One of the nicer things about covering classical music in a highly seasonal environment is that things are planned well in advance, and you can mark your calendar early on for the things you want to see.
Things this week are relatively quiet musically thanks to the holiday and the short week, though next week the concert scene will get going again with several interesting events on tap. So this week, I’m just looking ahead to the music for next season as I sift through mailers, read websites and plan my own coverage schedule.
Here’s a small sample of what I’m looking forward to already:
New World Symphony: The Miami Beach orchestral academy has another excellent season lined up for 2012-13, and there are appearances by soprano Cyndia Sieden (Oct. 27-28) and a performance of the Vaughan Williams Fourth Symphony (March 16, under Peter Oundjian) that are on my must-see list. But one of the most intriguing will be the U.S. premiere of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho’s Clarinet Concerto, played by clarinetist Kari Kriikku (Dec. 15-16), with conductor Susanna Mälkki, a rising star who often champions contemporary music.
Florida Grand Opera: “The Magic Flute.” While American opera houses tend to favor Puccini as the most popular draw for audiences, it’s Mozart’s great singspiel from his last year that tends to win out in Europe. It’s been a few years since this opera’s been done by FGO, and it will be a pleasure to hear and see this masterwork again (Jan. 26-Feb. 23). Three of the singers – Andrew Bidlack, Jonathan G. Michie and Jordan Bisch – are familiar to FGO audiences and have done fine work; the special attraction here will be soprano Jeanette Vecchione as the Queen of the Night. Vecchione was on her way to a college basketball career in New York when her chorus teacher heard her clowning around and told her she had a voice worth cultivating. Five months later, she was at Juilliard.
Sunday Afternoons of Music: This durable chamber music series has plenty of fine musicians, including local standouts such as soprano Nadine Sierra (Jan. 13) and the fledgling Pulse Chamber Music group (April 21). I’ll also be excited two excellent violinists at close quarters: Chee-Yun, with the Italian pianist Alessio Bax on Feb. 17, and the Canadian star Lara St. John on March 10 with the Anglo-American pianist Martin Kennedy. There are an impressive number of remarkable violinists working today, and both Chee-Yun and St. John make regular South Florida appearances, so here’s a good chance to gauge the state of violin playing as it is today.
Seraphic Fire: “Dido and Aeneas.” The Miami-based concert choir is entering its 11th season after a heady year that saw it nominated for two Grammy awards. The group performed this Henry Purcell opera a few years back, and did so winningly. It’s good to see it come back (Feb. 22-24), because it plays well to this group’s strengths: Impressive vocal polish and technique, and an attractive enthusiasm about the music it sings that always lends the concerts a sense of adventure and fun.