LENOX -- The online rush for Tanglewood’s summer season tickets begins promptly at 10 a.m. on Sunday, when the general public gets its first chance to snag seats for Boston Symphony and Boston Pops concerts as well as a pair of high-profile Popular Artists programs featuring Melissa Etheridge on June 21 and Jackson Browne on July 4.
Despite James Taylor’s tour sabbatical so he can prepare a new album and in the wake of last summer’s glitz and glamour surrounding Tanglewood’s 75th anniversary season, the BSO management has loaded the season with popular programming.
The wide-ranging list includes a Boston Pops symphonic celebration of Jerry Garcia’s Grateful Dead repertory with guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes on June 22, and a screening of the 1961 film classic "West Side Story" starring Natalie Wood as Maria. On July 13, the orchestra will perform the Leonard Bernstein score in sync with the film’s original vocals and dialogue. John Williams will return for the annual Boston Pops film night with guest artist Audra McDonald on Aug. 25.
Additional Boston Pops dates conducted by Keith Lockhart showcase country star Vince Gill (July 7) and pop-standard stylist Michael Feinstein (Aug. 16), as well as a Sept. 1 Pops Esplanade concert conducted by Thomas Wilkins with program details to be announced.
Other crossover events include an Aug. 15 performance by Yo-Yo Ma and colleagues of music from their "genre-defying" Goat Rodeo Sessions recording, according to the BSO.
BSO Managing Director Mark Volpe said Friday that the pre-sale of BSO and Boston Pops tickets to donors has been moving at a pace comparable to last year. But, he noted, it’s too early to tell about recently announced additions to the Popular Artists schedule -- the Etheridge and Browne dates.
"The Boston Pops Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration is selling incredibly well," Volpe said. Other hot tickets he listed include Ma’s two appearances, the "West Side Story" presentation, the Williams Film Night, Tanglewood on Parade, the Boston Pops dates with Lockhart and guest performers, and a classical concert featuring celebrity pianist Lang Lang.
Beginning next month, he added, additional Popular Artists and other non-classical events will be announced -- perhaps as many as five or six more, including bookings for the Labor Day weekend.
The organization’s main mission -- classical music -- will be represented by a diverse season of Shed performances by the BSO, including 200th-birthday anniversary salutes to Verdi (his Requiem) and Wagner (Act 3 of his opera "Die Walkure," with star bass-baritone Bryn Terfel).
Three conductors widely considered to be in the running for the still-vacant post of Boston Symphony music director will appear this summer -- return engagements for Latvian maestro Andris Nelsons in the Verdi program; French conductor Stephane Deneve in a Poulenc and Richard Strauss concert; and, making his Tanglewood debut, Russia’s Vladimir Jurowski in a program of Beethoven, Wagner and Liszt. A fourth contender, Daniele Gatti, is on the winter BSO slate but is not scheduled this summer.
As in the past, Volpe declined comment on potential music director contenders as well as on the timing of a decision.
Veteran audience and orchestra favorites will be returning, including conductors Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos (on opening night July 5 with violinist Joshua Bell in an all-Tchaikovsky program), Charles Dutoit, Christoph von Dohnanyi and Bernard Haitink, who will lead the traditional season-ender, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. An extensive roster of famed pianists includes Emanuel Ax, Leon Fleisher, Peter Serkin, Garrick Ohlsson, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Yefim Bronfman, and Christoph Eschenbach.
Emmanuel Music of Boston will present a concert performance of John Harbison’s opera The Great Gatsby on July 11, in celebration of the composer’s 75th birthday. The Tanglewood Music Center, with Mark Morris directing, will offer a double opera bill of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Britten’s Curlew River on July 31 and Aug. 1.
Garrison Keillor will host the 14th annual Tanglewood live public radio broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" on June 29.
BSO 101 music-appreciation discussions, with recorded examples, will be introduced on Wednesday afternoons at the Tanglewood Tent Club, while "Underscore Fridays" at selected evening BSO concerts will feature orchestra players introducing compositions from the stage. Volpe cited a "real appetite" among concertgoers to learn more about music.
Tickets and complete June 21-Sept. 1 season details are available at www.tanglewood.org or by phone at (888) 266-1200 starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Prices range from $9 to $117; the Saturday morning open rehearsals are ticketed from $10 to $30.
As part of the orchestra’s effort to reach younger audiences, $20 tickets for concertgoers under 40 will become available in April for most concerts on a first-come, first-served basis. Free lawn tickets for young people 17 and under continue to be offered for BSO and Boston Pops concerts, as well as a half-price discount for Friday evening lawn tickets to college and graduate students.
To reach Clarence Fanto:
or (413) 637-2551.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto