Kennedy Center announces a bounteous season for 2024-2025

Thu Mar 14, 2024 at 11:00 am

Sondra Radvanovsky stars in concert performances of Samuel’s Barber’s Vanessa, with Gianandrea Noseda leading the  National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center’s 2024-25 season. Photo: Andrew Eccles

The National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, the flagship organizations of the Kennedy Center, announced their 2024-2025 seasons Thursday. 

Gianandrea Noseda will open his eighth season as NSO music director with the local debut of pianist Yunchan Lim, gold medal winner at the Van Cliburn Competition in 2022, as soloist in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (September 28).

Noseda continues his programming of opera in concert with a stellar cast for two performances of Samuel Barber’s Vanessa, including soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, tenor Matthew Polenzani, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, and baritone Thomas Hampson (January 30 & February 1, 2025). Among other distinguished soloists next season are soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen in Strauss’s Four Last Songs (October 3-5), Leif Ove Andsnes, Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, and violinist Lisa Batiashvili in Schnittke’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (May 1-3).

New music features prominently, beginning with Eugene Rogers conducting Carlos Simon’s oratorio Here I Stand, about baritone Paul Robeson (September 14). Alexei Ogrintchouk, principal oboist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Time’s River, a new oboe concerto by Alexander Raskatov (October 31-November 2). Marin Alsop conducts Julia Wolfe’s Her Story, an oratorio for ten women’s voices, performed by Lorelei Ensemble (February 27 & March 1).

After a successful European tour last month, Noseda will lead the NSO on its first domestic tour since 2011. In five cities in Florida, Hilary Hahn will reprise her rendition of Korngold’s Violin Concerto, on a program rounded out by Carlos Simon’s Four Black American Dances and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (March 18-24). Noseda closes the season with Mahler’s Sixth Symphony (May 8 to 10) and Beethoven’s monumental Missa Solemnis (May 15-17).

The season also features the welcome returns of excellent guest conductors, including Leonard Slatkin in Walton’s First Symphony (November 14-17); Marek Janowski in Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony (November 21-23); Stéphane Denève with Guillaume Connesson’s Maslenitsa (February 6-8); and Karina Canellakis with Scriabin’s The Poem of Ecstasy (April 10-12). Early music specialists Masaaki Suzuki and Fabio Biondi will lead performances of Handel’s Messiah (December 19-22) and Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony (April 3-6), respectively.


Last month, Washington National Opera announced that Robert Spano will become its next music director, for an initial three-year term beginning with the 2025-2026 season. Spano’s first production as music director designate will be Beethoven’s Fidelio, directed by WNO artistic director Francesca Zambello, a staging postponed by the pandemic in 2020 (happily not the dismal production she directed for WNO in 2003). Irish soprano Sinéad Campbell Wallace makes her American debut, co-starring with tenor Jamez McCorkle, while mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves has an unusual role debut as the king’s minister, Don Fernando (October 25-November 4).

In a welcome change from recent seasons, four mainstage operas will be staged in the Kennedy Center Opera House. The company returns to Verdi’s Macbeth for the first time since 2007, with a new production directed by Brenna Corner. Soprano Ewa Płonka, heard first in this season’s Turandot, stars in the crucial role of Lady Macbeth, and Canadian baritone Étienne Dupuis makes his role debut in the title role (November 13-23).

The spring operas will be The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the first opera of former KC composer-in-residence Mason Bates (May 2-10), and Zambello’s staging of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, with Michael Sumuel and Reginald Smith, Jr. alternating as Porgy and Brittany Renee and Alyson Cambridge as Bess (May 23-31).

WNO also presents the world premiere of an intriguing new family opera, composed by Kamala Sankaram on stories from Kipling’s Jungle Book. The multicultural production destined for the KC Terrace Theater will include Bollywood-style dancing from the Taal Dance Academy (December 13 to 15). The season is rounded out by two concert performances: soprano Christine Goerke and tenor Brandon Jovanovich in Wagner selections (October 26) and Renée Fleming, Denyce Graves, and Thomas Hampson in excerpts of American opera (May 3).

Programming for the Fortas Chamber Music Concerts series, the last piece of next season’s classical music offerings, and other programming will be announced later this month.

Tickets go on sale today.

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