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From opera festivals in the open air to symphonies played in bandshells across the U.S., classical music fans never want for concert options over the summer. But there’s still nothing quite like Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home in the Berkshires, where for the next couple months audiences will gather on the vast lawn and inside the sweeping Koussevitsky Music Shed to hear world-class soloists and of course the BSO itself.
The season officially starts on Friday with a gala performance led by one of the most charismatic superstar pianists, Lang Lang, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491, on a program conducted by Andris Nelsons also featuring Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture. The following evening inaugurates Tanglewood’s summerlong celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial with a semi-staged performance of his classic musical On the Town, with the Boston Pops under Keith Lockhart playing and a starry cast including Broadway regulars Brandon Victor Dixon, Laura Osnes, Andy Karl and Andrea Martin; later in the week, Bernstein’s one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti gets a similar treatment, with a cast led by Alexandra Silber and Nathan Gunn.
And that’s just the start of the Bernstein celebration, which throughout the summer will feature artists who worked with the great composer and maestro early in their careers (including Michael Tilson Thomas, Midori, and Yo-Yo Ma), along with current stars like conductor John Williams, vocalists Susan Graham and Nadine Sierra, and Broadway performers like Tony Yazbeck, all leading up to a late August special gala hosted by Audra McDonald. From July 6.