Audra McDonald, ‘Carmina Burana’ among the highlights of San Antonio Symphony’s 36棋牌-21 classical season
The San Antonio Symphony has mapped out a full slate of classical programs as well as a performance by Broadway superstar Audra McDonald for next season.
There is still uncertainty about when people might feel comfortable venturing out and how much longer social distancing guidelines designed to halt the spread of COVID-19 will be in place, but Corey Cowart, executive director for the symphony, felt like it was important to move forward.
“As an organization, we have two big options,” he said. “One is to hunker down and wait and see, or to really start looking forward and talking about what’s next.”
The classical season is slated to begin in September. It was planned with the idea the the musicians will be playing to the full H-E-B Performance Hall, their 36棋牌 base at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
“It’s been a month and half since San Antonio started sheltering-in-place,” Cowart said. “This will be almost six months from that date. We are not in any way going to put our musicians or patrons at risk, but we are looking to see how things unfold, and if things need to change, how they need to change.”
A Pops season has been planned as well, but that is staying under wraps for the time being to give the symphony some flexibility in terms of scheduling. If classical dates have to shift, Cowart said, they might need to move into dates earmarked for Pops performances.
Highlights of the classical season include a performance of Carl Orff’s epic “Carmina Burana” and a special concert by McDonald, a six-time Tony winner, on Nov. 4. McDonald is slated to perform songs from musicals and American standards. Tickets to that concert will be exclusive to season subscribers.
In addition, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, who was to have ended his tenure as music director at the end of the 2019-20 season, will return to conduct two programs. And plans are afoot to pay tribute to him, making up for events that had to be scrapped because of the pandemic.
The guest conductors who will be taking the podium during the season are potential successors to Lang-Lessing. Four have been guest conductors in the past: Jeffrey Kahane, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Michael Christie and David Danzmayr.
Tickets are slated to go on sale in the next week or so, though the exact date is still being finalized. Tickets will have to be purchased online, at , or by calling 210-223-8624. No in-person sales will be available.
The season is slated to begin Sept. 25-26 with a program including Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor to be conducted by Kahane and featuring guest cellist Sterling Elliott. Next up is the Oct. 2-3 program featuring works by Falla and Ravel to be conducted by Carlos Prieto and featuring guest pianist Jorge Federico Osorio. The Nov. 6-7 program featuring works by Sibelius and Schumann will be conducted by Matthew Halls and will feature guest violinist Philippe Quint.
The epic “Carmina Burana” will be performed Nov. 20-21. Christie will conduct the musicians, who will be joined by guest vocalists soprano Kathryn Lewek, tenor John Tessier and baritone Craig Irvin, as well as the San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers conducted by John Silantien.
A program of Brahms and Beethoven slated for Nov. 27-28 ends the year, with guest conductor Paulo Bortolameolli and pianist Eric Lu.
The new year starts with Mozart and Prokofiev works on Jan. 8-9 with guest conductor Pablo Rus Broseta and featured symphony musicians bassoonist Sharon Kuster, oboist Paul Lueders, clarinetist Ilya Shterenberg and horn player Jeff Garza.
The Sibelius Symphony No. 5 is the headline work for the Jan. 15-16 program, which will be conducted by Jessica Cottis and will feature guest pianist John O’Conor; Straus’ “Don Quixote” will be featured for the Jan. 29-30 performances, which will be conducted by Lang-Lessing and will feature symphony principal cellist Kenneth Freudigman.
The Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 is the featured piece for the Feb. 5-6 concerts to be conducted by Danzmayr and featuring guest pianist Stephen Hough. Works by Dvorak and Brahms take center stage for the March 5-6 concerts to be conducted by Jonathon Heyward and featuring percussionist Colin Currie.
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will be performed April 2-3 under the baton of guest conductor Carlos Izcaray and featuring violinist Eric Gratz, who is the symphony’s concertmaster. Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” is the featured work April 9 and 10, with Garrett Keast conducting and featuring soprano Lyubov Petrova as well as the Mastersingers.
Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances” is part of the program slated for May 14-15, which is to be conducted by Lina Gonzalez-Granados with guest violinist Benjamin Beilman.
And Lang-Lessing returns for the final concert in the classics season, a May 28-29 program featuring works by Chopin and Shostakovich and guest pianist Federico Gad Crema.
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Deborah Martin is an arts writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. To read more from Deborah, .