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New Year’s Eve: Celebrating Stephen Sondheim

New York Philharmonic / New York / Music

Twenty years ago, at a press conference preceding the New York Philharmonic’s first Sweeney Todd, a reporter put the orchestra’s music director Kurt Masur on the spot. What, the reporter asked, did Masur think about programming Sondheim in such a setting? Looking politely pained, the Old World Kappellmeister (who would not be conducting the work himself) allowed that he didn’t see the point. Oh, well—everyone has blind spots. Meanwhile, Sondheim has established a firm foothold on symphonic stages. The headliner for the Philharmonic’s holiday celebration of its old friend is Katrina Lenk, winner of the Tony Award for The Band’s Visit. She’s due back on Broadway in March as Bobbie (hitherto Bobby) in the visionary Marianne Elliott’s gender-blind Company—a project the point of which Sondheim himself at first did not see. Oh well … Ageless Sondheim goddess Bernadette Peters hosts. —M.G.

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