As 2011-12 approaches, some music and theater events that have my attention
1) Mahler's Symphony No. 2, the "Resurrection"; Baltimore Symphony, Sept.15-17.
You knew I was going to pick this, didn't you?
As the Mahler anniversary draws down -- he died 100 years ago -- it's great to have the Second performed, especially in such proximity to the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. This symphony is all about life and death and life again, providing one of the most absorbing and rewarding journeys possible in music.
It will be interesting to hear Marin Alsop's approach to the work, which has been so associated in Baltimore with her predecessor at the BSO, Yuri Temirkanov, who chose it as his tenure-opener and tenure-closer.
2) "A Raisin in the Sun"; Everyman Theatre, Sept. 7-Oct. 9.
The company opens its season -- the last at its current location -- with a revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s venerable work, which offers a slice of African-American life in 1950s Chicago. Given Everyman's brilliant production last season of another classic, "All My Sons," the odds favor a memorable theatrical experience.
3) "The Rake's Progress"; Peabody Opera Theater, Nov. 18, 20.
The big news of the fall season is the debut of Lyric Opera Baltimore, but another company making use of our city's newly renovated opera house has my attention, too.
The Peabody troupe is moving into the historic theater to present Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress," a work with libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman inspired by the Hogarth print series of that name. This neoclassical masterpiece from 1951 does not come around every year (has it ever been staged here?).
4) "Jeanne d'Arc au bucher"; BSO, Nov. 17-18.
One of the best things about Marin Alsop's tenure with the BSO is her adventurous programming. A case in point this season is a theatrical presentation of Arthur Honegger's 1935 oratorio about Joan of Arc, a fascinating, prismatic work.
The Morgan State University Choir and other choral ensembles join Alsop and the orchestra for performances of the piece in Baltimore and then Carnegie Hall.
5) "La Cage aux Folles"; Hippodrome, Nov. 1-6.
File this under guilty pleasures. So it's not be the greatest musical of all time, but the Jerry Herman/Harvey Fierstein confection sure does have its charms. And this revival, which originated at London's innovative Menier Chocolate Factory in 2007, has been widely heralded as revelatory.
The touring production stars George Hamilton, so that should add to the fun.
SUN FILE PHOTOS (Mahler portrait by David Goldberg)