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Classical Music Agenda: October 2012

In October the volume of concerts on the schedule expands considerably, making the selection of the ten concerts we think will be most worth hearing that much more difficult. Still, that is the point of this exercise: follow the complete concert calendar in the sidebar all month long for many more options.


The National Symphony Orchestra is celebrating Richard Wagner this month, with two singers on its guest roster the next two weeks. Mezzo-soprano Kelly O'Connor (October 4 to 6) will sing Peter Lieberson's ravishing Neruda Songs -- written for his wife, Lorraine (both pictured -- Lux perpetua luceat eis) -- while the NSO plays some Wagner and a lot of Tchaikovsky. The following week, contralto Natalie Stutzmann (October 11 to 13) will sing an arrangement of Wagner's Wesendonck-Lieder, made by Hans Werner Henze, paired with Bruckner's seventh symphony. Christoph Eschenbach, embarking on his third season as music director, will conduct. Tickets: $10 to $85.

We would never miss any chance to hear the voice of soprano Christine Brewer, and the next opportunity is her recital for Vocal Arts D.C. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (October 31, 7:30 pm). She will sing songs by Spanish and American composers, and it will be worth listening. Tickets: $45.

The Sretensky Monastery, in the center of Moscow, was restored to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1994. Its choir, which sings Russian Orthodox chant and other music, first toured the United States in 2007, stopping at the Library of Congress where I was unable to hear them. The group returns to Washington for two concerts this month, at the Library of Congress (October 6, 8 pm) and at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (October 8, 7:30 pm). Tickets: FREE (Library of Congress); $30 to $60 (Kennedy Center).

If you can get away during the day, get your Bach fix at one of the area's two series devoted to the Leipzig master's cantatas. The Washington Bach Consort performs a free lunchtime Bach cantata on the first Tuesday of the month -- O heilges Geist - und Wasserbad, BWV 165 (October 2, 12:10 pm) -- at the Church of the Epiphany downtown. Later in the month, the University of Maryland School of Music performs Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, BWV 211 (October 18, 1:30 pm) at the Clarice Smith Center in College Park. Tickets: FREE.

For your opera fix, we recommend the first opera of the season from the Virginia Opera, Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. The company has truly impressed me since surviving a leadership crisis in 2011, and although this opera is not one of my favorites, soprano Heather Buck (pictured) at the top of the cast promises to be well worth the trip out to the GMU Center for the Arts (October 12 and 14). Tickets: $44 to $86.

After an absence of a couple years, the Jupiter String Quartet returns to Washington this month for a concert at the National Academy of Sciences (October 7, 3 pm), a venue that reopens this month after being under renovation for a couple years. Tickets: FREE.

Put us down, too, for the recital by violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Jeffrey Kahane at the Library of Congress, where they will play music by Ravel, Brahms, Mendelssohn, and a new piece by Nico Muhly (October 12, 8 pm). Tickets: FREE.

available at Amazon
J. S. Bach, WTC, A. Schiff

(released on September 26, 2012)
It is a good month for pianophiles, too, with two recitals by major pianists in the space of a week. Alexandre Tharaud, who has been coming to Washington every couple years, returns to La Maison Française (October 26, 7:30 pm), playing music by Scarlatti, Chopin, Liszt, and his own arrangement of the Adagietto from Mahler's fifth symphony. Tickets: $25.

András Schiff's new recording of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier has been spinning in my player a lot these days (review forthcoming). Schiff will play the second book of that work at a WPAS-sponsored recital at Strathmore (October 30, 8 pm). Tickets: $23 to $95.

It was listed in our Top 25 Picks for the season as the top dance pick for the year: the visit of the Mariinsky Ballet to the Kennedy Center Opera House for Prokofiev's Cinderella, in the modernized and somewhat controversial choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, last seen in Washington in 2005 (October 16 to 21). Tickets: $29 to $150.

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