Images Slow-dance To Bach Behind Violinist Shaham

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By Kyle MacMillan

Gil Shaham tells his children to try new things and not be afraid of making mistakes. But the renowned violinist realized a few years ago that he had not done a very good job of following his own advice, so he decided to revisit Bach.

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High-Tech Videos Light Fire Under Seattle’s Semele

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By Philippa Kiraly

SEATTLE – Handel’s opera may never have been seen as it is now presented at the Seattle Opera, with imaginative use of computer-generated images. Although musically the production hews to Baroque style, visually it’s 21st century.

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You Can Tell, Just By Looking, She’s Planning A Heist

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By Leslie Kandell

NEW YORK – In Mona Lisa, the 1915 opera by Max von Schillings, her husband’s a mean old jewel merchant and she intends to run away with her lover and some pearls. The show had its heyday, then disappeared until now.

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Maestro Mälkki Set To Lead Fantasy Opera Alice In LA

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – Susanna Mälkki has arrived at the 21st-century music temple known as Walt Disney Concert Hall to lead the West Coast premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland. It’s a new take for the LA Phil’s series in/SIGHT.

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Honoring Strauss, Concert Puts Spin On Metamorphosis

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By Mike Greenberg

SAN ANTONIO – In a city-wide festival of music by Richard Strauss, the SOLI Chamber Ensemble and Ballet San Antonio collaborated to provide fresh arrangements and contexts for the familiar Metamorphosen and Morgen!

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La donna del lago Makes A Belated Splash At The Met

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By Judith Malafronte

NEW YORK – It took nearly 200 years and a bel canto revival for Rossini’s opera seria sensation to come to the Met, although audiences first saw it here just ten years after its 1819 premiere. Joyce DiDonato stars but Scotland’s drab.

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East Greets West In A Now That Sounds Like Then

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Although five works by Canadian and Chinese composers including Fuhong Shi were premieres, a New Music Concerts event Feb. 14 seemed a throwback to high modernism and post-war avant-garde tricks of the trade.

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LA Opera Conjures Corigliano’s Ghosts And La Révolution

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – The idea behind Corigliano’s 1991 The Ghosts of Versailles was Beaumarchais’ third Figaro play, but Almaviva’s story is only one thread in an opera involving Marie Antoinette and the guillotine’s threat.

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Around the U.S.

At Seattle Opera, New Era Wafts In Via New Zealand

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By Philippa Kilraly

SEATTLE – “He has the best kind of youthful passion in what opera can mean,” says a colleague of Aidan Lang, who brings global experience to his first season as general director, eyeing an edgier image and the inevitable new Ring.

Andrew Patner, Noted Arts Critic, Dies Suddenly

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

A WFMT-FM executive recalled the “voice, keen intelligence and great spirit” of the Chicago broadcaster and contributing classical music critic for the Sun-Times, who died at 55 after a brief battle with a bacterial infection.

In New Opera, Music Pries Open A Sealed Mind

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By Charles T. Downey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – What goes on in the minds of those diagnosed with autism? Penny, with a tonal score by Douglas Pew and libretto by Dara Weinberg, attempts to delve into this mystery through the medium of music.

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Around Canada

Marionettes Bring Charm, Finesse On Trek From Austria

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By Richard Todd

OTTAWA – The Salzburg Marionette Theatre has toured North America with a playful show built around Schumann’s Papillons and Debussy’s Boîte à joujoux. Remarkably life-like puppets teamed with pianist Orion Weiss. Paris is next.

Toronto Symphony Shines Spotlight On Nielsen At 150

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Danish composer Carl Nielsen is still on the fringes of the canon, but his music has a chance to find a wider audience this concert season, with a mini Nielsen-fest in Toronto, and more to come in the U.S. and Europe.

Les Violons du Roy Take Regal Sound To Canadian West

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By Bill Rankin

EDMONTON, Alberta – An eight-stop tour by the Quebec chamber orchestra has an early romantic flavor, with an arrangement of Schubert’s String Quartet in D Minor (Death and the Maiden), plus Mendelssohn and Schumann.

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International

Yannick Displays Russian Sound Of Rotterdam In U.S.

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By Rick Schultz

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – In his seventh year leading the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Yannick Nézet-Séguin says Russian music is still in its blood, a gift of his predecessor. After a start in the American west, the U.S. tour heads east.

Lucia di Hyannis Port? Bel Canto Madness Updated

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By Rebecca Schmid

MUNICH – The staging, set in 1950s America, drowned in clichés, but Diana Damrau in the title role fused music and drama into a consistent whole. Every outburst and coloratura line were endowed with convincing expression.

Beyond The Galop, Dancing Horses Sashay To Mozart

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By Rebecca Schmid

SALZBURG – Conductor Mark Minkowski and horseman-impresario Bartabas staged Davide penitente and other late works as equestrian ballet. The sight was mesmerizing at times, but some movements lacked dramatic orientation.

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Issues in the Arts

The Worldly Wag Behind Cherubino, Rosina And Figaro!

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By Susan Brodie

Beaumarchais’ own dashing story rivals the operas he inspired, and John Corigliano has written him into The Ghosts of Versailles, based on the last of the French scribe’s Figaro trilogy. A project at LA Opera prompts a closer look.

Exhaustive Tome On Schubert Songs Is Beguiling, Too

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By Rodney Punt

BOOK REVIEW – Graham Johnson’s definitive survey of Schubert’s lyric art is at one stroke the indispensable reference for singers, pianists, scholars, lovers of music in general, and Schubert fans in particular. It arrives Dec. 16.

5-Day Boot Camp Drills Reality Of Music Criticism

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By Mike Telin

SAN FRANCISCO – One budding writer chosen to train with the pros at the Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism likened the experience to competing in a TV reality show like Top chef, complete with a $10,000 prize.

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Disc and Stream

2 Recordings Pull Composers From History’s Shadow

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By Paul E. Robinson

Clara Schumann’s half-brother Woldemar Bargiel, well-known in his time, is one of two composers whose music has been rescued on recent recordings. The other taught Bernstein, Sessions and Carter as his own music lay silent.

In Recaptured 7th, Echo Of Great One That Got Away

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Dudamel’s recording from Caracas, with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, has many of the qualities that made their Los Angeles performance something to savor, but not the same electrifying intensity.

Stellar DVD Set Offers Cavalcade Of Strauss Operas

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – As part of the 150th Richard Strauss birthday celebrations in 2014, descendants selected seven of his operas captured on video from as early as 1965 for an impressive compilation that would enhance any collection.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

It’s Back to the Future for Electric Keyboards at NAMM

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Last Saturday, on a wind-swept 81-degree winter’s day (ha!), I slipped behind the Orange Curtain to attend …

Figaro! (90210); It’s a Hoot … and it Works.

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Hallelujah! An opera update that works.
I am speaking of a romp called ¡Figaro! (90210), a surprisingly …

La Monnaie Chief Conductor Ludovic Morlot Resigns

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Ludovic Morlot, Chief Conductor of La Monnaie, resigns post midway through a poorly received run of Don Giovanni. Brussels’s loss is Seattle’s gain, but budget cuts make it a difficult time for La Monnaie to scramble for new talent.

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