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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Finest Classical Music Performances of 2023

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ZACHARY WOOLFE

Final 12 months ended with one thing approaching normalcy for the performing arts after a protracted disaster. It seems, although, it was normalcy with an asterisk: The pandemic could also be over, however orchestras and opera firms have emerged combating ticket gross sales, and the price of items and labor has spiraled; placing on exhibits is now costlier, with much less income coming in to sq. the books. These monetary challenges however, there have been ample musical riches in 2023 — as these favorites, in chronological order, clarify.

Revivals of Donizetti chestnuts don’t normally make it onto this sort of listing, however the tenderly humorous “Elisir” is considered one of my favourite items, and in January, it confirmed off the very best of the Metropolitan Opera. The tenor Javier Camarena, glowing with sincerity, and the light but spunky soprano Golda Schultz, led with spirit by the conductor Michele Gamba, trusted the piece to succeed in each nook of the huge theater with out overstatement or caricature. (Learn our evaluation.)

The phrase “as soon as in a lifetime” will get thrown round, however actually: How usually will you get to listen to all 5 of Rachmaninoff’s works for piano and orchestra in a single live performance? Not to mention with forces on the extent of this dazzling pianist and the Philadelphia Orchestra — with all its historic ties to Rachmaninoff — beneath Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who pulled off the feat at Carnegie Corridor in January. A protracted, giddily virtuosic afternoon. (Learn our evaluation.)

The New York Philharmonic gave some exceptional concert events this 12 months: I’ll notably keep in mind the very younger (the pianist Yunchan Lim, 19, blazing in, sure, Rachmaninoff) and the very outdated (Herbert Blomstedt, 95, keenly conducting Ingvar Lidholm and Berlioz). However maybe most notable was the New York premiere, in March, of Felipe Lara’s 2019 Double Concerto, which made Claire Chase (on many flutes) and Esperanza Spalding (vocalizing whereas enjoying double bass) right into a seething and exuberant, if not at all times sunny, organism. My different selections for brand new works of the 12 months: Kate Soper’s sneakily sagacious chamber opera “The Hunt,” at Miller Theater in October, and Steve Reich’s energetic but meditative “Jacob’s Ladder,” which the Philharmonic premiered that month. (Learn our evaluation of the Lara concerto.)

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