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WINTER ARTS GUIDE

Boston’s best classical music events for the busy winter season

Thomas Adès will lead a week of BSO concerts at Symphony Hall.
Thomas Adès will lead a week of BSO concerts at Symphony Hall.Winslow Townson

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The winter BSO offerings include a pair of subscription weeks under the baton of music director Andris Nelsons (Jan. 23-31) as well as an enticing week with Artistic Partner Thomas Adès, who will lead works by Stravinsky as well as his own “Lieux retrouvés” for cello and orchestra with soloist Steven Isserlis (March 26-28). Symphony Hall. 617-266-1200, www.bso.org

BOSTON LYRIC OPERA Bellini’s “Norma,” that storied landmark of the bel canto repertoire, is next up for BLO. The Russian soprano Elena Stikhina takes on the daunting title role in a production directed by Stephanie Havey and conducted by David Angus. March 13-22, Cutler Majestic Theatre, 617-542-4912, www.blo.org

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Elena Stikhina with sing "Norma" with Boston Lyric Opera.
Elena Stikhina with sing "Norma" with Boston Lyric Opera.Ilya Korotkov

ODYSSEY OPERA The company’s Tudor-themed season continues with “The Chronicle of Nine: The Tragedy of Lady Jane” by the late American composer Arnold Rosner (1945-2013), here receiving its first performance. Gil Rose conducts the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in a semi-staged production of the work, with a libretto, by Florence Stevenson, centered on the character of Lady Jane Grey (to be sung by soprano Megan Pachecano), Queen of England for nine days in 1553. Feb 1, Jordan Hall, 617-826-1626, www.odysseyopera.org

CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR This is a big Beethoven year — his 250th birthday — so prepare for the anniversary deluge. And while the composer’s symphonies are never in short supply, here is a way to hear them from a completely different angle as the formidable pianist Christopher Taylor takes on a survey of Liszt’s sprawling transcriptions of all nine works. The Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies Project, spread over the length of 2020, kicks off with the Nos. 1 and 2 on March 22 at the Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall. 617-278-5159, www.gardnermuseum.org

PIERRE LAURENT-AIMARD You may not find a more compelling tribute to the composer’s revolutionary edge than “Beethoven the Avant-gardist,” a pair of recitals by the superb French pianist Pierre Laurent-Aimard intermixing the Piano Sonatas with works by Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Berg, and George Benjamin. March 28-29, NEC’s Black Box Theatre. 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org

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Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard brings his “Beethoven the Avant-gardist" recitals to Boston.
Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard brings his “Beethoven the Avant-gardist" recitals to Boston.Julia Wesely

OTHER ORCHESTRAS I: BOSTON PHILHARMONIC + VENICE BAROQUE The gifted young French pianist Lucas Debargue is the keenly anticipated soloist in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Philharmonic under Benjamin Zander’s baton, on a program that includes works by Kodaly and Dvorak (Feb 20-23, www.bostonphil.org). And as part of the Boston Early Music Festival’s festive 30th-anniversary season, the high-octane Venice Baroque Orchestra returns with Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg and a program paying tribute to storied Swedish soprano Jenny Lind through arias by Vivaldi, Handel, and others (Feb. 28, www.bemf.org).

OTHER ORCHESTRAS II: A FAR CRY + PALAVER STRINGS Two joyfully musician-led ensembles are both offering winter programs that play with themes of light: first up, Palaver Strings pairs Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight” with Vivaldi’s “Winter” from the “Four Seasons” with soloist Nicholas Kitchen (Jan. 23, Shalin Liu Performance Center, www.rockportmusic.org). Then its older-sibling ensemble, A Far Cry, has a program titled “Sunset” that includes Respighi’s “Il Tramonto” (featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Graham) and Lutoslawski’s “Musique Funèbre” (March 13, Jordan Hall, www.afarcry.org).

As part of its "Sunset" program, A Far Cry will play Respighi’s “Il Tramonto” and Lutoslawski’s “Musique Funèbre.”
As part of its "Sunset" program, A Far Cry will play Respighi’s “Il Tramonto” and Lutoslawski’s “Musique Funèbre.”Yoon S. Byun

VIOLINISTS: PATRICIA KOPATCHINSKAJA + JOHNNY GANDELSMAN In today’s ubiquitous business-speak, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the excellent Moldovan-born violinist, would be called a disruptive innovator for the classical world. This month she partners with cellist Jay Campbell for a rare duo recital featuring works by Ravel, Kodaly, Ligeti, and Orlando Gibbons (Jan. 23 and 24, Longy’s Pickman Hall, www.celebrityseries.org). And the similarly free-spirited violinist Johnny Gandelsman, one-fourth of the Brooklyn Rider Quartet, returns to Boston with his latest Bach project, the complete Cello Suites transcribed for violin (Feb. 8, Kresge Auditorium, mta.mit.edu).

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CANTATA SINGERS Under David Hoose’s direction, the venerable Boston chorus, now in its 55th season, returns to Yehudi Wyner’s beautifully autumnal “Give Thanks for All Things,” a major work which the chorus commissioned and premiered in 2010. Hearing it again should be the highlight of an all-American program that also includes works by Ives, Copland, and Irving Fine. Jan. 24, 8 p.m., Jordan Hall. 617–868-5885, www.cantatasingers.org

HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY The ear-catchingly eloquent fortepianist Christian Bezuidenhout performs (and conducts) Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 as well as works by Mozart and C.P.E. Bach. Feb. 14 and 16, Jordan Hall 617-266-3605, www.handelandhaydn.org



Jeremy Eichler can be reached at jeremy.eichler@globe.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Eichler.