This Month In Seattle: Classical Music Picks For May

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Kaori Nakamura as Giselle (Photo: Angela Sterling)

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Kaori Nakamura as Giselle (Photo: Angela Sterling)

Though May is already in full swing, there are still plenty of options for classical music fans looking for live music this month. It’s a busy time of year for Seattle’s classical music community as ensembles and organizations prepare to end the concert season with a bang. This month’s offerings run the gamut from opera and chamber music to modern dance and ballet. Don’t miss out on the action as international stars and local favorites take the stage at venues across the city.

May 3 – 17 — Only two more weekends left to catch The Tales of Hoffmann at Seattle Opera. Offenbach’s sparkling fantasy about the adventures of a wandering poet is Seattle Opera’s Speight Jenkins’ final production as general director.

May 12Music of Remembrance‘s spring concert blends silent film, klezmer, and a world premiere. New York-based ensemble the Klezmatics provides live accompaniment for the 1918 silent film The Yellow Ticket. Also, don’t miss the premiere of a new work by Lori Laitman, whose song cycle is based on poetry by Selma Meerbaum Eisinger, a Jewish teenager and Holocaust victim. 

May 15-17 & 22-24Spectrum Dance Theater joins forces with the chamber musicians of Simple Measures for Rambunctious: A Festival of American Composers and Dance. Spanning two weekends, the festival presents seven new works by Spectrum artistic director and choreographer Donald Byrd, each set to a string quartet performed by Simple Measures. Composers represented include Gershwin, Copland, Ives, and Zorn.

May 16-18 — Based on a Greek myth, Handel’s Semele tells the tale of a young mortal woman who falls in love with Jupiter, the king of the gods. Early music ensemble Pacific MusicWorks and the University of Washington School of Music collaborate on a production of this Baroque masterpiece, complete with an all-star cast and orchestra.

May 17-18Seattle Pro Musica sings one of Brahms’ most beloved choral works, Ein deutsches Requiem (“A German Requiem”). The choral masterpiece features complex layers of vocal harmonies and melodies, as well as a timeless humanist message.

May 18 — Finnish pianist Ruusamari Teppo and cellist Jussi Makkonen visit Ballard’s Nordic Heritage Museum for a program of chamber music by Sibelius and other Finnish composers. Part of the museum’s Mostly Nordic concert series, this unique performance will be followed by a traditional Nordic smorgasbord meal.

May 29 – Jun. 1 — Join the Seattle Symphony for an evening of swinging patriotic favorites. The Celebrate America program features classic tunes like “Yankee Doodle” and “America the Beautiful” alongside hits by John Philip Sousa, John Williams, and others.

May 30 – Jun. 8Pacific Northwest Ballet‘s production of Giselle features retiring principal dancer Kaori Nakamura in the title role. Premiered in 1841, Adolphe Adam’s ballet follows the story of a peasant girl who dies of a broken heart and joins a group of vengeful female ghosts.

Originally published in The SunBreak on May 10, 2014.

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