With a slew of award-winning albums, including their recent Shostakovich Four and Eleven, which won Limelight’s 2018 Recording of the Year, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons are riding high at the moment. Their all-Strauss program at Carnegie Hall was an attractive one: a first half top and tailing of Capricciowith Renée Fleming to deliver the final aria, followed by Also Sprach Zarathustra, one of the master’s most satisfying tone poems dating from 45 years previously. It also backed up the favourable impression garnered from discs of an exemplary ensemble with an enviable sound and an alert, commanding maestro.

Renée Fleming with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Chris Lee

Dating from the early 1940s, Strauss’s final opera is one of his most intimate utterances. A single-act meditation on the age-old question of which is most important in opera, the words or the music, it begins with a string sextet, the musical gift of the composer Flamand, one of the Countess Madeleine’s pair of rival lovers. Ten minutes in duration, it functions as the opera’s overture...