As she gradually withdraws from live opera, creamy-toned Renée Fleming’s recital appearances become all the more treasurable. The American soprano’s Ordway program mixes arias by Massenet and Boito with songs including Schumann’s “Frauenliebe und -Leben” cycle, plus a dash of Broadway sparkle for good measure. The excellent Hartmut Höll ensures quality accompaniments on piano.
Oct. 5, Ordway Music Theater, St. Paul. $27-$101, 651-292.3268 or schubert.org
Twenty-five years ago a recording of Polish composer Henryk Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs became an unexpected success, selling a million copies. Colin Stetson revisits the piece with “Sorrow,” part of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s innovative Liquid Music series. Stetson is a saxophonist by trade, but he adds drums, violin, synthesizers and electric guitars to the mix, casting an ambient contemporary patina on Górecki’s haunting music.
Sept. 30, Walker Art Center, Mpls. $28, 651-291-1144 or thespco.org
St. Paul Food Opera
Fancy a little music with your dinner? Composer Ben Houge writes music to accompany eating, tailoring each segment to specific courses and piping it through individual table speakers. New music collective Zeitgeist hosts eight opportunities to sample Houge’s “food opera” experience, with local restaurants Tongue in Cheek, St. Dinette, Golden’s Lowertown, Izzy’s Ice Cream and Brake Bread supplying the edibles.
Oct. 6-8; Studio Z, St. Paul. $35-$70, zeitgeistnewmusic.org
Skrowaczewski conducts Bruckner
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor laureate of the Minnesota Orchestra, turns 93 in October, and celebrates by leading two performances of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, one of the longest and most majestic in the repertoire. Skrowaczewski is viewed by many as the greatest living Bruckner conductor, and his Seventh Symphony last season was a miracle of strength and probity. This Eighth promises similar revelations.
Oct. 14-15, Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $29-$79, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org
For nearly two decades, the Sphinx Competition has been proactively seeking to identify the finest young black and Latino string players in America. The competition’s alumni orchestra, the Sphinx Virtuosi, tours once a year every fall, bringing a “Latin Voyages: Viajes Latinos” program to town, with music by Villa-Lobos, Golijov, Ginastera and “Tango King” Astor Piazzolla.
Oct. 30; Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul. $22-$42, 651-291-1144 or thespco.org
Victoria’s Officium Defunctorum
Twenty years ago, on a snowy November evening, Twin Cities vocal group the Rose Ensemble gave its first-ever concert. The work performed that night was “Mass for the Departed” by Tomás Luis de Victoria, the greatest Spanish composer of the 16th century. Hear the piece again, as the ensemble singers dust off copies to raise the curtain on their 21st season together.
Nov. 4, Church of St. Agnes, St. Paul. Nov. 5, Church of the Holy Cross, Mpls. Nov. 6, Church of the Incarnation, Mpls. $24-$38, roseensemble.org
‘A Joyful Noise’
Jazz licks have been seeping into classical music for a century now. Their influence is traced in the opening concert of this year’s St. Paul Chamber Orchestra chamber music series. Pieces by Poulenc, Stravinsky and Paul Schoenfield feature in the program, while trumpeter Wynton Marsalis contributes “At the Octoroon Balls,” a string quartet exploring life in New Orleans and American Creole culture.
Nov. 10, Capri Theater, Mpls. Nov. 11 & 13; Sundin Music Hall, Hamline University, St. Paul. $18, 651-291-1144 or thespco.org
Vänskä conducts Mahler
Only a small handful of classical symphonies end in unmitigated tragedy. Mahler’s Sixth is one of them. And its stupendous orchestration and seismic eruptions give the Minnesota Orchestra opportunities to dazzle in concert, in conjunction with a CD recording led by music director Osmo Vänskä. A new clarinet concerto by Claudio Puntin also features.
Nov. 11-12, Orchestra Hall, Mpls. $29-$96, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org
The band pit at the Ordway is too small to hold a Wagner-sized orchestra. So Minnesota Opera can’t do Wagner, right? Wrong. By merging pit and stage, the company is totally re-imagining the performing area for its first-ever staging of Wagner’s “Das Rheingold,” part one of the vast Ring cycle, with singers and players intermingling. The must-see operatic event of the fall season.
Nov. 12-20, Ordway Music Theater, St. Paul. $25-$200, 612-333-6669 or mnopera.org
Ole Bull and the Hardanger Fiddle
In Minneapolis’ Loring Park, there’s an imposing statue of a violinist playing his instrument. His name is Ole Bull, and because he was Norwegian he developed strong links with Minnesota. Find out more about Bull in a recital by violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved, who explores the links between the 19th-century composer/violinist and the 1860 Hardanger fiddle owned by the Schubert Club Museum.
Nov. 17, Landmark Center, St. Paul. $12, 651-292-3268 or schubert.org