By Mike Greenberg
HOUSTON – Is it opera? Is it film? Is it circus? Yes. And the miraculous, acrobatic European production of Richard Wagner’s ‘Das Rheingold,’ in its U.S. debut by Houston Grand Opera is also politically fearless.
By Richard Ginell
LOS ANGELES – As offbeat as things often are around Walt Disney Concert Hall, they got a lot more so as March careened into April. The Minimalist Jukebox – or Minimalist Jukebox 2.0, if you will – was at our throats again.
By Richard Nilsen
COMMENTARY – Pittsburgh-raised Lorin Maazel soaked up the Viennese tradition like a sponge, reflecting the reality that classical music is “classical” because it has been handed down. A score tells us only so much.
By Jeff Dunn
BERKELEY, Calif. – The Kronos Quartet’s world premiere of ‘Beyond Zero: 1914-1918,’ with music of Aleksandra Vrebalov and film by Bill Morrison, featured vintage deteriorated film cels. Do you see the cannon at left?
By Marvin J. Ward
SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – In despair and defiance, voting rights champion Fannie Lou Hamer told 1964 Democratic National Convention leaders: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Mary Watkins’ opera honors Hamer.
By Phlippa Kiraly
SEATTLE – Maximilian Steinberg’s Passion Week, written in the early 1920s and arguably the last major piece of sacred music composed in Russia after the imposition of Communist rule, has been introduced by Cappella Romana.
By Perry Tannenbaum
SAVANNAH – A welcoming and eclectic music festival arrives, like the elite Masters golf upriver, on the cusp of Georgia’s winter and spring. Daniel Hope leads the classical side of things in this unabashedly historic city.
By Mike Greenberg
HOUSTON — The paintings in Rothko Chapel have death in view, but the life in them cannot be denied. The same could be said of Shostakovich’s last string quartets, which the Jerusalem Quartet played in the tranquil meditative space.
By Leslie Kandell
NEW YORK – The American Symphony Orchestra zeroed in on another neglected work at Carnegie Hall, but Max Bruch’s behemoth, with baritone Sidney Outlaw in the title role, revealed the reasons for history’s short shrift.
By Richard Todd
OTTAWA – Pinchas Zukerman has made his mark in this city as music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. But recently the conductor picked up viola and violin to play a recital with pianist Yefim Bronfman.
By David Gordon Duke
VANCOUVER – Two chamber music societies, one favoring the venerable, the other with a penchant for the rising young, joined forces for a quintet-rich Brahms festival featuring the Jerusalem Quartet, pianist Inon Barnatan and friends.
By Colin Eatock
TORONTO – For sheer size and scope of ambition, the second piano concerto of Magnus Lindberg was among several works at the New Creations Festival that invited comparison with the greatest works in the genre.
By Susan Brodie
STRASBOURG – L’Opéra National du Rhin scooped a rarity of the Opéra de Paris 2014-15 season with Le Roi Arthus. But the mixed-era production was cartoonish and the cast struggled with Wagnerian vocal demands.
By Patrick J. Smith
NEW YORK – In a highlight of the New York operatic season, Carnegie Hall’s Vienna: City of Dreams festival gave Wozzeck and Salome in consecutive concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic, Welser-Möst and Nelsons conducting.
By Susan Brodie
MADRID – Brokeback Mountain, a new opera by Charles Wuorinen and Annie Proulx about forbidden love between two ranch hands, echoes Wyoming’s mountain grandeur. But one longs for a character to sing his heart out.
By Kyle MacMillan
CHICAGO – Among life’s minor annoyances are cheesy ringtones, but the Spektral Quartet has just the antidote: Mobile Miniatures. It has recorded more than 60 ringtones, alerts and wake-ups by 46 composers.
By Members of the MCANA
SARASOTA, Fla. – Ten members of the Music Critics Association of North America headed south in March 2014 to cover Sarasota Opera’s latest installment of its ongoing Verdi cycle. We are pleased to provide links to all of these articles here, in one convenient place.
By George Loomis
Reports to the contrary, French soprano Natalie Dessay isn’t yet ready to abandon the opera stage. But she’s branching out by planning a monodrama and giving recitals in North America with pianist Phillippe Cassard.
By Richard S. Ginell
DIGITAL REVIEW – John Adams’ ‘The Gospel According to the Other Mary’ has received an enviably high-powered sendoff, with an international tour and now a dynamic DG recording led by Gustavo Dudamel.
By Richard S. Ginell
DIGITAL REVIEW – Nearly half of Leonard Bernstein’s 53 Young People’s Concerts were released in 1993 to general rapture. Now, after an exhaustive process of locating, remastering and rights obtaining, we have 27 more.
By Richard S. Ginell
DIGITAL REVIEW – Beethoven was 19 when he wrote the Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, which the San Francisco Symphony has recorded live, and you can hear him already ripping through the boundaries of his classical upbringing.
By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
The German electronic band Kraftwerk – which translates into “power station” in English – used to summon …
By Roy C. Dicks: What’s the Score?
“Jérusalem,” Sarasota Opera’s latest entry in its Verdi Cycle, is a satisfying, often thrilling production.
By Roy C. Dicks: What’s the Score?
CD/DVD Reviews: New releases of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Heggie’s Moby-Dick, Britten’s Cello Symphony and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
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CLASSICAL VOICE NORTH AMERICA – LOOK AROUND!
Our critics have sounded off on events or trends around the globe of potential interest to classical music lovers everywhere. As you browse the site, check out John Rockwell’s ruminations about the rudderless Salzburg Festival; John Fleming’s report on the search for music directors at Florida orchestras and Heidi Waleson’s reflections on two operas by living composers: Fun Home and Two Boys.There are also excellent pieces from our alpha and beta test phases, including Wynne Delacoma’s piece on off-beat Chicago venues for classical music and our ongoing Wagner Fest, including Susan Brodie’s “(Mildly) Feminist Look at Wagner’s Ring” and Jeff Dunn’s informative article on “Ring Tunes."
CVNA is writer-run, writer-written, and writer-friendly: There are no "rights grabs" or "work for hire" agreements – we buy first-time rights only and then they revert to the author. The idea for the web journal was first suggested to Donald Rosenberg, my predecessor as MCANA president, by Robert Commanday, former music critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, founder of San Francisco Classical Voice and a past president of MCANA. Project leaders include Nancy Malitz, publisher of Chicago on the Aisle, who has developed websites for Gannett Publications and is a past president of the MCANA; John Lambert, co-founder of CVNC (Classical Voice North Carolina); and Donald Rosenberg, former critic of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and author of The Cleveland Orchestra Story: "Second to None."
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Disc and Stream
The Deutsche Grammophon recording of John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Richard S. Ginell reports, is both a sonic spectacular and a surprisingly intimate meditation that draws you in.
Composer John Adams and conductor Gustavo Dudamel discuss the creation and performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary in a TimesTalk with New York Times music and dance reporter Michael Cooper.
Nearly half of Leonard Bernstein’s 53 Young People’s Concerts were released in 1993 to general rapture. Now, after an exhaustive process of locating, remastering and rights obtaining, we have 27 more. Richard S. Ginell reports.
Beethoven was 19 when he wrote the Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, which the San Francisco Symphony has recorded live. As Richard S. Ginell writes, you can hear him already ripping through the boundaries of his classical upbringing.
Schoenberg twice arranged Verklärte Nacht for orchestra. As Perry Tannenbaum reports, this new account by the Emerson String Quartet and guests is a good argument for leaving the original 1899 sextet alone.
Stories We Like: Recommended by Members
John Luther Adams wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize in music -- By Frank J. Oteri for New Music Box
MacMillan's St. Luke Passion Has Dramatic US Premiere -- By Geoffrey Simon at CVNC
Book Review: Evan Baker's "From the Score to the Stage" -- By Rodney Punt at LA Opus
Cincinnati Opera presents world premiere of ‘Morning Star’ -- By Janelle Gelfand at the Cincinnati Enquirer
Composer Oliver Knussen curates a program at the Library of Congress -- By Anne Midgette at the Washington Post
Uchida plays Schubert and Beethoven at Carnegie Hall -- by James R. Oestreich at the New York Times
Toronto Symphony reveals capacity for metamorphosis -- By Lev Bratishenko at the Montreal Gazette
Mark Stryker: MOT's 'A View From the Bridge' has drama, believability -- By Mark Stryker at the Detroit Free Press
Portland Baroque Orchestra offers the riches of Germany before Bach -- By James McQuillen at the Oregonian
Esa-Pekka Salonen talks on multi-tasking, Northwestern and the CSO -- By John Von Rhein at the Chicago Tribune
Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music grads win at Met Opera competition -- By Janelle Gelfand at Cincinnati.com
S&R Foundation establishes the base of a classical music empire -- By Anne Midgette at the Washington Post
Cleveland Orchestra shines under former director Dohnányi -- By Zachary Lewis at the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Noseda, orchestra and cast make a case for the Met's 'Andrea Chenier' -- By George Grella at New York Classical Review
Arditti Quartet's displays nostalgia for complexity -- By Benjamin Pesetsky at the Boston Musical Intelligencer
Eschenbach's contract with the National Symphony Orchestras is extended through 2016-17 -- By Anne Midgette at the Washington Post
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra names Jeremy Denk as artistic planner -- By Kristin Tillotson at the Star Tribune
Pianist Richard Goode to play ‘kaleidoscopic’ program in Seattle -- By Tom Keogh at the Seattle Times
Yefim Bronfman launches Beethoven series in Boston -- By David Wright at Boston Classical Review
Kevin Mallon appointed interim artistic director of Opera Lyra Ottawa-- By Peter Robb at the Ottawa Citizen
Violinist Daniel Hope to pay tribute to Joachim in Fort Lauderdale -- By David Fleshler at South Florida Classical Review
Taking inspiration from opera visionary Gerard Mortier - By Mark Swed at the Los Angeles Times
Dominic Argento's revised 'Valentino' is a triumph for Minnesota Opera -- By Michael Anthony at the Star Tribune
Classical radio station WQED in Pittsurgh reduces its staff -- By Megan Harris at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Shanghai Quartet plays Bright Sheng and Robert Aldrich -- By Charles T. Downey at the Washington Post
Violinist Lara St. John fixes 'Game of Thrones' theme -- By Jennifer Van Evra at CBC Music
North Carolina based composer-physicist Bill Robinson showcased with new works -- By Chelsea Huber at CVNC
Why don't composers win cash prizes when they need them most? -- By Ivan Hewitt at the Telegraph
Dudamel defends concert in Venezuela on day of protests -- By Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul at the Los Angeles Times