Robust Americana: Hampson Explores Chicago Art Song

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Baritone Thomas Hampson, a tireless champion of American music, records songs by composers tied to Chicago: Ernst Bacon, Florence Price, John Alden Carpenter, Margaret Bonds, and Louis Campbell-Tipton.

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Endgame As Opera: Wait Finally Ends For Kurtág Work

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By John Rockwell

AMSTERDAM – The musical adaptation of Beckett’s play, begun by György Kurtág in 1990 and repeatedly deferred, got an airing at the Dutch National Opera. A more ideal marriage of text and music could hardly be imagined.

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An Old Champion Of New Music Aims For Revival

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By Daniel Gilliam

LOUISVILLE – A two-weekend Festival of American Music showed the Louisville Orchestra’s willingness, under music director Teddy Abrams, to view its work through a different lens and regain its historic importance.

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Musical Friendship Blossoms In BSO Concerto Premiere

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By Keith Powers

BOSTON – Thomas Adès conducted the world premiere of his challenging first Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and his aggressive interpreter, Kirill Gerstein. It goes next to Carnegie Hall and Leipzig.

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Yuja Wang Unveils Diabolical Adams Piano Concerto

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By Rick Schultz

LOS ANGELES – John Adams composed Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? for Wang, who gave the premiere with the LA Phil under conductor Gustavo Dudamel. From its opening outburst, the score commanded our attention.

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Mapplethorpe: His Passion For Beauty Reflected In Music

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – Like the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, Bryce Dessner’s new Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) for voices and chamber ensemble, is engaged in the beautiful – gorgeous vocal sound for its own sake.

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Star Of Ariodante, Out For Opener, Returns In Style

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – Alice Coote, recovered from flu, delivered Ariodante’s soliloquy “Scherza infida,” Handel’s Hamlet-like masterstroke, to soaring effect in Richard Jones’ staging at Lyric Opera of Chicago, bringing the house down.

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2 Concerts Accent John Cage Factor In Japanese Music

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By Susan Brodie

NEW YORK – Tomomi Adachi’s Why you scratch me, not slap for electric guitar, was fun to watch and hear, a highlight of the Music From Japan festival that examined John Cage’s hold on modern Japanese classical music.

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Around the U.S.

He’s Family Now: Edo De Waart Joins San Diego’s Team

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By Richard S. Ginell

SAN DIEGO – In his first concert as this ambitious orchestra’s principal guest conductor-designate, a globe-traveling maestro brings decades of insight to a troupe soon to be led by 39-year-old Venezuelan Rafael Payare.

Beatrice Rana Makes Compelling Debut In Chicago

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By Kyle MacMillan

CHICAGO – As part of a three-week recital tour that ends March 12 in New York, the Italian pianist delivered a spellbinding afternoon performance that showcased her grace, depth, and sensitivity as an interpreter.

Gilfry Shows How It Must Feel To Not Be Glenn Gould

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – In the West Coast premiere of David Lang’s monodrama the loser, directed by the composer in a former movie palace, the Gould legend was eclipsed by Rod Gilfry’s performance, a personal tour de force.

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Around Canada

Verdi’s Nabucco: Blood, Thunder And Grand Singing

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By Arthur Kaptainis

SARASOTA – Having staged all of Verdi’s 28-odd surviving operas in a cycle that ended in 2016, Sarasota Opera circles back to Nabucco, the young master’s third outing, in a vigorous and straightforward remake of its 1995 production.

Hardy Opera Buffs Cheer Climbers In Harrowing Everest

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By Bill Rankin

CALGARY – About 1,700 Calgarians braved bitter Arctic cold to see Joby Talbot’s 2015 Everest at Calgary Opera. The largely Canadian cast featured bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch as a climber left for dead. The staging originated in Dallas.

Warsaw Winner Seong-Jin Cho Poetic, Virtuosic

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By Arthur Kaptainis

TORONTO – In music by Chopin and Debussy, the 2015 Chopin Competition gold medalist gave an impressive demonstration of pianistic métier while leaving room for reservations regarding his willingness to communicate.

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International

Flute Is Redrawn In Cartoon Images (Strings Attached)

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Papageno and other characters are puppets, Pamina and Tamino cavort in red moon boots, Monostatos is a robot, and the Queen of the Night flies in Yuval Sharon’s comic-book staging of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.

Ultraschall Fest Gives Posthumous Hirsch Premiere

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – In tribute to the late Michael Hirsch, Simone Young led his never-performed 2011 …irgendwie ein Art Erzählung…
(“almost a kind of story”), an episodic chain of thought that opens with an accordion’s ethereal cluster chord.

Violet Snow Shivers With The Chill Of Earth’s Last Throes

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – To the sound of melting glissandi and teeming microtonal strings, survivors walk toward a black sun. In Beat Furrer and Klaus Händl’s apocalyptic new opera, it’s lights out for Earth, and humans drift and stammer.

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Issues in the Arts

Mary Ann Feldman Left Her Mark As Musical Whirlwind

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By Michael Anthony

MINNEAPOLIS –  A gifted writer, Mary Ann turned out erudite and witty program notes for the Minnesota Orchestra for 33 years. She died Feb. 18 at age 85, perhaps the Twin Cities’ most prolific advocate for classical music.

Ensemble Project Sparks Surge Of Creative Energy

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – The recently debuted Grossman Ensemble, a contemporary sinfonietta set up with funding for 15 years, includes thirteen award-winning instrumentalists committed to work with a dozen composers each season.

Amahl Production Connects Artists With Community

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By Susan Brodie

NEW YORK – For On Site Opera’s version at Church of the Holy Apostles, host to Manhattan’s largest soup kitchen, audience members were asked to donate food in lieu of cash. Tickets released online went in 20 minutes.

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Disc and Stream

Violist Makes Bold Solo Venture From Bach To Moderns

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Spanish violist Jesus Rodolfo, 31, has recorded 20th-century works for his chosen instrument by Ligeti and Hindemith, as well as J.S. Bach’s formidably challenging Sonata in C major, originally intended for violin.

A Bouquet Of New Discs From Utah And Pacific Coast

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – Five symphony orchestras in the West released new CDs within weeks of each other. Four of them stuck with Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Saint-Saens, while the Oregon Symphony boldly explored new American music.

Two Major Late Works Continue Rautavaara Survey

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – To honor the late Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s 90th year, Ondine has reissued recordings of his strikingly beautiful Harp Concerto, formidable Eighth Symphony, and several shorter works.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

Monterey Jazz Salutes The Year Of The Woman

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West

MONTEREY, Calif. – The 61st Monterey Jazz Festival Sep. 21-23 was billed as a salute to “The Year Of The Woman” – and they weren’t kidding. Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and alto saxophonist Tia Fuller were designated as the artists-in-residence, singer Dianne Reeves was the 2018 Showcase Artist. The schedule was loaded.

Unreleased Coltrane CDs Stir Up The Jazz World – Again

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Everyone in jazzland seems to be weighing in on the release this week of Both Directions …

Fanciful Turandot Takes The Stage At Lyric Opera Of Chicago

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By Dorothy Andries: Windy City Arts

A China-that-never-was opened on the stage of Lyric Opera of Chicago, complete with a giant eye-popping dragon, which hovered with considerable menace in Puccini’s “Turandot.”

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