April is worse than normal in terms of the number of concerts we want to hear, but the rules of the Classical Music Agenda must be obeyed. Here are the ten concerts we think should top the list, but there will be many more good options running through the calendar in the Ionarts sidebar.
To follow up on last fall's performance of Anna Bolena, there is another of the Donizetti queens, with Washington Concert Opera's performance of Maria Stuarda (April 7, 6 pm) at Lisner Auditorium. Georgia Jarman stars as as Mary, with Brenda Harris as Elizabeth (who was a thrilling Odabella in WCO's Attila last season). Tickets: $110 to $40.
The following night, German soprano Diana Damrau will appear on the Washington National Opera Celebrity Concert Series (April 8, 8 pm). Her performance will vary somewhat from the usual format, with a program of songs by Schubert, Richard Strauss, Reynaldo Hahn, Ernest Chausson, Gabriel Fauré, and others, accompanied by harpist Xavier de Maistre in the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets: $180 to $40.
Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of the Vocal Arts D.C. recital by soprano Christine Brewer back in October, a concert that has been rescheduled for this month (April 25, 7:30 pm), in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. The program includes Spanish songs by Turina, Mompou, Toldra, and Obradors, plus American works by Copland, Barber, and Bolcom. Tickets: $45.
If you missed the local debut of the English choir Stile Antico two years ago, you will not want to miss their concert at the Library of Congress next month (April 17, 8 pm). They will sing Renaissance Latin polyphony by Gombert, Victoria, Palestrina, and others. Tickets: FREE.
Between the singers and the pianists we will be plenty busy this month. Also rescheduled from Hurricane Sandy is a recital by pianist András Schiff (April 7, 7 pm), presented by Washington Performing Arts Society in the Music Center at Strathmore.
It looks like, after an initial shift of program, that he will play Book 2 of The Well-Tempered Clavier after all. The program consists of a complete performance of Bach's French Suites. Tickets: $85 to $23.
The keyboard player we are most excited about, because he is the least frequent visitor to our area, is harpsichordist Christophe Rousset, who will perform at both La Maison Française (April 12, 7:30 pm) and the Library of Congress (April 13, 7:30 pm). Tickets: $25 (LMF) and FREE (LoC).
An Ionarts favorite, pianist Maurizio Pollini, is also coming to the area next month, in a concert presented by Strathmore, not WPAS, in the Music Center (April 14, 4 pm). He will play music by Chopin and Debussy. Tickets: $78 to $38.
One of the highlights of any year would be a recital by pianist Evgeny Kissin, presented by WPAS in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall (April 24, 8 pm). This is the first local appearance by the Russian pianist since a 2011 concert devoted to Liszt, and he will play music by Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt. Tickets: $125 to $45.
Rounding out an excellent keyboard list next month is Andreas Haefliger, who will perform Beethoven's first piano concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra (April 25 to 27). Guest conductor Jaap van Zweden also leads Wagenaar's Overture to Cyrano de Bergerac and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. Tickets: $85 to $10.
Christian Thielemann, one of the great conductors of our time, has ended up as music director of the Dresden Staatskapelle, which is coming to Washington next month, to perform a concert presented by WPAS in the Music Center at Strathmore (April 16, 8 pm). The program is all music by Brahms, which should be extraordinary, including the Academic Festival Overture, the fourth symphony, plus the violin concerto with soloist Lisa Batiashvili. Tickets: $100 to $35.
Two lectures we would like to attend next month are our 11th pick. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese will give the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, presented by the NEH at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall (April 1, 7:30 pm). Artist Martin Puryear will deliver the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Lecture at the Renwick Gallery (April 28, 2 pm). Tickets: Both events are free.