Five Things Justin Davidson Really Wants to See

Another thing we want to see: Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. Click to page two for more.Photo: Laurent Phillipe/Courtesy of BAM

1. “Venezia”
One of my first stops in a time machine would be seventeenth-century Venice, to share a jug of Amarone with Claudio Monteverdi. Until then, there’s the French early-music ensemble Le Poème Harmonique, which will conjure up that ancient flickering atmosphere at Miller Theatre for this candlelit, semi-staged performance of Monteverdi madrigals and other Venetian music. Sept. 12 and 14.

2. Gabriel Kahane
The pop and classical worlds have cultivated an open border for decades now. Still, few musicians go back and forth as nonchalantly as Gabriel Kahane, who has a lyrical ear and an elastic comfort zone. He’ll join singer Shara Worden and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider for a program at Zankel Hall. Oct. 25.

3. ‘Wozzeck’
Properly presented, Berg’s Wozzeck is a scorching opera, grotesque, moving, and ghoulishly funny—but performances are rare, and excellent performances rarer still. Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct it with the Philharmonia Orchestra at Avery Fisher Hall, with Simon Keenlyside in the title role. Nov. 19.

4. Alisa Weilerstein
The powerhouse cellist plays a Zelig-like series in November: with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and with her parents as the Weilerstein Trio at (Le) Poissson Rouge. Nov. 1, 2, 4, and 16.

5. “Cosmic Pulses”
Despite his preposterous 9/11 comments, the late Karlheinz Stockhausen is experiencing a posthumous revival. The New York Philharmonic performed his Gruppen in June, and now Lincoln Center’s White Light festival will present an evening of his music for percussion and electronics. Oct. 30.

And We’re Also Anticipating

‘Einstein on the Beach’
Starts Sept. 14 at BAM.
Because Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s plotless, slow-mo dance of light, objects, and energy ensorcelled a generation, and is back for its first production in twenty years.

New York City Ballet
Starts Sept. 18 at the David H. Koch Theater.
Because dancer-choreographer Justin Peck wowed us with dances set to Sufjan Stevens’s songs at the New York Choreographic Institute a couple years ago, and we’re beyond excited to see Peck’s end product, Year of the Rabbit.

‘L’elisir D’amore’
Starts Sept. 24 at the Metropolitan Opera.
Because the soprano Anna Netrebko will tap into her humorous side (well-known offstage) in this Donizetti charmer, in a new production by Bartlett Sher.

Peak Performances
Starts Sept. 29 at Montclair State University.
Because even though it’s off the beaten track (though not too far: There’s an easy bus from Port Authority), this performance series is worth a trip for the world premiere of David T. Little’s darkly comedic opera Dog Days (and the East Coast debut of Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project.

The New York Philharmonic Plays Carl Nielsen
Oct. 10–13 at Avery Fisher Hall.
Because Nielsen, an early-twentieth-century composer whose reputation (outside Scandinavia, anyway) has suffered from the fact that he was Danish, is a major enthusiasm of the Philharmonic’s Alan Gilbert.

American Ballet Theatre
Starts Oct. 16 at New York City Center.
Because the monumental talent at ABT always looks more expansive in the fall; this time, catch the first installment of Alexei Ratmansky’s trilogy set to Shostakovich, plus Mark Morris’s Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.

Maya Beiser
Oct. 17 at BAM.
Because the rhapsodic cellist wields her instrument with the kind of magnetic panache usually reserved for rock stars, and Elsewhere, a “cello opera” (scored by Eve Beglarian, Michael Gordon, and Missy Mazzoli), might just be her perfect vehicle.

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
Oct. 18 at BAM.
Because the late choreographer’s company dances in her last piece, “… como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si …” (Like moss on a stone), a multifaceted exploration of Chilean culture.

New York Festival of Song
Oct. 20 at Merkin Concert Hall.
Because Mr. Gershwin Goes to Washington, a satirical new musical stitched together out of old songs and scraps of story, is perfectly suited to election season.

Philadelphia Orchestra
Oct. 23 at Carnegie Hall.
Because it’s out of bankruptcy and alive, with a vibrant new music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. What a way to mark its rebirth: with Verdi’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall.

Works & Process
Nov. 4 and 5 at the Guggenheim.
Because even though the best new American opera often happens outside New York, we’ll get an intimate local preview of Minnesota Opera’s Doubt, based on John Patrick Shanley’s play, with music by Douglas J. Cuomo.

Emanuel Ax
Nov. 4 at the Rose Theater.
Because it’s fitting that a pianist of such grace and insight has chosen to anchor his White Light Festival program with the rarely performed chamber arrangement of Mahler’s ultrapersonal, heartbreakingly beautiful Das Lied von der Erde (“The Song of the Earth”), which he’ll play with Philharmonic musicians and vocalists Tamara Mumford and Russell Thomas.

Emerson String Quartet
Nov. 6 at Carnegie Hall.
Because, after more than three decades in the same configuration, the quartet will be changing cellists at the end of the current season, and will cap its long run with old friends, including the fine pianist Yefim Bronfman, for an evening of Brahms’s chamber music at Carnegie Hall.

Nov. 7 at Carnegie Hall.
Because star power hasn’t dimmed this onetime violin prodigy’s thoughtful approach. She’ll play three of Beethoven’s sonatas for violin and piano, interspersed with more contemporary work by Webern and George Crumb.

Nov. 7 at the Joyce Theater.
Because choreographer Pontus Lidberg’s Labyrinth Within, a poetic dance film starring Wendy Whelan and scored by David Lang, never got a proper showing here, but it’s now interwoven with live performance in Lidberg’s Within (Labyrinth Within), also starring (live) City Ballet’s Sara Mearns and Adrian Danchig-Waring.

Tribute to Chavela Vargas
Nov. 27 at Carnegie Hall.
Because Mexico’s legendary “rough voice of tenderness” passed away earlier this month, but three of today’s great ladies of Mexican song—Ely Guerra, Eugenia León, and Tania Libertad—will honor her legacy with contemporary and traditional Mexican song as part of Carnegie’s great “Voices From Latin America” series.

David Lang
Dec. 6 at BAM.
Because the chill-inducing, crystalline harmonies of the all-female early-music vocalists Anonymous 4 seem uniquely suited to composer Lang’s luminously haunting melodies; they’ll sing his settings of texts ranging from courtly medieval love narratives to his own writings in Lang’s new piece love fail.

Five Things Justin Davidson Really Wants to See