Sex and violets on New Year’s Eve.

A gaggle of our parterre critics (not pictured) had what the kids call a “kiki” recently and “spilled the tea” (as the middle-aged folks say) about their greatest expectations for the New York fall season. 

Rare Spyres sings fascinating Berlioz.

Christopher Corwin nominates the following highlights:

  • Elina Garanca seduces the Met as Dalila followed by an ambitious Carnegie Hall recital of Schumann, Wagner, Ravel and Falla.
  • Jonas Kaufmann salutes Richard Tauber at Carnegie Hall before revealing his Dick Johnson to Met audiences in his first appearance there since March 2014.
  • Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his period-instrument Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique perform two fascinating all-Berlioz programs at Carnegie with the exciting young French mezzo Lucile Richardot, tenor Michael Spyres heard far too rarely in New York and Simon Callow narrating Lélio.
  • The Hungarian National Opera visits Lincoln Center bringing four operas including the US premiere of Erkel’s Bánk Bán and the first New York staging of Goldmark’s Die Königin von Saba in over a century.
  • Many dismiss Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur as a camp diva-vehicle but the Met’s dazzling team of Anna Netrebko, Anita Rachvelisvili, Piotr Beczala, Ambrogio Maestri and conductor Gianandrea Noseda will surely prove them wrong on New Year’s Eve.
  • Plus it’s endless Puccini at the Met as usual (sigh) with 31 performances in the first 12 weeks alone! However, Les Arts Florissants makes a welcome local reappearance during the White Light Festival with Haydn’s Die Schöpfung. For more esoteric plaisirs, Sébastien Daucé and Ensemble Correspondances bring two French baroque programs to town,and after last season’s semi-botched Hippolyte et Aricie, Juilliard tries to made amends with an all-Rameau dance program at Alice Tully Hall.

Lost boy: Juan Diego Flórez returns to New York after five years (with or without Diana Damrau.)

Further anticipations from Patrick Clement James:

  • Anna Netrebko makes her annual parousia on the Met’s stage in Aida. The singer made her debut in the title role at Salzburg, but the Met will have its first opportunity to watch her tackle it early in the season. The singer will also appear with Malcolm Martineau in a program of Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky at Carnegie Hall in early December.
  • On October 3, the queen of Broadway joins forces with the queen of opera. Renée Fleming and Audra McDonald illuminate Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala with a program including Gershwin, Rodgers, and Sondheim.
  • Speaking of Carnegie Hall, the august performance venue will host the 2018 Richard Tucker Gala on Sunday October 21st. The 2018 honoree is Christian Van Horn, with additional performances by such luminaries as Stephanie Blythe, Netrebko, and Nadine Sierra.
  • While Rumours Abound regarding Diana Damrau’s schedule, I’m still looking forward to hearing Juan Diego Flórez as Alfredo at the Met. And while I’m fond of the austere cruelty of Willy Decker’s old production, I’m looking forward to something a bit softer from Michael Mayer. Flórez will also appear in recital at Carnegie Hall as a part of the Great Singers Series.
  • And the holiday season just isn’t complete without Handel’s Messiah. This season, Laurne Snouffer, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Andrew Staples, and Neal Davis join the Westminster Symphonic Choir and New York Philharmonic to bring a little light to the end of a pretty miserable year.

Unmissable: Nézet-Séguin plays Wagner and Bates.

Now a few closing thoughts from Joel Rozen:

  • On the heels of last season’s fascinating but imperfect Exterminating Angel, the Met tries its hand at another modern adaptation, Nico Muhly’s Marnie, starring captivating Isabel Leonard.
  • Squawking and smoldering and dreaming of choc’late, Laura Benanti is Broadway’s new Eliza starting October 23, replacing Lauren Ambrose in Lincoln Center’s tortured My Fair Lady revival. She’ll be much better: Benanti’s a comic dynamo and the role will fit her like an Edwardian lace glove.
  • Philip Glass’ shimmering Gandhi masterpiece Satyagrahafeaturing, in my opinion, one of the most gorgeously scored final scenes in all opera—debuts at BAM on October 31 with the Circus Cirkör and Swedish Folkoperan. (Plus, bonus Glass in November! Be sure to check out Anthony Roth Costanzo’s turn in “interdisciplinary installation” Glass Handel. Its woefully limited run starts November 26.)
  • I’ve long adored the opalescent film scores of Joe Hisaishi; they’ll move your heart. For two evenings at Carnegie Hall (11/2-11/3), the legendary Japanese composer leads the Hollywood Film Music Orchestra and Choirs through a career retrospective of collabs with moviemaker Hayao Miyazaki, including excerpts from Princess MononokeMy Neighbor Totoro, and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra and Joyce DiDonato team forces at Carnegie Hall on 11/13 for an unmissable program of Wagner (a surprise specialty of Yannick’s, as we learned last season), Respighi, and Chausson. Still, I’ll be most excited to hear Mason Bates’s dynamic “Anthology of Fantastic Zoology,” which gets its NY premiere with this performance.

The cher public are invited to vote for their own choices of “must-see” fall performances. Note you may vote for as many (or as few) events as you like.

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Adriana photo by Vincent Peters / Met Opera.