The MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, January 15.
The clarinet is often described as the instrument closest, in timbre and range, to the human voice. I never gave the idea much thought before this concert, but the juxtaposition put forth by the Metropolitan Opera's exquisite orchestra turned out to be lovely. Alternating between supporting a clarinet soloist and accompanying soprano Renée Fleming highlighted the voice-like qualities of the wind instrument, the agility and virtuosity of Fleming's voice, and the fine musicianship of both. The program itself was a bit quirky, starting with Mozart and ending with several hyper-romantic arias from twentieth-century American operas, but it pulled together beautifully behind its talented soloists.