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Classical Music Agenda (January 2013)

Happy New Year to all of our readers! Now that we have nearly put 2012 in the rear view mirror, it is time to think about the ten concerts we most want to hear in the coming month. Hope to see you at some of these performances!

The last Sunday of the month features an impossible pileup of top-notch performers, all of whom we want to hear. Violinist Rachel Barton Pine will perform all of Paganini's Caprices, split between two venues, the Phillips Collection (January 27, 4 pm) and the National Gallery of Art (January 27, 6:30 pm). Tickets: $20 (Phillips) and FREE (NGA).

Another violinist we admire, Vilde Frang, will be playing at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, presented by Washington Performing Arts Society (January 27, 7:30 pm). Her program, performed with pianist Michael Lifits, will include music by Mozart, Brahms, and Prokofiev. Tickets: $35.

Even so, we will probably have to drop everything and go to Shriver Hall in Baltimore to hear the recital by pianist Marc-André Hamelin (January 27, 5:30 pm), playing music by Bach, Busoni, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff. Tickets: $39.

Pair that with a recital by pianist Richard Goode the previous weekend (January 19, 8 pm), presented by the Candlelight Concert Society at Howard Community College's Smith Theater in Columbia, Md. He will play the last three sonatas of Beethoven, plus the same composer's set of bagatelles. Tickets: $30.

The second week of January is going to be equally tight to schedule. Having now been bitten by the JACK Quartet bug, we would not want to miss their performance in the Barns at Wolf Trap (January 11, 8 pm). Composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel will join them in a program of music by Ligeti and Brahms, plus the world premiere of Bermel's A Short History of the Universe. Tickets: $35.

Every January we look forward to the New Year concert by the Folger Consort at Washington National Cathedral, this year featuring the voices of local ensemble Cathedra (January 11 and 12). The program will feature grand sacred music for the Chapelle Royale by Lully, Charpentier, and Couperin. Tickets: $30 to $50.

Opera Lafayette's detour into the 19th-century opéra comique continues with Félicien David's little-known Lalla Roukh, from 1862, to be performed at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater (January 26, 8 pm). Costumes by Indian fashion designer Poonam Bhagat and choreography by Kalanidhi Dance should heighten the work's exotic appeal in this production directed by Bernard Deletré. Tickets: $40 to $100.

One of the things that struck me on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra season this year was the screening of Sergei Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky, with a live performance of Prokofiev's epic score, with mezzo-soprano Irina Tchistjakova. You have three chances to see it, on January 11 and 13 (Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore) and January 12 at Strathmore. Tickets: $31 to $91.

We have been admirers of English tenor Toby Spence and were pulling for him as he recovered from thyroid cancer last year. Vocal Arts D.C. will present him in recital this month (January 16, 7:30 pm), with pianist Graham Johnson at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, and we understand that he has made an excellent recovery. Tickets: $45.

Cellist Steven Isserlis and pianist Kirill Gerstein will play a recital in the Barns at Wolf Trap (January 25, 8 pm), with music by Liszt, Busoni, Brahms, and Bartók. Tickets: $35.

This is not really a musical recommendation, since I do not know the score of the National Ballet of Canada's Alice in Wonderland, composed by Joby Talbot. However, the pictures of this production, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and staged by Jacquelin Barrett, are enough to intrigue me. Performances are scheduled for January 18 to 27 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets: $45 to $150.

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