Death In Venice: Cast Is Ripe, But Staging Is Green

Share
By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – In Graham Vick’s new staging of Benjamin
Britten’s final opera, it was hard to reconcile Deutsche Oper Berlin’s high musical standards with a production that seemed to spurn any sense of Apollonian beauty.

Full Story - →

Bittersweet Opera Reflects On Cuba And Gay Struggle

Share
By John Fleming

MIAMI – Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls, which deals in freedoms sexual, political, and artistic, received its second production, by the Florida Grand Opera. The work was inspired by the charismatic gay Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas.

Full Story - →

Lyricism Layered In Words Of Love By Samuel Adams

Share
By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – many words of love, freely inspired by Winterreise, took its bow at the Chicago Symphony under Riccardo Muti and travels east in early 2018. Its imaginative arc suggests the earth breathing or, perhaps, sighing.

Full Story - →

Disney’s World: Perfect American, According To Glass

Share
By Richard S. Ginell

LONG BEACH, Calif. – In what is one of Philip Glass’ most fascinating operas, the story of Walt Disney in The Perfect American is given its U.S. premiere by plucky Long Beach Opera. But don’t expect the Disney family to approve.

Full Story - →

Bolcom’s Dinner: Worst Of Times, But Vibrant Opera

Share
By Michael Anthony

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Opera gave the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight, a calamitous tale of Depression-era America and a circle of the dysfunctional rich, after the play by Kaufman and Ferber.

Full Story - →

Salonen Concerto Loops Cellist Into Cosmic Virtuosity

Share
By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – Esa-Pekka Salonen likens his cadenza-rich Cello Concerto, premiered by Yo-Yo Ma, to a comet with a tail. Now headed to New York, London, and Hamburg, it shimmers with hypnotic counterpoint and digital loops.

Full Story - →

Juilliard Quartet’s Perdurable Mann For All Seasons

Share
By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Robert Mann had it all. Endurance. Discipline. Love of music. He led the Juilliard String Quartet for 51 years and some 6,000 performances. At 96, the violinist looks back on a life that seems almost impossible.

Full Story - →

Oddly Enough, Schafer Non-opera Makes Good Opera

Share
By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Armed with a quasi-Wagnerian ethos, R. Murray Schafer’s massive, twelve-part cycle called Patria dwarfs Wagner’s Ring. Now Soundstreams has fashioned Odditorium from four excerpts, with a part for singing head.

Full Story - →

Around the U.S.

Olmos Ensemble Pays Tribute To Women Composers

Share
By Mike Greenberg

SAN ANTONIO – Drawn from the San Antonio Symphony, the musicians broke an old habit by presenting works by four composers without a spare Y chromosome, too often the price of admission to concert programs.

Auerbach’s Dreams Concerto Holds Up A Personal Mirror

Share
By David J. Baker

NEW YORK – Her fourth violin concerto, Lera Auerbach’s NYx: Fractured Dreams, is named for the Greek goddess of night, with a doff of the uppercase Y to the city that nurtured her. The New York Philharmonic premiered it.

Visiting Viennese Affirm Heritage In Schubert, Strauss

Share
By James L Paulk

NEW YORK – For its annual weekend at Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Philharmonic led by Franz Welser-Möst played works by composers it pretty much owns, including Schubert (Symphony No. 9) and Strauss (Ein Heldenleben).

Browse Archive →

Around Canada

Eloquent Sextet Stretches Bounds Of Vocal Art

Share
By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – The ensemble Nordic Voices presented works by a trio of living Norwegian composers, including Lasse Thoresen (right), plus music by Goffredo Petrassi and György Ligeti. The performances were magisterial.

In Deft Schumann, Pianist Shows His Star Power At 21

Share
By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki has grown into a tall young man. He perches precariously on the edge of the bench and doesn’t quite know what to do with his knees. Fortunately, he knows exactly what to do with his hands.

Estonians Honor Choral Tradition In Toronto Return

Share
By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – As part of its North American tour, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir sang solemn music of Arvo Pärt, Estonia’s most famous composer, and Canadian music by composers of Estonian descent.

Browse Archive →

International

Scartazzini Opera Fails To Shock In Berlin Premiere

Share
By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Deutsche Oper Berlin’s production of Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini’s Edward II has a scandalous veneer in weaving the tale of the doomed 14th century British king and his gay lover. The audience takes it all in stride.

Music From Japan: Sounds Are Novel, Style International

Share
By Susan Brodie

NEW YORK – Yuta Bandoh’s sensuous Seesaw for violin, piano, and spatially-placed string trio had its world premiere among works by seven others in a weekend devoted to new directions in Japanese contemporary music.

New Light On Nazi Rule In Orchestras Of Vienna, Berlin

Share
By Paul E. Robinson

BOOK REVIEW – The Political Orchestra by Fritz Trümpi provides important new information and a broader context for understanding how the two greatest orchestras in the German-speaking world were affected by politics.

Browse Archive →

Issues in the Arts

New Light On Nazi Rule In Orchestras Of Vienna, Berlin

Share
By Paul E. Robinson

BOOK REVIEW – The Political Orchestra by Fritz Trümpi provides important new information and a broader context for understanding how the two greatest orchestras in the German-speaking world were affected by politics.

Hear, Hear! New Halls Diverge In Acoustic Designs

Share
By Nancy Malitz

When it comes to concert hall acoustics, controlled comparisons are difficult, but the temptation was irresistible on a Chicago Symphony tour of new halls in Paris, Hamburg and Aalborg, Denmark, followed by two old gems.

Critics, Gathered In Charleston, Honor A Leader

Share
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.

Browse Archive →

Disc and Stream

‘Song-Cycle’ Opera Cuts To Core Of Human Trafficking

Share
By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Cuatro Corridos, now on CD, is a disturbing 2013 monodrama starring Susan Narucki about sexual trafficking on the California/Mexico border with music by four composers, two Mexican and two American.

Power Of Music Transmutes Cruelty To Hope

Share
By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Conspirare artistic director Craig Hella Johnson’s
Considering Matthew Shepard is a masterpiece, the essence of which will still speak to us,
especially at times of loss and suffering, for years to come.

Novel Keyboards In Goldberg Feats Accent Variation

Share
By Arthur Kaptainis

DIGITAL REVIEW – Angela Hewitt has recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations using her own Fazioli piano, and Mahan Esfahani has employed a Huw Saunders harpsichord based on a Thuringian model of c. 1710, tuned with sharp keys in mind.

Browse Archive →

MCANA Hosted Blogs

John Adams on Record – Part Two

Share

By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Here is Part Two of my updated, expanded, 70th birthday discographical survey of John Adams’s music, …

John Adams On Record – Part One

Share

By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
 
My most vivid memory of John Adams was way back near the beginning of his career, …

Susan Brodie - Toi Toi Toi

A Paris Opera 2017-18 Season to Enchant

Share

By Susan Brodie: Toi Toi Toi!
“Laissez-vous porter”–let yourself be carried away–is the motto of the Paris Opera’s 2017-18 season, and the upcoming program provides …

Browse Archive →