Heroic Strauss

Richard Strauss' tongue was firmly in cheek when he chose the title "Ein Heldenleben" ("A Hero's Life"). This 45-minute tone poem, premiered in 1899, is slyly self-referential, with pen portraits of the composer's wife and critics — not to mention extensive quotations from his earlier works. "Ein Heldenleben" is magnificently written for a large orchestra, giving the Minnesota Orchestra plenty to sink its teeth into. Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko leads a program also featuring Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with soloist Nikolai Lugansky. (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat.; Orchestra Hall, Mpls.; $12-$97, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org)

Rising opera star

Widely regarded as one America's more promising young singers, David Walton was a recent resident artist at Minnesota Opera. The tenor returns this spring for Joel Puckett's world-premiere baseball opera, "The Fix." In the meantime, catch him in a recital with Twin Cities pianist Mark Bilyeu. Benjamin Britten's "Winter Words" cycle (with settings of Thomas Hardy poems) is the centerpiece. A program featuring gems from the English song repertoire also includes selections from Gerard Finzi's "A Young Man's Exhortation." (Noon Thu., Landmark Center Courtroom 317, St. Paul; free, schubert.org)

Back to the '20s

MacPhail Spotlight Series visits the Roaring '20s with its latest program, featuring songs by George Gershwin as well as popular classics including "Ain't We Got Fun" and "Happy Days Are Here Again." MacPhail faculty artists Andrea Leap and Joey Clark are on vocal duty, with a jazz band backing. (8 p.m. Sat., Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Mpls.; 3 p.m. Sun., Paramount Theatre, Austin, Minn.; $15-$25, 612-767-5250 or macphail.org)

Pipe party

Resident organist at Paris' Church of Saint-Sulpice, Daniel Roth is one of the instrument's leading international soloists. His free recital is the latest from a series of events celebrating Philip Brunelle's 50th year as choirmaster and organist at Plymouth Congregational Church. And it's an unmissable event for lovers of organ music. (4 p.m. Sun., Plymouth Congregational Church, Mpls.; free, plymouth.org)

Baroque hearts

Founded 30 years ago, the Montreal early music group Ensemble Caprice has a reputation for innovative approaches to baroque music. Its Valentine's-themed "iLove Baroque" program includes music by Bach, Falconiero, Schmelzer, Purcell and Vivaldi, led by recorder and baroque flute virtuoso Matthias Maute. (4 p.m. Sun., St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ, St. Paul; $21-$31, 651-292-3268 or schubert.org)