labored under the tyranny of Stalin’s regime.

Opera

Nuns on the run

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts Dialogues des Carmélites, Poulenc’s story of faith and martyrdom set in revolutionary France. Isabel Leonard sings the central role of Blanche, with Karita Mattila as the Old Prioress. Adrianne Pieczonka sings the New Prioress, Erin Morley is Sister Constance and Karen Cargill plays the redoubtable Mère Marie.

El Cimarron

Davóne Tines stars in American Modern Opera Company’s staging of El Cimarrón (The Runaway Slave). Based on the oral autobiography of Esteban Montejo, an Afro-Cuban slave who escaped a sugar plantation, survived in the jungle and fought for Cuban independence before dying aged 113, Henze’s visceral score is a cry for freedom that transcends time and place.

Last Ring Cycle

One and a half Ring Cycles remain this month featuring a cast led by the Christine Goerke making her Met role debut as Brünnhilde. Michael Volle sings Wotan with Stefan Vinke and Andreas Schager as Siegfried. Stuart Skelton reprises his star turn as Siegmund. Philippe Jordan conducts Robert Lepage’s hi-tech production with its infamous ‘machine’.

Rigoletto

Verdi’s tragic jester returns in Michael Mayer’s popular, neon-bedecked, Las Vegas–themed production. Baritone George Gagnidze sings the title role
with soprano Rosa Feola as his hapless daughter Gilda. Two tenors, Matthew Polenzani and Stephen Costello, share the role of the lascivious Duke (of La donna e mobile fame), and Nicola Luisotti conducts.

Met Opera Orchestra

The opera season may be over, but the excellent Metropolitan Opera Orchestra still have work to do. Robert Schumann’s unfailingly Romantic Piano Concerto and Franz Schubert’s Great C Major Symphony No 9 are on the bill at Carnegie Hall as superstar Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov is conducted by compatriot and podium giant Valery Gergiev.

Musicals & Theatre

All My Sons

Award-winning actors Annette Bening and Tracy Letts return
to Broadway in the play that launched Arthur Miller as the moral voice of the American Theatre. In the aftermath of WWII, the Keller family fights for their future when a long-hidden secret forces them to reckon with greed, denial and post-war disenchantment
across generations.

Björk’s Cornucopia

Multidisciplinary artist, Björk and a team of digital and theatrical collaborators, including award-winning filmmaker and director Lucrecia Martel, present a staged concert of live musical arrangements, digital technology and visuals. A chorus and cast of musicians will join Björk for this eight-concert engagement in The Shed, New York’s newest arts venue.

Socrates

A witty and fascinating new drama about a complicated man who changed how the world thought. Tim Blake Nelson’s play is an intellectual thrill ride from the philosopher’s growing prominence in democratic Athens through the military and social upheavals that led to one of the most infamous executions in Western history. Tony Award winner Doug Hughes directs.

Octet

Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) begins his residency as Signature’s first musical theatre writer. Featuring an a cappella chamber choir and an original libretto inspired by internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry, Octet explores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of 21st-century technology.

Continuity

A sheet of ice sits in the desert of New Mexico. A mad eco-terrorist plants a bomb in order to save humankind. A beleaguered film crew tries to get in one last shot before losing the light. Bess Wohl’s new play Continuity is a sly, biting comedy in six takes where storytelling and science collide with both hilarious and devastating consequences.

New York, New York

LIMELIGHT’S GUIDE TO THE BEST ARTS EVENTS IN THE BIG APPLE

Australians are the world’s greatest tourists, right? And no city offers quite as much in the way of artist thrills and spills as the Big Apple. After a year spent finding his feet, Limelight Editor-at-Large Clive Paget has hunted down the big names and haunted the city’s glittering venues. He’s also found unexpected performance spaces, from clubs to churches and even the odd cemetery. From the glamour of the Met and the buzz of Broadway to classical music hideaways and, yes, even some free stuff, our insider’s guide aims to be everything an adventurous cultural tourist needs.

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