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Catherine Reese Newton speculates on USUO's 2013-2014 schedules
First Published Jan 25 2013 11:30 am • Last Updated Jan 25 2013 11:30 am

For some music enthusiasts, the Utah Symphony's season announcement is akin to the announcement of Academy Award nominations or the NCAA's Selection Sunday. The orchestra recently invited subscribers to a Feb. 6 season preview in Abravanel Hall; in contrast to the usual shroud of secrecy, this invitation included some hints.

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Music director Thierry Fischer has conducted the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Mendelssohn the past two seasons. Next year, he writes, he is "planning another irresistible symphony cycle — a cycle I absolutely love. This phenomenal composer has never been given a complete symphony cycle so far with the Utah Symphony." Could it be Carl Nielsen? Or — dare one hope — Ralph Vaughan Williams, or even America's greatest composer, Charles Ives?

We know it won't be Shostakovich, Mahler or Prokofiev, whom Fischer mentions in a list of a dozen composers who'll be heard in Abravanel Hall. (Don't worry, there will be some Beethoven, Berlioz and Stravinsky as well.)

Fischer also hinted at some of the guests who will play concertos with the orchestra: "an artist I consider the world's greatest flautist" (Paula Robison? James Galway?), Classic Brit's 2012 Best Female Artist (violinist Nicola Benedetti), Musical America's 2012 Musicians of the Year (cellist David Finckel and his wife, pianist Wu Han) and a soloist from the Emerson String Quartet (could that be Finckel, who recently announced he is leaving the quartet, or one of his soon-to-be-former bandmates?).

Meanwhile, Utah Opera will make its season announcement Wednesday afternoon on Classical 89. The season will open with a concert version of Richard Strauss' "Salome" in Abravanel, the move being necessary because of renovations in the Capitol Theatre. So you won't see the Dance of the Seven Veils, but fear not — Strauss' score doesn't leave much to the imagination. (Strauss lovers also will be pleased to note that the Abravanel Hall stage can accommodate a bigger orchestra than the Capitol Theatre pit.) There's a bonus collaboration with Salt Lake Acting Company on a cabaret-style production of resident playwright Kathleen Cahill's "Fatal Song" in the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in November. Utah Opera artistic director Christopher McBeth promises "one of Verdi's greatest hits" at the Capitol Theatre in January, with Puccini and Mozart rounding out the season. We're guessing "La Traviata," "Turandot" and "The Marriage of Figaro." Watch this space to see whether our predictions are correct.

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— Catherine Reese Newton

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