Wozzeck, Chamber Scaled, Still Packs Its Violent Punch

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By Rebecca Schmid

VIENNA – In Robert Carsen’s new staging of Berg’s opera starring Florian Boesch and Lise Lindstrom at the Theater an der Wien, themes of war-induced alienation and decay took on added resonance given today’s global instability.

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Kaufmann Excels In Problematic Paris Don Carlos

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By Susan Brodie

PARIS – Although director Krzysztof Warlikowski was booed, his staging of Verdi’s five-act version included stellar performances by tenor Jonas Kaufmann, soprano Sonya Yoncheva, and mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča.

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Monteverdi 450: Superlative Music, Gripping Theater

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By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO – Conductor John Eliot Gardiner brought semi-staged productions of the three surviving Monteverdi operas to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in a fitting celebration of the composer’s 450th anniversary.

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Up On The Roof, An Old Venue Gets New Look, Sound

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By Joe Banno

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a 16-month renovation, the Kennedy Center’s rooftop-level Terrace Theater has reopened with a new architectural and acoustical plan. For chamber music, at least, the sound has improved.

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West Side Story: Semi-Staged But Filled With Spirit

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By John W. Lambert

PHILADELPHIA – Yannick Nézet-Séguin set new standards of excellence with the Philadelphia Orchestra as their year-long tribute to Leonard Bernstein continued during the 60th anniversary of the celebrated stage work.

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Coming Events: Bernstein At 100, Feted Everywhere

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By Kyle MacMillan

DATE BOOK – From a flashback to the golden era of Young People’s Concerts to revivals of iconic stage works and little-known gems, the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth is being celebrated from coast to coast.

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Around the U.S.

Old Is New Again In Cincinnati’s Reborn Music Hall

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By Janelle Gelfand

CINCINNATI – A $143 million renovation of the National Historic Landmark pushed the orchestra forward, narrowed the room, and cut 1,000 seats. In the Cincinnati Symphony’s homecoming, the acoustics were still a work in progress.

Aucoin’s Crossing Captures Whitman In Civil Love, War

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By James L. Paulk

NEW YORK – Matthew Aucoin’s opera Crossing, inspired by Walt Whitman’s Civil War accounts of caring for wounded Union soldiers, has come to Brooklyn’s Next Wave Festival. Baritone Rod Gilfry’s Whitman is a coup.

Biss’ Beethoven Project A Hit At Jacksonville SO

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By Esteban Meneses

JACKSONVILLE  – Composer Timo Andres, right, created The Blind Banister for pianist Jonathan Biss to pair with Beethoven’s Concerto No. 2, part of a novel Beethoven/5 project which a Florida maestro has helped to nurture.

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Around Canada

Premiere, Sibelius Point Up Canada’s Twin Celebrations

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By Richard Todd

OTTAWA – Pianist Angela Hewitt was the soloist for the premiere of Nameless Seas by Matthew Whittall on a concert with Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 that honored both the National Arts Centre’s 50th year and the 150th for Canada.

Conductor’s Debut Makes Statement With Daring Music

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By Bill Rankin

EDMONTON – Alexander Prior launched his tenure as chief conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra with a late-night program of contemporary works new to the orchestra, Xenakis’ Jalons and Adams’ Harmonielehre.

A String Quartet Competition Spawns A Festival

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By Bill Rankin

BANFF, Alberta – Three laureates of the Banff International String Quartet Competition, including 2016 winner the Rolston String Quartet, anchored the inaugural festival over the Labor Day weekend.

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International

Past As Prologue: Tempest Revisited In Caustic Sequel

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By Matthew Gurewitsch

PARIS – Katie Mitchell’s staging of Miranda at the Opéra-Comique is billed as a “semi-opera after Shakespeare and Purcell.” It features the return of Prospero’s daughter from exile and glorious Baroque instrumentation.

Flower Of Hawaii, In Revival, Shows Bloom Is Off Lei

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By Matthew Gurewitsch

BASEL – The 1931 opera, composed by Paul Abraham to a cliche-steeped libretto by a committee of three, bollixes Hawaiian matters historical and geographical, but the grass skirts get some laughs in this new staging at Theater Basel.

Swirling Episodes Of Sound Probing New Sonics? Yes!

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Experimental dramaturgy reigned in a Musikfest concert that opened with a Rebecca Saunders world premiere inspired by Molly Bloom’s monologue in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Did Yes justify its 75-minute length? No.

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Issues in the Arts

Toscanini Redux: From New Sources A Fresh Biography

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By Paul E. Robinson

BOOK REVIEW – A staggering number of recently discovered letters and recordings, studied by expert Toscanini biographer Harvey Sachs, allow important new facets of the conductor’s private and public life to emerge from the shadows.

Weill Fest Explores Music’s Advocate For Social Progress

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By Rebecca Schmid

BREVARD, N.C. – Perhaps only in the current age of stylistic pluralism may it be possible to reconcile Kurt Weill’s German and American phases. In a mix of scholarly talks and performances, the Brevard Festival takes a stab.

New Opera Award Goes To Mazzoli, Vavrek For Waves

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By John Fleming

Breaking the Waves, with music by Missy Mazzoli (right) and libretto by Royce Vavrek, is the first winner of the Music Critics Association of North America’s Best New Opera Award. The presentation will be made July 19 in Santa Fe.

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Disc and Stream

Novák’s Godiva Rides Lusciously On New Buffalo CD

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Everyone knows the story of Lady Godiva riding naked through the center of a town. But what composer would want to write music about that? Vítězslav Novák (1870-1949) did — and did an impressive job of it.

Minnesota Mahler Fifth: Transparent But All Too Cool

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – The Minnesota Orchestra and music director Osmo Vänskä bring fine playing to the Fifth Symphony, and the BIS production is an audiophile’s delight. What’s lacking is Mahler’s sense of drama.

A Complete(r) View Of Bernstein For Solo Piano

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Pianist Andrew Cooperstock’s valuable collection is the first that indeed seems to be genuinely complete. His performances are, for the most part, gentler and softer in focus than most renditions.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

More on the 60th Monterey Jazz Festival

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
 
MONTEREY, Calif: The stresses of the bebop life took so many valuable lives prematurely, but Jimmy …

Monterey Jazz Festival celebrates its 60th edition

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
 
MONTEREY, Calif.: Defying the odds, even in a field as precarious as jazz, the Monterey Jazz …

Three Jazz Veterans Score on CD

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
For every widely-celebrated jazz musician, there may be hundreds of often equally-gifted players who never received …

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