Carnegie Hall, New York
October 3, 2018

The Carnegie Hall season gala opening is always a glittery affair, but with the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas plus high-octane divas Renée Fleming and Audra McDonald on the bill, frocks were guaranteed to be out in force and tickets were like hen’s teeth. A lightish bill of fare was played straight through, which made for a pleasant and entertaining evening, if a little easy on the intellect, but when the music making was of this standard, who cares if you don’t have to think too hard.

Audra McDonald, Renée Fleming and Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall. Photo © Chris Lee

This year, Tilson Thomas, or MTT as he’s widely known, is one of Carnegie’s Perspectives artists (the other is Yuja Wang), which means he gets to highlight music by composers he has championed over the years played by orchestras with whom he has forged key relationships. That means world premieres by Ted Hearne and Julia Wolfe, plus the New York premiere of MTT’s own Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind. He will also helm...