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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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 …
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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Welcome to Classical Voice North America (CVNA), an online journal of classical music criticism and commentary written by the expert members of the Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA), with occasional guest contributors. We aim to convey the richness of musical life in the U.S. and Canada at a time when traditional print media is shrinking, and to bring classical music to life via digital images, audio samples, video and more. Full Story →
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Stories We Like: Recommended by Members
Exploratory 'First Take' presents six operas in progress -- By Mark Swed at the L.A. Times
Memorable work from Jacobs, Bronfman and the Cleveland Orchestra -- By Daniel Hathaway at ClevelandClassical
LPO returns to Orpheum Theater and sets a 'Resurrection' season for 2015-2016 -- By Chris Waddington at NOLA.com
Alan Gilbert to leave the New York Philharmonic in 2017 -- By Michael Cooper at the New York Times
Edmonton Symphony shines under conductor Bill Eddins -- By Mark Morris at the Edmonton Journal
Grammys 2015: 'City Noir,' L.A.'s Partch take home awards -- By Saba Hamedy at the L.A. Times
America's orchestras grapple with lack of diversity -- By Brian Wise and Naomi Lewin at WQXR
Winnipeg puts New York, California to shame with new music festival -- By Teghan Beaudette at CBC News
Yannick Nézet-Séguin signs with Philadelphia Orchestra through 2022 -- By Peter Dobrin at the Philadelphia Inquirer
Dallas Opera hits a double with 'La Wally' and 'Everest' -- By David Weuste at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Mason Bates named composer-in-residence at the Kennedy Center -- By Jaime Prisco at Classicalite
Mozart’s Don Giovanni falls hard under COC’s heavy hand and curtain -- By Arthur Kaptainis at the National Post
Kent Nagano and Toronto's Tafelmusik deliver Beethoven at his best -- By Michael Vincent at the Toronto Star
Opera conductor Karen Keltner broke the gender barrier -- By John Patrick Ford at the San Diego Source
L.A. Opera tackles immigration with `Figaro 90210`-- By Josie Huang at Southern California Public Radio
National Symphony Orchestra hits the clubs, and scores -- By Anne Midgette at the Washington Post
New York's Prototype Festival offers a mix of opera and theater -- By Heidi Waleson at the Wall Street Journal
Carlos Kalmar nails American music plan for Grant Park Music Festival -- by Nancy Malitz at Chicago On the Aisle
Then and now, L.A. women get things done in classical music -- By Mark Swed at the Los Angeles Times
Lyric chief Anthony Freud plots new directions for Chicago opera -- By Mike Silverman at U.S. News
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein goes beyond Bach at the Met -- By James R. Oestreich at the New York Times
Excellent biography of composer Claude Vivier is long overdue -- By Arthur Kaptainis at the Montreal Gazette
Edmonton composers Alissa Cheung and Vivian Fung finding success on bigger stages -- By Mark Morris at the Edmonton Journal
Vocal Arts Ensemble Tells Compelling Christmas Story -- By Mary Ellyn Hutton at Music in Cincinnati
Orchestra London Canada's musicians sound alarm on leadership -- By Patrick Maloney at the London Free Press
New Orchestra of Washington embraces smaller-is-better movement -- By Joan Reinthaler at the Washington Post
Cleveland Orchestra is making money and beautiful music -- By the Editorial Board at the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Board chair gives Curtis Institute of Music $11.5 million -- By Peter Dobrin at the Philadelphia Inquirer
Ten pieces by living Canadian composers that you will love -- By Matthew Parsons at CBC Music
In With the New: It’s time we took more risk in new music programming -- By Barbara Jepson at the Wall Street Journal
Bid for New York City Opera's assets wins board support -- By Michael Cooper at the New York Times
Yuja Wang and Daniil Trifonov are Wunderkinds at work -- By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim at the New York Times
Laser light show goes highbrow at Walt Disney Concert Hall -- By Shaunacy Ferro at Fast Company
Noseda, Teatro Regio hit the mark with a thrill-packed 'William Tell' -- By John von Rhein at the Chicago Tribune
Dallas Symphony conductor Jaap van Zweden plays tough -- By Michael Granberrry at the Dallas News
Boston Symphony's Andris Nelsons: maestro of emotionality -- By Christopher Lydon at Radio Open Source (audio interview)
Finally, a Max Reger moment at the L.A. Philharmonic -- By Mark Swed at the L.A. Times
Alasdair Neal returns to New World Symphony for thrilling Dvořák -- By Lawrence Budmen at South Florida Classical Review
Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra launches in Los Angeles -- Rodney Punt at Huffington Post
The shape of opera to come: 'The Fool' at issue project room -- By John Chiaverina at ArtNews
Atlanta Symphony returns to applause and criticism -- By Mark Gresham at ArtsATL.com
LA Opera's double-bill of Bluebeard's Castle and Dido and Aeneas frustrates -- By Timothy Mangan at the Orange County Register
Atlanta Symphony musicians agree to a four-year contract -- By Howard Pousner at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Pianist asks the Washington Post to remove concert review -- By Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post
Vienna Aisle: Inside reeling mind of Tannhäuser via a bold psychological thriller at the Staatsoper -- By Lawrence B. Johnson at Chicago On the Aisle
Dido & Aeneas , Bluebeard’s Castle in a Duo at LA Opera -- By Rodney Punt at LA Opus
Why failing orchestras are the problem of every American -- By David Donnelly at the Huffington Post
Four New Yorkers offer different perspectives on 'Klingoffer' -- By Moustafa Bayoumi, Kayla Epstein, Alan Yuhas and Eli Valley at the Guardian
Newly created Pennsylvania Philharmonic launches season -- By David Patrick Stearns at the Philadelphia Inquirer
Has veneration of Beethoven stifled his successors? -- By Alex Ross at the New Yorker
United focus, local talent, help Utah Opera find success -- By Whitney Butters at the Deseret News
Boston's Handel and Haydn Society celebrates 200 years -- By Andrea Shea at the Artery (WBUR)
Does classical music sound better when you're high? -- By Chris Walker at OC Weekly
Stop sanitizing, and show the great works as they were created -- By Philip Kennicott at the Washington Post
Protesters disrupt St. Louis Symphony with song for Michael Brown -- By Ed Mazza at the Huffington Post
Gustavo Dudamel leads Mahler's Fifth in Los Angeles -- By Mark Swed at the Los Angeles Times
Dark, funny, musically vibrant ‘Don Giovanni’ raises the curtain on new Lyric Opera season -- By Lawrence B. Johnson at Chicago On the Aisle
Toronto's $32-million Integral House was built for music -- By Robert Everett-Green at the Globe and Mail
Alan Gilbert nears completion of his Carl Nielsen cycle with the New York Philharmonic -- By Anthony Tommasini at the New York Times
Robert Spano and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed urge ASO and musicians to resolve conflict -- By Jenny Jarvie at ArtsATL