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Justin Davidson and Rebecca Milzoff’s Want-to-Sees

What our critics are most eager for this fall.

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So Percussion   

Classical Music & Opera

From the House of the Dead
Metropolitan Opera; opens November 12
Janácek’s tale is grim and the staging somber, but this production from the 2007 Aix-en-Provence festival made European opera critics flip. Its arrival coincides with the scandalously late Met debuts of director Patrice Chéreau and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Esther
Koch Theater, Lincoln Center; November 7–19
After suffering more than its share of misfortune, New York City Opera reoccupies its freshly renovated home by reviving Hugo Weisgall’s opera, born a hit sixteen years ago and promptly buried. Lauren Flanigan reprises the queenly role she sang in 1993.

Imaginary City
BAM; October 14–17
So Percussion, the beloved and virtuosic new-music quartet, has teamed up with director Rinde Eckert and video artist Jenise Treuting for a meditation on the megalopolis, translating the city’s eardrum-numbing cacophonies into a soundtrack that is urbane as well as urban.

Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture
Multiple venues; October 21–November 10
Carnegie’s immense three-week festival packs in breathless variety: marionette theater at Zankel Hall, wedding-band music at the Henry Street Settlement, a chamber concert at Flushing Town Hall, and a clutch of orchestras. If there’s a star, it would be Chen Qigang, the composer whose Iris Dévoilée closes out the run.

In C Remixed
(Le) Poisson Rouge; November 8
The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble has been revitalizing classic minimalist scores from the seventies to spectacular effect. In 2007 it was Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians; this year it’s Terry Riley’s canonic work, which the group embellishes with a live real-time remix.


Dance

ABT’s Fall Season
Avery Fisher Hall; October 7–10
When our local giant abandons story ballets for smart new work, it’s always exciting. The season’s star trio: Aszure Barton (one of the brightest ladies in ballet-making), Benjamin Millepied (City Ballet’s resident visionary), and Alexei Ratmansky (ABT’s prized in-house choreographer).

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Joyce Theater; October 20–25
Flemish-Moroccan marvel Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui generated buzz when his moving Orbo Novo premiered at Jacob’s Pillow; I can’t wait to see Cedar Lake’s great dancers perform it here.

“Really Real”
BAM; November 17, 19–21
Wally Cardona calls this world premiere his “people piece,” exploring the individual’s place within the collective; it’s also literally filled with bodies, namely those of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, who will sing Phil Kline’s pristine, minimal score while moving about the theater.

“Serenade/The Proposition”
Joyce Theater; November 10–15
New Yorkers missed out on most of Bill T. Jones’s Abraham Lincoln bicentennial project, but at least we’ll finally get to see its enticing first piece, an intricate, multi-angle exploration of themes of history, war, and the legacy of slavery. Complicated, brave, and thought-provoking.


Related:

Fall Preview 2009

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