Lucerne Festival Embraces Beloved And Newest Fare

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By Rebecca Schmid

LUCERNE – Works by Jürg Wyttenbach rubbed shoulders with music by Schubert, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and others during this year’s Lucerne Festival, which also celebrated Lucerne favorite Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday.

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A Whispering Climax To Grant Park’s Summer

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By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO – Edward Elgar’s biblical oratorio The Kingdom might be more reflective than dramatic, but it works on its own terms. Conductor Carlos Kalmar burrowed into its
emotional core and shaped a refined interpretation.

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‘Dream’ Revisits Nightmare Of Japanese in U.S.

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By Jason Victor Serinus

SEATTLE – For its world premiere of the Jack Perla-Jessica Murphy Moo one-act opera An American Dream, about the “internment” of Japanese Americans in World War II, the Seattle Opera created a patron immersion.

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To Gild A Classic: Pete Townshend Goes Symphonic

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – With his 70th birthday approaching in May and the idea of “legacy” in mind, The Who’s Pete Townshend decided to have Quadrophenia, his second full-length rock opera, adapted as a classical work with orchestra.

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New Higdon Opera Taps Into Personal Cost Of Civil War

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By Paul Hertelendy

SANTA FE, N.M. – In the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at the Santa Fe Opera, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and baritone Nathan Gunn portray two ordinary Southerners whose lives are upended by the raging conflict.

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Spirit Of Protest Spun From Blues And Avant-garde

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By Rebecca Schmid

SALZBURG – Composer Olga Neuwirth honors “those who have dared to voice criticism” in Eleanor Suite, a chamber work with a role for a singer much like Billie Holiday. Martin Luther King’s words also figure in the loose collage.

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Artful Hayes Bio Defines Complex And Great Singer

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BOOK REVIEW — For those of us who mistakenly believe the history of African-American singers of opera and art song began with Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, Roland Hayes: The Legacy of an American Tenor is a revelation.

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Around the U.S.

On Teddy’s Hill: New Breezes Stir The Britt Festival

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By Richard S. Ginell

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – In his second season as music
director, multitalented Teddy Abrams has brought bold,
inventive programming to a festival that, for decades, had registered barely a blip on the cultural radar.

Quixotic Quixotes, Or The Don Done Twice In One Day

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By Marc Shulgold

CENTRAL CITY – Uphill from Denver, the marvelous baritone Robert Orth brought depth to Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha while a youthful cast aced Boismortier’s madcap French Baroque take on the Cervantes hero.

Revisiting Exotic Sound World Of Maverick Partch

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By Susan Elliott

NEW YORK – To mount Delusion of the Fury, Heiner Goebbels and Ensemble Musikfabrik had Harry Partch’s original musical instruments recreated. They are a wonder. Lincoln Center Festival hosted the production’s U.S. debut.

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Around Canada

Bartók Marathon All In Day’s Work For Borromeo

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – The Borromeo Quartet has been presenting complete Bartók cycles for more than a decade, and their
ingrained knowledge was apparent in a polished and exhilarating marathon event at Toronto Summer Music.

Brass Group Sets Spark To Ottawa Chamber Festival

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By Charles Pope, Jr.

OTTAWA, Ontario – High-decibel intensity marked the onset of Chamberfest, an annual two-week event that’s getting bigger and better. The Canadian National Brass Project launched it with classic fanfares and a world premiere.

Sigiswald Kuijken Shoulders J.S. Bach On Cello Outrider

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By Alan Conter

MONTREAL – An odd new-old instrument, the violoncello da spalla, made its Canadian debut at the 13th Montreal Baroque Festival, where an affinity between Vivaldi and little-known eastern European gypsy music was also explored.

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International

Ring At Bayreuth: Video Cameras, Crocodiles And Oil

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By Jens F. Laurson

BAYREUTH – Much like Shakespeare, Wagner’s work prefigures psychoanalysis and cries out for brainy handling. For Frank Castorf’s no longer booed production of the Ring cycle, “Regietheater” is absolutely the mot juste.

Early Music Group Gives Tobias Hume A Tenuous Charm

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By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – Composer Tobias Hume (1580-1645) was a mercenary soldier with a passion for the viol. Montréal-based Les Voix Humaines devoted an evening to his novel output at the summer Early Music Festival.

Dancers Sing And Singers Dance In Sasha Waltz Orfeo

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – In what she last summer declared would be the final opera produced by her company, the choreographer Sasha Waltz has fulfilled a long-time dream by giving Monteverdi’s Orfeo a danced staging at the Staatsoper.

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Issues in the Arts

Chicago’s Lyric Casts Opera Lure Via Social Media

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – If you want to share your excitement about opera with your college-age nephew or your grandchild, how do you go about it? Do you send a letter? Leave a voicemail? Take your cue from Lyric Opera. Try social media.

WFMT’s American Salute Seeks Out Neglected Masters

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By Wynne Delacoma

There’s a lost generation or three at the heart of 20th-century American classical music, and that loss feels grievous as July 4, 2015, rolls around. With help from Leonard Slatkin, WFMT radio promotes some slighted oldies.

European Jewish Culture Preserved In Song Collection

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By Gail Wein

The Stonehill Jewish Song Collection — over a thousand songs on 39 hours of recordings — provides a reminder of a once-stable life in the old country. Dr. Miriam Isaacs has spent three years working on the project.

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Disc and Stream

But What What Does It It It It All Mean Mean Mean?

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Without a clear understanding of how these four pieces relate to each other, the listener is apt to find this CD difficult to appreciate, except on a purely emotional level. Perhaps that is what
Gidon Kremer intended.

Re-issue Of Solti Ring Affirms It’s Still Benchmark

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW  – It has been 51 years since the completion of the first-ever recording of Wagner’s Ring, produced for Decca by John Culshaw and led by Georg Solti, an achievement that offers a “theater of the mind.”

Fine Compendium Revives Forgotten Orchestral Gems

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By Robert Moon

DIGITAL REVIEW – Marking the centennial of American composer Irving Fine’s birth, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project CD of all his orchestral works includes one of America’s best symphonies and a Brandeis U fight song.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

Peter Schickele and the Armadillo Quartet – 25 Years Together

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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 …

Pierre Boulez on his 90th Birthday – A Personal Memoir

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
On Pierre Boulez’s 90th birthday, I’d like to share a few memories of watching this once-controversial, …

Richard S. Ginell - From Out of the The West

What do Pharrell Williams and Anton Bruckner Have In Common?

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Some rants about the verdict that a misguided jury slapped upon Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams …

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