Planning the 2023-2024 concert season

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I have some idea of where I want to be over the next eleven months, though I don’t know how my French visa application will go. Quite anxious about it, actually. But I am pushing any concern to the back of my mind and already choosing events to look forward to.

Most anticipated event this next season

First on my list is catching John Eliot Gardiner directing his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in performances of all of Beethoven’s symphonies. I heard their Beethoven symphony performances in NYC in the early 1990s and then bought the 1994 CD set. It’s surely time to listen again and hear JEG’s interpretations now (perhaps as presented in 2019?). There are some performances in Paris in late May, but earlier that month they’re home at London’s Saint Martin-in-the-Fields where the symphonies will be presented in order over the course of a week, Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri-Sat, the 13th to 18th, to be exact. I’ve booked! May 2024 and it’s already hard to get good seats, and some eves any seats, so I’m glad I didn’t wait.

I think I must manage some time in Paris soon after London. That would be to hear Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale on May 23 at the Oratoire du Louvre performing works of d’India, Monteverdi, Rossi and Wert, and then Franco Fagioli in Tolomeo at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on the 31st.

On my wish list

A pairing I would love to manage is to hear JEG lead the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in JS Bach’s Mass in B minor, BWV 232, and catch the same work with Philippe Herreweghe leading Collegium Vocale Gent. Don’t know if I can make that dream work out. Herreweghe would be Sunday, 9 June 2024 at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, which should be possible, but Gardiner is at Carnegie Hall October 25. I hope he’ll perform it in London – or elsewwhere in Europe – in the coming season.

May and June, still a long way off, with a whole season first.

Fall 2023 concerts I will miss

I would love to be at Carnegie Hall on October 26 when John Eliot Gardiner directs Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato but I know I can’t get back to NYC by that date. I recommend the concert to anyone who can attend!

If I were able to get back overseas that early, I’d go to “Bach Violin Concertos by Candlelight” at St Mary Le Strand Church on Saturday, 28 October. Maybe you can go and tell me about it?

There are performances at the Concertgebouw I would love to hear in November. For one, Julia Lezhneva in Scarlatti’s Il Mitridate Eupatore on November 18 would be a great treat. See what’s coming up at the Concertgebouw and buy your tickets so you don’t miss out!

Concerts to catch in France and London this fall

I hope to be in France in November, getting serious about house-hunting. If I don’t get a long-stay visa, I’ll be desperately seeking other options. November will not be a time to indulge myself with concert detours. I should manage to hear Jakub Józef Orliński in Montpellier on Sunday, November 12. Perhaps there’s some small chance of getting over to Monte Carlo on November 22, 24 or 26 for Vittorio Grigolo in Verdi’s Don Carlo if by some surprise I have the funds.

If I slip away to visit friends in England sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I might manage to catch The Sixteen’s performance of The Messiah at Saint Martin in the Fields on December 5. I have their 1997 Messiah CDs. As with Gardiner, ORR and Beethoven, it’s time for another listen.

I have wanted to hear Peter Mattei on stage. Painful to have missed his Don Giovanni at the Metropolitan Opera this past May but that was the wrong side of the Atlantic for me. So I’m thinking that I should plan for Paris in December, as on the 13th he’ll sing Bach’s Cantata Ich habe genug, BWV 82, at the Philharmonie’s Grande salle Pierre Boulez. The program that evening includes Brahms’s Fourth Symphony, of which I may be quite critical, having had the thrill of Gardiner’s direction of it at the Concertgebouw this past May. But it’s fun to compare performances, so if I can get there, of course I will push prejudices and preferences away and listen with open ears and an open mind.

Spring 2024 concerts I hope to attend

On 27 March 2024, Philippe Herreweghe will lead Collegium Vocale of Gent in JS Bach’s Matthäus-Passion, BWV 244 in Brussels at the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Henry Le Boeuf). As Herreweghe’s recordings of Bach Cantatas have consistently been my favorite performances, this is a concert I very much want to get to.

I’ll be keeping in mind that JEG will present Handel’s Israel in Egypt, HMV 54, at Versailles on Sunday, 24 March 2024. Alternatively, in Barcelona the week before: 18 March 2024. In between, on the 22nd, there’s a performance at Saint Martin in the Fields, but as I’m going to London in May, I won’t be there in March as well. Perhaps I could get to that concert at Versailles and then get to Brussels for the 27th, but it’s likely I’ll have to let that go and just aim for Brussels.

Are you a Handel fan, like me?

Baroque music just makes my brain happy. And since I love vocal music, Bach’s cantatas and Handel’s operas and oratorios are works I especially love. I’ve been compiling a list of Handel programs in the 2023-2024 season, in a separate post, to make sure I catch all I can – and in hopes of meeting up with fellow music lovers when possible.

What would you recommend to me?

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