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Spring classical picks: Mahler’s Eighth, Hannigan’s Ojai and ‘Central Park Five’

Spring classical picks: Mahler’s Eighth, Hannigan’s Ojai and ‘Central Park Five’
Violinist Hilary Hahn is among the artists who’ll be performing at the grand opening of the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla on April 5. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

It’s a super bloom spring. Simply glance at just one weekend in early June. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will be overstuffing Walt Disney Concert Hall with Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand” and hosting a 12-hour new-music marathon that opens with David Lang’s “crowd out,” composed for as many volunteers as can be rounded up. Across the pond, there will be what could be the largest opera event of all time in Amsterdam, centered on 24 hours’ worth of Stockhausen’s seven-opera “Licht” cycle squeezed into three very long days and nights. Don’t let anyone tell you that classical music isn’t thriving beyond expectations.

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April 5

Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center

La Jolla Music Society promises a new world-class concert hall, a 500-seat theater designed by Epstein Joslin Architects with acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota. It opens with a wide-ranging gala that includes violinist Hilary Hahn, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro and dancer Lil Buck. Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla. $1,500 and up. (858) 459-3728. www.theconrad.org

April 10

Handel’s “Saul” with Philharmonia Baroque & Chorale

Conductor Nicholas McGegan is a great Handel specialist who in his 35 years as music director of Berkeley’s Philharmonia Baroque has made it arguably America’s premier early music orchestra. He brings his orchestra, along with a chorus and excellent soloists, from the Bay Area for one of the composer’s most dramatic oratorios. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. $20-$109. (323) 850-2000. www.laphil.com

Nicholas McGegan’s Philharmonia Baroque & Chorale will perform Handel’s “Saul” at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Nicholas McGegan’s Philharmonia Baroque & Chorale will perform Handel’s “Saul” at Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Los Angeles Times)

April 12-14, 18-20

L.A. Phil Stravinsky Festival

Conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen’s contribution to his old orchestra’s centennial season features three all-Stravinsky programs, and he returns with his longtime collaborator, director Peter Sellars, for a full staging of the dance drama “Persephone.” Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. $20-$212. (323) 850-2000. www.laphil.com

Conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the L.A. Phil in three distinct programs of works by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky.
Conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the L.A. Phil in three distinct programs of works by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

April 13, 16, 16, 22

Verdi’s “Otello” at the Baden Baden Easter Festival

After a year of illness, Zubin Mehta is back, big time. He’s joining the Berlin Philharmonic to conduct a new production of Verdi’s penultimate opera directed by Robert Wilson and staring Sonya Yoncheva at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in Germany. www.festspielhaus.de/en/

Zubin Mehta will lead the Berlin Philharmonic in a production of Verdi’s “Othello” at Germany’s Baden Baden Easter Festival in April.
Zubin Mehta will lead the Berlin Philharmonic in a production of Verdi’s “Othello” at Germany’s Baden Baden Easter Festival in April. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

May 16-18

Ravel’s “L’Enfant et Sortileges” with Pacific Symphony

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Ravel’s marvelous opera of childhood fantasy — with characters such as China Cup, Dragon Fly, Louis XV Chair and Screech Owl — will be semi-staged by Robert Neu with the Magic Circle Mime Company. The performance will be conducted by Carl St.Clair and will feature Tess Altiveros as the Child who beholds the magic spells. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. $25-$196. (714) 755-5799. www.PacificSymphony.org

May 30-31, June 2

Mahler’s Symphony No. 8

There could be no bigger climax for the L.A. Phil centennial season than Gustavo Dudamel conducting the first performance in Disney Hall of Mahler’s massive Eighth, known as the “Symphony of a Thousand.” Knowing Dudamel’s fondness for largeness, expect 1,000-plus, if he can get away with it. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. $88-$251. (323) 850-2000. www.laphil.com

Gustavo Dudamel will lead the L.A. Phil in three performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony.
Gustavo Dudamel will lead the L.A. Phil in three performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

May 31-June 10

Stockhausen’s “Aus Licht” at the Holland Festival

There’s big and there’s big. Karlheinz Stockhausen’s monumental extraterrestrial cycle of seven operas, “Licht” (Light), has never been fully mounted. This Amsterdam festival will come the closest thus far, with about 24 hours spread over three days (the cycle repeats three times) and more than 400 performers and technicians (including helicopter pilots). It’s all directed by the irrepressible Pierre Audi. www.hollandfestival.nl/en/

June 1

David Lang’s “crowd out”

There’s big and there’s big, Part 3: Dudamel and Audi aren’t the only ones with with a penchant for crowds. David Lang offers a crowd-sourced work for as many as want to participate. It will kick off the L.A. Phil’s annual “Noon to Midnight” new music marathon curated and conducted by John Adams and featuring ensembles from around town and beyond. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. $10-$60. (323) 850-2000. www.laphil.com

Composer David Lang’s crowd-sourced work “crowd out’ is among the pieces to be performed in the L.A. Phil’s annual “Noon to Midnight” music marathon.
Composer David Lang’s crowd-sourced work “crowd out’ is among the pieces to be performed in the L.A. Phil’s annual “Noon to Midnight” music marathon. (Michael Nagle)

June 6-9

Ojai Music Festival

This year’s music director of the Ojai festival is versatile singer and conductor Barbara Hannigan, who has put together an ambitiously nonstop weekend of the new and the not. The lineup is highlighted by a fully staged production of Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress,” conducted by Hannigan. Libbey Bowl, 210 S. Signal St., Ojai; other area venues. $45-$150; some events are free, festival passes available. (805) 646-2053. www.ojaifestival.org

Barbara Hannigan serves as music director this year’s Ojai Music Festival.
Barbara Hannigan serves as music director this year’s Ojai Music Festival. (Musacchio & Ianniello)

June 11-12

Meredith Monk’s “Atlas”

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For his final project as L.A. Phil artist-collaborator, director Yuval Sharon stages Meredith Monk’s only formal — and negligently neglected — opera. “Atlas” is about the exceptional Belgian-French-Buddhist-anarchist-feminist Tibetan explorer Alexandra David-Néel. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. $32-$164. (323) 850-2000. www.laphil.com

June 15

“The Central Park Five,” Long Beach Opera

Following a series of cogent, stylistically varied and culturally relevant operas, including ones around Malcolm X and Patty Hearst, the composer and jazz pianist Anthony Davis brings us his latest, “The Central Park Five.” Long Beach Opera gives the world premiere. Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th St., San Pedro. (562) 470-7464. www.longbeachopera.org

Yuval Sharon will direct a production of the Meredith Monk opera “Atlas.”
Yuval Sharon will direct a production of the Meredith Monk opera “Atlas.” (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

July 12-13

Adès & McGregor: A dance collaboration

The L.A. Phil, the Royal Ballet of London, Wayne McGregor and two top instrumental soloists — violinist Leila Josefowicz and pianist Kirill Gerstein — join forces to celebrate British composer and sometimes-Angeleno Thomas Adès’ works in a program conducted by the composer. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. $34-$138. (213) 972-0711. www.musiccenter.org

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