Phyllis Curtin’s Vocal Wisdom Was 50 Summers’ Fruit

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By Leslie Kandell

APPRECIATION – Spurred by a Tanglewood memorial service on Aug. 8, a critic recounts nuggets of enduring wisdom from decades of summer vocal classes led by the celebrated soprano and teacher, who died in June at age 94.

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Mostly Mozart Hosts Shiny Aix Cosi Fan Tutte

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By David Shengold

NEW YORK – Festival music director Louis Langrée led the same well-balanced group of six personable, stylish, if not epochal-voiced, singers he’d conducted in Mozart’s opera in June and July at the Aix-en-Provence Festival.

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Dausgaard Makes Fervent Case For Mahler-Cooke 10th

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Thomas Dausgaard, conducting the Seattle Symphony, has turned in a live recording of the Deryck Cooke performing version of Mahler’s entire Symphony No. 10 that makes most of the others seem timid.

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Destined For Met, Eerie Angel Bows At Salzburg Fest

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By Rebecca Schmid

SALZBURG – Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel, inspired by Buñuel’s surreal dinner party film, largely lived up to high expectations. Tom Cairns’ gripping production heads next to London, New York and Copenhagen.

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Tuneful But Tame, Sweeney Update Lacks Sharp Edge

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By Barbara Jepson

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Sondheim’s spoof of Victorian melodrama can be horrifying, hysterically funny, and deeply moving. But Christopher Alden’s incoherent production for Glimmerglass undermines the show’s dramatic power.

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Glimmerglass Taps Into Searing Core Of Ward’s Crucible

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By Chuck Lavazzi

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – The festival production reveals the narrative power, high drama, and often unexpected beauty of Robert Ward’s opera based on Arthur Miller’s post-McCarthy political allegory of the Salem witch trials.

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Palette Of Love Is Noir, Blue & Gray At Santa Fe Opera

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By James L. Paulk

SANTA FE, N.M. – Novel stagings with updated historical settings suggest the Civil War for Roméo et Juliette, the 1950s for Capriccio, and the film noir era for Vanessa, starring a resplendent Erin Wall as the neurotic spinster.

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Hilarious And Not, This Magpie Soars At Glimmerglass

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By Ken Keaton

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Rossini’s La gazza ladra is an uneasy combination of sparkling comedy and dark drama. The Glimmerglass Festival’s finely feathered production meets its challenge with sparkle and humanity.

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Tangled Storylines Ground Flight Of Puppet Firebird

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By Daniel Hautzinger

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – A re-imagined ballet to Stravinsky’s music, conceived and directed by Janni Younge and presented at the Ravinia Festival, was a spectacle of mechanical creatures but a mashup of metaphorical narratives.

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Around the U.S.

Admired Festival At Tanglewood Savors The Recent

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By Leslie Kandell

LENOX, Mass. – This summer’s six-concert Festival of Contemporary Music, planned by the late composer Steven Stucky, found composers, students, scholars, and publishers gathering from around the country.

Montana Grandeur Cues Harmony Of Music, Sculpture

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By Nancy Malitz

FISHTAIL, Mont. – Arts philanthropists Cathy and Peter Halstead traveled the world in search of a remote landscape in which nature and the arts could interact. It’s called Tippet Rise, and classical music plays its part.

Carmel Bach Fest Goes Well Beyond Namesake’s Music

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By Richard S. Ginell

Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. – Festival artistic director Paul Goodwin and associate conductor Andrew Megill have been throwing in things you wouldn’t associate with an event called a Bach festival and making everything fit.

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Around Canada

Festival Mimics Concert Styles Of Old London Town

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – A “London Calling” theme has yielded chamber music programs for 2016 Toronto Summer Music, which reconstructs 18th- and 19th-century traditions for coronations and fashionable concert societies.

Charles Pope Jr., Noted Canadian Critic, Dies At 69

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By Earl Arthur Love

IN MEMORIAM – Charles Pope Jr. of Ottawa, Ontario, an elegant writer who was a longtime correspondent for Opera Canada and frequent contributor to ConcertoNet.com, died suddenly on May 31, 2016.

Grand Mahler 8th Caps Minczuk Era With Calgary Phil

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By Bill Rankin

CALGARY – There was a spirit of unabashed sentimentality as well as musical energy when the Calgary Philharmonic and a sold-out audience said farewell to Roberto Minczuk, who is moving on after a decade as music director.

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International

Bloody Whispers, Ripped From The Headlines Of 1590

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Salvatore Sciarrino’s Luci mie traditrici, inspired by Gesualdo’s crime, creates a realm where human emotion is stripped down to elemental vibrations. The Staatsoper staging is memorable for its committed performances.

Hungary Affords Worthy Option To Bayreuth’s Ring

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By James L Paulk

BUDAPEST – The appeal of this semi-staged Ring to Wagner enthusiasts is a story of magic, pluck, and luck, but also one of artistic success at a high level. The star is Ádám Fischer, who rivals the greatest Wagnerian conductors.

Incantesimi Plays With Spells, But Magic Is Missing

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Julian Anderson’s Incantesimi, or magic spells, introduced by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic,
shows Mahlerian foreboding at moments but never quite casts its own spell, despite an obviously caring performance.

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Issues in the Arts

Critics, Gathered In Charleston, Honor A Leader

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By John W. Lambert

IN MEMORIAM – Robert Paul Commanday, who died in 2015 at the age of 93, was fondly remembered in Charleston, S.C., where the Music Critics Association of North America heard a tribute to his guiding force in a transitional age.

Canada Tempest: Debating Critic’s Role In Our Time

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By Allan Kozinn

ANALYSIS – A publicist for Canadian Opera took issue with a National Post critique of Maometto II, an editor yanked the review, the critic was in the dark, emails went viral and things went downhill from there. What’s at stake here?

Robert W. Gutman Altered Views Of Mozart, Wagner

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By James L. Paulk

APPRECIATION – The American scholar, who died May 13 at the age of 90, was best known for landmark biographies of two seminal figures. The books dispelled myths and provided fresh and surprising perspectives.

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Disc and Stream

Gergiev Revisits Cosmic Scriabin, But Sans Ecstasy

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Valery Gergiev’s cycle of Scriabin symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra does not eclipse excellent earlier efforts by other orchestras. Nor does it surpass previous work by Gergiev himself.

Leaping Genres, Film Score Paints Winding Colorado

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Five composers, operating in specialized sound worlds of their own, wrote a tour-de-force for the vocal group Roomful of Teeth in evocation of a river diverted to serve the parched American West.

Guns & Coloratura Fuel Caesar & Cleo In Salzburg Remix

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Leiser and Caurier’s satirical 2012 production, now on DVD, has Cecilia Bartoli’s Cleopatra singing a Handel aria with a bag over her head, plus mind-bending sex, fantasy and horror that’s over the top.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

MTT Revisits Das Lied Von Der Erde – This Time With A Mezzo

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
SAN FRANCISCO — Das Lied Von Erde, Mahler’s gigantic unnumbered symphony disguised as a song cycle, …

The Chairman Turns 100

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
While making the rounds of local garage sales over the past weekend, I spotted a box …

Pull Up A Chair at the Valley Performing Arts Center

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Frequent concertgoers are used to enduring the usual welcome  from some anonymous public-address announcer, followed by …

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