June is the official end of the concert season, although many presenters give their last concerts in May, or even April. Here are the most important performances you do not want to miss before summer vacation.
The Royal Swedish Ballet returns to the Kennedy Center Opera House, for the American premiere of Juliet and Romeo (June 1 to 4), a new choreography by Mats Ek. Made for the company's 240th anniversary, it is a variation on the classic Shakespeare story accompanied by various pieces of music by Tchaikovsky, rather than the later Prokofiev score.
The National Symphony Orchestra has two more worthwhile programs on offer, beginning with Leila Josefowicz playing Esa-Pekka Salonen's violin concerto (June 2 to 4), in a concert also featuring Christoph Eschenbach conducting symphonies by Haydn and Robert Schumann. The Mahler season continues with contralto Nathalie Stutzmann as soloist in the composer's Rückert-Lieder, paired with Eschenbach conducting Bruckner's fourth symphony (June 9 to 11).
Up in Charm City cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for a single performance of Dvořák's cello concerto (June 15) at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, unfortunately paired with the composer's over-exposed but still crowd-pleasing ninth symphony. Speaking of overdone, yet another performance of Verdi's Requiem Mass would not normally catch my attention, but Marin Alsop's performance will feature a knockout quartet of soloists including Tamara Wilson and Elizabeth Bishop (June 17 to 19).
We recommend all of the performances of the NOI Festival Orchestra, the crackerjack student ensemble that comes together each summer for the National Orchestral Institute program at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Center. Of all of them, the performance led by Osmo Vänskä (June 25) is the one not to miss, combining Nielsen's Overture to Maskarade, Lutosławski's Concerto for Orchestra, and Sibelius's second symphony.
Soprano Renée Fleming joins the Emerson String Quartet early in the month at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (June 2), for a concert combining Egon Wellesz's Five Sonnets for Soprano and String Quartet with Alban Berg's Lyric Suite, which has a part for voice in the final movement, as well as one of the Brahms string quartets.
The first production from Wolf Trap Opera will be Britten's Rape of Lucretia (June 10 to 18), an opera that is just the right scale for the Barns at Wolf Trap. The rather wonderful Kerriann Otaño will take the part of the Female Chorus.
At the end of the month the In Series will mount a scaled-down production of Beethoven's Fidelio at the Atlas Center (June 18 to 26). Nick Olcott directs his own English adaptation of the opera, which updates the story to an unnamed Central American dictatorship.
The rest of the June concert calendar will scroll through the Ionarts sidebar.