If the Metropolitan Opera is going to produce a new work based on Michael Cunningham’s novel “The Hours” twenty years after Hollywood took a star-studded crack at it, then it has no choice but to line up its own trio of luminous leading ladies—Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, and Kelli O’Hara—for the New York première of Kevin Puts’s opera (Nov. 22-Dec. 15).
The Prototype Festival, the pacesetter for contemporary music theatre in New York, postponed its tenth-anniversary season in January, a casualty of the Omicron surge. It returns with a mix of new and rescheduled works. “Undine,” an operatic animated film about a mermaid who’s battling addiction and living in somebody’s aquarium, streams on demand, and Emma O’Halloran’s “Trade,” about a male prostitute and a closeted client, plays at Abrons Arts Center (Jan. 5-15).
Two new works profile American courage. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Shawn Okpebholo’s cycle “Songs in Flight,” featuring the confident storytellers Rhiannon Giddens and Will Liverman, looks at fugitive-slave ads as documents of bravery (Jan. 12). Paul Moravec’s “A Nation of Others,” with the Oratorio Society of New York, at Carnegie Hall, reveals a day in the life of immigrants on Ellis Island, in 1921 (Nov. 15).
Also at Carnegie, past masters stick to what they know: the sparkly-voiced tenor Juan Diego Flórez offers a recital of works by bel-canto composers (Jan. 29); Mitsuko Uchida delves into Beethoven sonatas (Feb. 24); and Christian Thielemann, an authority in Austro-German fare, leads the Vienna Philharmonic in Strauss, Brahms, and Bruckner (March 3-5).
The New York Philharmonic, which is committed to commissioning works from female composers, elevates women on the podium, too. Ruth Reinhardt makes her Philharmonic conducting début with the pianist Kirill Gerstein, in Thomas Adès’s multimedia retelling of Genesis, “In Seven Days” (Feb. 16-18), and Nathalie Stutzmann does so with the cellist Alisa Weilerstein, in Prokofiev’s sinewy Sinfonia Concertante (Feb. 22-24). The spectacular Yuja Wang plays a volatile piano concerto written for her by Magnus Lindberg (Jan. 5-10).
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s six-concert winter festival, the Magic of Schubert, considers the legacy of a melodist both gracious and sublime, all culminating in the unrushed pleasures of Schubert’s hour-long Octet in F Major (Jan. 22-Feb. 10). ♦