High Notes And Clams: The Best And Worst Of Classical 2013

Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole Smith in Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage, the final production from the New York City Opera, which closed its doors for good this fall. (Stephanie Berger )
Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole Smith in Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage, the final production from the New York City Opera, which closed its doors for good this fall. (Stephanie Berger )

A beloved conductor made a triumphant return, an opera singer took a stand and Walt Disney was reanimated by Philip Glass. It was quite a year in classical music, which also brought the closing of a prominent opera company and the continued silence of a major orchestra.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That could be the annual mantra for the classical music world. It has been predicted to crumble for decades, just as optimists continue to point to positive trends. This year is no different. Despite two ugly black eyes — the death of the New York City Opera and the continuing, bitter stalemate between the Minnesota Orchestra's (locked out) musicians and management — terrific music is being made by marvelous artists. Here we offer a short list of the best and worst of 2013. Let us know what we missed in our comments section, on Facebook and through Twitter.

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In May, Leonard Slatkin took his Detroit Symphony Orchestra back to Carnegie Hall after 17 years.

In May, Leonard Slatkin took his Detroit Symphony Orchestra back to Carnegie Hall after 17 years.

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato dedicated one of her performances this summer to a bullied teenager.

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato dedicated one of her performances this summer to a bullied teenager.

Philip Glass' opera about Walt Disney premiered this year in Madrid.

Philip Glass' opera about Walt Disney premiered this year in Madrid.

The San Francisco Symphony (with music director Michael Tilson Thomas) avoided a lengthy strike this year.

The San Francisco Symphony (with music director Michael Tilson Thomas) avoided a lengthy strike this year.

Nikolette LaBonte (left) and Caelan Stewart of NYO-USA rehearse with William VerMeulen (right), Principal Horn of the Houston Symphony.

Nikolette LaBonte (left) and Caelan Stewart of NYO-USA rehearse with William VerMeulen (right), Principal Horn of the Houston Symphony.

The centennial of Igor Stravinsky's notorious Rite of Spring was one of the big anniversaries celebrated this year.

The centennial of Igor Stravinsky's notorious Rite of Spring was one of the big anniversaries celebrated this year.

Conductor Andris Nelsons at his first rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra after being named its music director designate.

Conductor Andris Nelsons at his first rehearsal with the Boston Symphony Orchestra after being named its music director designate.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music, where the New York City Opera staged its final performances (of Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage).

The Brooklyn Academy of Music, where the New York City Opera staged its final performances (of Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage).

A show of support for the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, who have been locked out of their concert hall since October 2012.

A show of support for the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, who have been locked out of their concert hall since October 2012.

The Brooklyn Philharmonic is in danger of financial collapse.

The Brooklyn Philharmonic is in danger of financial collapse.

Conductor Vasily Petrenko's views on women conductors have been labeled offensive.

Conductor Vasily Petrenko's views on women conductors have been labeled offensive.

Italian singer Andrea Bocelli has four albums in the year-end classical Top 50 Billboard chart.

Italian singer Andrea Bocelli has four albums in the year-end classical Top 50 Billboard chart.

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev (left) has been criticized for not opposing Russia's anti-gay legislation, backed by President Vladimir Putin (right).

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev (left) has been criticized for not opposing Russia's anti-gay legislation, backed by President Vladimir Putin (right).

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