Fine Festival Fare: Des Canyons Aux Étoiles Illustrated

Share
By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – Invited by the St. Louis Symphony to gather video of U.S. locales that inspired Messiaen’s From the Canyon to the Stars, Deborah O’Grady’s work opened the City of Light Festival with the touring St. Louis orchestra.

Full Story - →

Calgary Conjures Surreal Isolation Of ‘Die tote Stadt’

Share
By Bill Rankin

CALGARY, Alberta – Erich Korngold’s 1920 opera, about a grieving husband who thinks his dead wife has come back to life, received a potent revival at Calgary Opera, conducted by Bramwell Tovey and directed by Kelly Robinson.

Full Story - →

Jacaranda Series Highlights Music Of British Isles

Share
By Richard S. Ginell

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The series’ program on Jan. 30 of British music from the last third of the 20th century – entitled “Expectancy” – included savory works by Thomas Adès, Gerald Barry, and Peter Maxwell Davies.

Full Story - →

Eugene Onegin By The Book, But As Pastoral Romance

Share
By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Barrie Kosky is well established as this city’s operatic enfant terrible, yet his new directorial take on Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin has little sarcasm or fake blood. Its storybook context is timelessly modern.

Full Story - →

Timeless Antiphons Melds Antiquities And Street Groove

Share
By William Albright

HOUSTON – Pierre Jalbert’s Street Antiphons, which received its Houston premiere by the Montrose Piano Trio and clarinetist Richie Hawley, contrasts a contemporary urban drive with a serene aura of the Middle Ages.

Full Story - →

Ruzicka’s Portrait Of A Philosopher More Of A Selfie

Share
By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – At the annual modernist festival Ultraschall Berlin, German composer Peter Ruzicka’s FLUCHT. Sechs Passagen for orchestra, said to depict philosopher Walter Benjamin, seemed more reflective of Ruzicka himself.

Full Story - →

At Age 92, Pressler Remains A Wizard In Magical Recital

Share
By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO – Pianist Menahem Pressler, who holds a special place in 20th-century chamber music for his 53 years with the Beaux Arts Trio, continued his late-career renaissance with a prodigious, entrancing, even mystical solo recital.

Full Story - →

Around the U.S.

San Antonio SO And Fierce Cellist Shine In Premiere

Share
By Mike Greenberg

SAN ANTONIO – Cellist Christine Lamprea reveled in the tough-minded, intricately designed, devilishly difficult new concerto by American composer Jeffrey Mumford, with solid support from the orchestra under John Axelrod.

Soprano Travels Adventurous Road During D.C. Recital

Share
By Charles T. Downey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alyson Cambridge tested the boundaries of classical music by performing three new song cyles – two of them world premieres – in a program titled “In Her Voice” in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

‘Desert Sorrows’ Achieves Embrace Exceeding Depth

Share
By Garrett Schumann

DETROIT – In its world premiere by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with Israeli cellist Maya Beiser, Mohammed Fairouz’s eclectic work lacked the gravitas suggested by its title, but the audience was thrilled.

Browse Archive →

Around Canada

Dark Sisters Sheds Light On Muhly’s High Opera Profile

Share
By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – A revival of Nico Muhly’s opera about the aftermath of a police raid on a fundamentalist Mormon compound, at the Vancouver Opera, showcases his flair for music-drama. The company has been new-opera friendly.

New Orford Proves Poised Quartet In Beethoven Concert

Share
By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – The top-notch New Orford String Quartet is comprised of two players each in the Toronto and Montreal Symphonies. They’re unlikely to leave their day jobs any time soon, so New Orford concerts are rare, special occasions.

Opera’s Premiere Links Modernism With Monteverdi

Share
By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – The Canadian Opera Company displayed some outside-the-box thinking in pairing Monteverdi and Barbara Monk Feldman. Despite the gulf separating these two composers, there are some striking similarities.

Browse Archive →

International

Debussy’s Light Shines In Pelléas By Sellars, Berlin

Share
By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – In an age of hyperactive productions, it is sobering to see director Peter Sellars capture the musical essence of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in a semi-staging with the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle.

Bartoli-Villazón Road Show: Bel Canto Con Brio

Share
By Sarah Hucal

BERLIN – Flush with success from the Salzburg Fest, where they were paired as Iphigénie and Pylade, Cecilia Bartoli and Rolando Villazón are in the middle of a bel canto concert tour of European capitals, with Bartoli as the undeniable star.

Goldmark’s Exotic Sheba Is A Once And Future Queen

Share
By Arthur Kaptainis

BUDAPEST – Hungarian State Opera’s Die Königin von Saba (The Queen of Sheba) is a reminder that Goldmark’s lavish and accomplished blend of Biblical spectacle and Wagnerian passion was a hit in its day and could be again.

Browse Archive →

Issues in the Arts

Extra Special: Evolving Role Of Supernumeraries

Share
By Barbara Jepson

All of those non-singing performers on opera stages are there to help fulfill the director’s vision for a production — from serving as warriors in Aida to wearing a fish head in the dream sequence in Hansel and Gretel.

In Classical Guise, Rock Music Finds Symphonic Haven

Share
By John Fleming

In 1995, conductor-arranger Brent Havens put the Virginia Symphony together with music of Led Zeppelin in a classic rock and classical music pairing. The concert sold out in one day, he says, and his cottage industry was born.

A Visionary Critic, Commanday Saw Future In The Web

Share
By Paul Hertelendy

SAN FRANCISCO – We lost one of our most prominent music critics with the death of Robert Commanday, 93. He wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle, created San Francisco Classical Voice, and sparked this website’s genesis.

Browse Archive →

Disc and Stream

Fantastique-Lélio Fantasy Fulfilled By Chicago, Muti

Share
By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL – In some respects, Riccardo Muti’s 1985 disc of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique with the Philadelphia Orchestra tops the Chicago Symphony version, but this Lélio pairing with actor Gérard Depardieu is compelling.

Paradise Is Lost On London Symphony As Led By Rattle

Share
By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Robert Schumann’s neglected oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri, recorded live, bears the uneasy scramble of a performance led by Simon Rattle at home in London’s dry, acoustically challenging Barbican.

Buried Treasure: Horowitz Recital Sparkles On DG

Share
By Gary Lemco

DIGITAL REVIEW – A 1986 Chicago recital broadcast tape of pianist Vladimir Horowitz, lingering in the WFMT vaults until 2013, has been released by Deutsche Grammophon as a testament to the virtuoso’s extraordinary Indian summer.

Browse Archive →

MCANA Hosted Blogs

The Chairman Turns 100

Share

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

Share

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 …

Peter Schickele and the Armadillo Quartet – 25 Years Together

Share

By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Monday night, the Shatto Chapel within the massive First Congregational Church near Wilshire Blvd. was the …

Browse Archive →