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Classical Music Agenda (May 2016)

May is the month of Wagner's Ring Cycle, the first complete one staged by Washington National Opera. Wagner fanatics, like us, will be spending a lot of time in the theater. Here are the Top 10 choices, besides Wagner, for the month of May.

The choice will be difficult on the first day of the month, but we probably fall on the side of the recital by mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung and pianist Kevin Murphy (May 1, 2 pm), presented by Vocal Arts D.C. in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Replacing soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, DeYoung will sing songs by Falla, Elgar, Brahms, Strauss, and Joseph Marx. Later that afternoon is the recital by pianist Murray Perahia (May 1, 4 pm), presented by Washington Performing Arts in the Music Center at Strathmore. Reason No. 1 that I would hate to miss this recital: he will play Beethoven's Hammerklavier sonata.

More fireworks come later in the week with an all-Prokofiev recital by pianist Yefim Bronfman (May 3). This free concert at the Library of Congress will feature the sixth, seventh, and eighth sonatas from a leading Prokofiev interpreter.

Pianist Nelson Freire plays music by Bach (fourth partita), Beethoven (piano sonata op. 111), Shostakovich, and Chopin, in his recital at Shriver Hall in Baltimore (May 8).

The concert by violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Emanuel Ax, canceled last September because Perlman had to undergo emergency surgery, will take place this month (May 10), presented by Washington Performing Arts in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.


Opera Bel Cantanti will give a rare performance of Mikhail Glinka's opera Ruslan and Ludmila (May 7 to 15) at the Randolph Road Theater in Silver Spring.

James MacMillan takes the podium of the National Symphony Orchestra, leading performances of Elgar's cello concerto, with soloist Alban Gerhardt, Vaughan Williams's fourth symphony, and his own piece The Sacrifice (May 12 to 14), in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

Two programs from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra made the cut, beginning with a concert led by John Adams, pairing his own Harmonielehre with Beethoven's fifth piano concerto with Jeremy Denk as soloist (May 12 in Baltimore; May 15 at Strathmore). John Storgårds takes the podium the following week, leading performances of Holst's The Planets, a new work by Libby Larsen, and Tan Dun's Water Concerto (May 21 at Strathmore; May 20 and 22 in Baltimore).

The talented chamber ensemble Inscape gives two concerts this month. Joined by violinist Miranda Cuckson, they will bring music back to the wonderful Hammer Auditorium at the Corcoran, with music by Douglas Boyce, Nathan Lincoln-DeCusatis, and Paul Moravec (May 8). The following week, in their home base at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bethesda, they perform a more varied program with music by Bach, Wagner, Robert Moran, Steven Stucky, and Jeremy Podgursky (May 15).

The rest of the May schedule will scroll through the Ionarts sidebar.

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