Overtures: Notes on the classical scene

Posted on 04 Jan 2013 at 1:35pm

NOTE: With this, we begin a new regular column, Overtures by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs — an overview of the month ahead in the classical music scene in North Texas of interest to the gay community. It will run occasional Fridays in place of The Week’s Takeaways.

January starts with an overloaded Saturday (Jan 5). First, the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcasts presents Berlioz’s six hour long opera Les Troyens starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham and Marcello Giordani starting at 11 a.m.; check out the Met website  for a list of local theaters that will screen it. This opera is almost never produced because it is such a monster and so long, so this is a rare chance to see it.

That same afternoon, the Fort Worth’s chamber music society will present Gregory Raden, principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony, in a recital at the Modern Art Museum with Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Silver Medalist in the 2001 Cliburn competition. Both are superb artists and Raden gets my vote for the best clarinetist of his generation. That evening, the Fort Worth Symphony presents none other than gay icon and super diva Bernadette Peters at Bass Hall. A planning suggestion: Hit the recital early, have dinner in Fort Worth and then cross to Bass to listen to La Peters, and catch the encore screening of the opera on Jan. 23 (6:30 p.m.).

The Dallas Symphony continues it conservative offerings Jan. 10–13, but gussies it up with the glamorous violinist Nicola Benedetti playing the Tchaikovsky concerto, paired with Brahms’ first symphony. Pablo González is the guest conductor. Yawn. The rest of the month, the DSO presents a two concert Mozart miniseries. Wow — there’s an original idea.

Things are somewhat better at the Fort Worth Symphony. Jan. 11–13 is the most interesting concert musically, with a performance of Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote with Brinton Averil Smith, their handsome former principal cellist, doing the honors. Cliburn also brings in gay composer John Bucchino for a performance at the Modern Art Museum on Jan. 19. Then get out your ruby slippers Jan. 25–27 as the FWSO screens The Wizard of Oz with the orchestra playing the Oscar-winning score live.

Voices of Change always presents is a fascinating journey into the music of our time, and their concert on Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. at SMU’s Caruth Auditorium is no exception. Show up at 1:30 to hear the always-intriguing Laurie Shulman give a preview.

Lastly, on Jan. 28, the Cliburn at the Bass Series will present a recital by pianist Radu Lupu, who won the second Cliburn competition and went on to achieve legendary status.

— Gregory Sullivan Isaacs 

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