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Ivan

The Budapest Festival Orchestra’s The Marriage of Figaro performance ranked first on the New York Magazine’s list of the ten best classical music events in New York this year. (hirado.hu)

The orchestra played this piece of Mozart’s Da Ponte trilogy, which was conducted and directed by Iván Fischer at the Mostly Mozart Festival, after its Budapest premiere. The online issue of the magazine highlights the stage performance’s innovative approach, in particular the ingenious solution with which costumes emphasising characters were hung above the stage or put onto clothes racks allowing singers to change their outfits even in the middle of an aria. As they wrote, it was like watching a rehearsal turning into a stage performance and then into reality.

The concert of world-famous pianist Paul Lewis featuring the Lincoln Center’s A Little Night Music series ranked second, where audiences heard an emotionally gripping performance of Schubert’s Sonata in A major.

The come-back concert at the Carnegie Hall performed by wheel-chaired James Levin, who recovered from an illness lasting two years, came third.   He played Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 with overwhelming energy leading the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

The piece of contemporary composer Caroline Shaw written for the singing band Roomful of Teeth and entitled Partita for 8 Voices, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this year and was premiered at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, is also in the top ten, in fourth place.

The Prototype Festival, which was held for the first time in January this year, was selected as the fifth classical music highlight; it collects pioneering artists and pieces of music from both opera and music theatre, and clearly shows how vivid the world of New York underground opera is. The second Prototype will be held between 8 and 19 January 2014.

The New York Philharmonic were on the list with three performances. Their concert, which featured Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey at the Avery Fisher Hall, came sixth. (This was the film which used György Ligeti’s music without his consent.) In addition to three of Ligeti’s pieces, music from Richard Strauss, Khachaturyan and Johann Strauss was also played.

The New York Philharmonic took eighth place too by performing Unsuk Chin’s composition entitled Gougalon. The “noisy” assonance of the percussions, strings and winds premiered in the stage performance as part of the orchestra’s new Contact! series evokes the hubbub of his native Seoul.

Their third production, the performance of Charles Ives’ Symphony No. 4 conducted by music director Alan Gilbert, placed ninth on the list.

The superb performance of American soprano Christine Goerke acting as the Dyer’s Wife in the opera The Woman Without a Shadow placed seventh on the list. The Metropolitan Opera staged Richard Strauss’ opera in November, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski and directed by Herbert Wernicke.

Finally, the year’s tenth best production was the Metropolitan Opera’s vivid and profound Giulio Cesare performance, in which satire and dignity go perfectly hand in hand. Natalie Dessay performed marvellously as Cleopatra in Händel’s opera as Hungarian television viewers saw during the Met’s opera broadcast.