Sonoma State University announced its 2013-14 Green Music Center season Monday, unveiling an impressive lineup of 23 concerts that draws from the top tier of classical, opera, jazz and world music.
The Sept. 15 opening night celebration for the MasterCard Performance Series in Weill Hall showcases soprano Renee Fleming, one of America's most well-known vocalists.
That same week, the hall will welcome pianist Lang Lang on Sept. 17, violinist Itzhak Perlman on Sept. 21 and jazz legend Herbie Hancock on Sept. 28.
Other headliners include violinist Hilary Hahn, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, baritone Bryn Terfel and the Silk Road Ensemble.
"It keeps improving," SSU President Ruben Arminana said. "We broke ground last season, and we're now going up the hill in terms of programming."
The program was introduced Monday in the Green Music Center's Prelude Restaurant by newly appointed Artistic Director Emmanuel Morlet, who arrived on campus about a week ago.
"The level of artistry is unbelievable," Morlet said. "The artists love it, and they all want to come back."
The 2013-14 season was planned by Berkeley impresario Robert Cole in collaboration with Jeff Langley, director of SSU's School of Performing Arts, who had served as the center's interim artistic director.
"We meant it when we said world-class," Langley said. "We're bringing some of of the best and biggest names here."
The first season opened last September with a star-studded weekend featuring Lang Lang, the Santa Rosa Symphony, Alison Krauss and Union Station.
"We can't top that, but the idea was to have an opening week," Cole said. "There is no one else who is doing what we're doing the opening week."
Jazz and world programming in 2013-14 will expand from four to six concerts. Artists include Portuguese fado artist Mariza, Spanish star Estrella Morente, jazz pianist Jon Batiste with the Stay Human band, the Silk Road Ensemble and the Bahia Orchestra Project.
Baroque music will continue to have a high profile as well, with the Venice Baroque Orchestra performing with counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky and The English Concert presenting Handel's "Theodora." The Philharmonic Baroque Orchestra and Chorale will present Handel's "Messiah" for a second year.
For the first time, the regular subscription series includes a collaborative concert with the hall's resident orchestra, the Santa Rosa Symphony. An "Afternoon of Opera" with Leah Crocetto and David Lomeli will be conducted by SRS Music Director Bruno Ferrandis.
In addition to the MasterCard Performance Series, the Santa Rosa Symphony will present 22 concerts in the hall and the San Francisco Symphony will present four concerts.
The MasterCard Performance Series is divided into six subscription packages. The Grand Opening concert with Renee Fleming is a special event, and tickets may only be purchased as part of a six-concert package or as an add-on to a package.
During opening week of the SSU series, the back door of Weill Hall will open to the lawn, except for the Lang Lang concert, which will be presented indoors only.
The university is still finalizing a series of outdoor summer concerts at Weill Hall. The series of eight or nine concerts will be announced in April.
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