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4. Repeat steps 2-3, choosing the performances you desire, until you fulfill the number of performances required in your series.

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American composer John Adams leads his Messiah for the modern age, live at Music Hall. Interweaving biblical verse with poetry by Latin American writers, El Niño considers the Nativity story from a mother’s point of view. Described as “some of the most beautiful episodes I’ve ever heard in any of his music,” (BBC Radio), Adams’ work explores, in his words, “what is meant by a miracle.”

Part-opera and part-musical theater, Candide is Leonard Bernstein’s take on Voltaire’s satirical Enlightenment-era novella of the same name— rebellious, heartfelt and thoroughly entertaining. Young Austrian conductor Katharina Wincor makes her May Festival debut, leading the Chorus and the CSO in a concert version of Bernstein’s “wittiest and most thoroughly successful theater score,” (The New York Times).

The romance of South America comes to life as Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena leads a program of South American epics. Ginastera’s playful ballet music depicts a magical nighttime story, while the rhythmic energies of Villa-Lobos’ Chôros recall the raw power of his native Brazil. Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez’s Cantata Criolla—sometimes called South America’s Carmina Burana—stars tenor and baritone soloists as a poet and the devil, in a singing contest.

In Jessie Montgomery’s I Have Something to Say, voices sing, “We were blessed to be born, when many doors had been torn open for us to be free.” Her new work, inspired by historic women past and present, gives young voices a prominent space. Celebrations of justice ring through Beethoven’s early (and only) opera. Later in life, and nearly deaf, Beethoven tore through the silence composing his ultimate celebration of life—the Ode to Joy.