Our guide to the city’s best classical music and opera.
BACH COLLEGIUM JAPAN at Alice Tully Hall (Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m.). Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” is an enormous work, six cantatas strung together in a sequence of delicacy and wonder. Complete performances are rare, and this is not one of them. Even so, Masaaki Suzuki leads his deeply experienced forces in four of the cantatas, with Sherezade Panthaki, Jay Carter, Zachary Wilder and Dominik Wörner as the soloists.
DAWN UPSHAW AND THE BRENTANO QUARTET at the 92nd Street Y (Dec. 3, 3 p.m.). A cherished soprano joins a strong quartet for two works: Respighi’s setting of Shelley, “Il Tramonto,” and Schoenberg’s ravishing String Quartet No. 2. That’s not all, in a pleasingly challenging program. The Brentano foursome also plays Mozart’s “Dissonance” quartet, as well as a juxtaposition of two composers whose work sits well alongside each other’s: Schubert, in the form of five minuets, and Webern, and his Six Bagatelles, Opus 9.
JANINE JANSEN AND FRIENDS at Zankel Hall (Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.). Daniil Trifonov’s “Perspectives” series at Carnegie Hall might garner more headlines, but that of Janine Jansen — an ideal violinist — is just as interesting musically. For the first concert, on Thursday, she joins the pianist Lucas Debargue, the cellist Torleif Thedéen and the clarinetist Martin Frost, for a program of chamber music including Bartok’s “Contrasts,” Szymanowski’s “Mythes” and Messiaen’s magical “Quartet for the End of Time.”
‘MESSIAH’ at St. Thomas Church (Dec. 5 and 7, 7:30 p.m.). Yes, it’s that time of year again. Daniel Hyde leads what remains an essential “Messiah,” featuring the inimitable sound of the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. New York Baroque Incorporated provides the orchestral accompaniment on period instruments, with the soloists Ellie Dehn, Clare McNamara, Lawrence Jones and Jesse Blumberg.
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC at David Geffen Hall (Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., through Dec. 9). With the Philharmonic in a transitional year, between the tenures of Alan Gilbert and Jaap van Zweden, it falls to the recently departed conductor to lead a program that ought to be in the purview of a formal music director: the orchestra’s 175th-birthday concerts. On the bill are Beethoven’s rousing Symphony No. 5, the overture to Weber’s “Oberon,” and Mozart’s “Sinfonia concertante” for winds, with the orchestra’s principals in the solo roles.
‘LE NOZZE DI FIGARO’ at the Metropolitan Opera (Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., through Jan. 19). Mozart’s great comedy returns to the Met, in the relatively recent, if rather mediocre, production by Richard Eyre. There are two casts, the first of which is in action until Christmas, and claims Adam Plachetka as Figaro, Christiane Karg as Susanna, Rachel Willis-Sorensen as the Countess and Luca Pisaroni as the Count. Harry Bicket conducts.