International

Music From Japan: Sounds Are Novel, Style International

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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.

Rattle, Berlin Phil Explore Drama In Symphonic Music

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Under the baton of Simon Rattle, the Berlin Philharmonic brings out the theatrical dimension of works by Rihm, Ligeti and Mahler. The Rihm premiere Gruß-Moment 2 was composed in remembrance of Pierre Boulez.

Visual Magic Hits, Misses In Ravel, Stravinsky Bill

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – In Komische Oper’s staging of Petrushka and
L’Enfant et les sortilèges, animated visuals by British studio 1927 immersed viewers in an alternative universe, but human performances proved a stronger attraction.

Passionate Duet: Mascagni Paired With Hindemith

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By Susan Brodie

PARIS – Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, featuring Elīna Garanča singing her first Santuzza, and Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna share a Paris Opera bill that makes for an evening of fierce drama and satisfying music making.

Venerable Suntory Marks 30 Years As Tokyo’s Heartbeat

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By Robert Markow

TOKYO – The sound is full and warm, and the architecture combines grandeur with restfulness, intimacy with spaciousness. These qualities were in evidence during performances by the Vienna Philharmonic in early October.

Political Terror Spans Time, Place In Redrawn Operas

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By James L Paulk

BUENOS AIRES – Teatro Colón paired Luigi Dallapiccola’s finest opera, Il prigioniero (The Prisoner), with his first, Volo di notte (Night Flight), in a staggering tour de force that alluded to Argentina’s “Dirty War” of the ’70s and ’80s.

Rihm’s Tutuguri Leaves Percussive Tattoo On Festival

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – With his sprawling Tutuguri (1980-82), Wolfgang Rihm set out to liberate music, transforming it into a stream “subject only to its own urges.” Daniel Harding led a consummate performance to open Musikfest Berlin.

Heart Of Parsifal Beats Clearly In Bayreuth Staging

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By James L. Paulk

BAYREUTH – Uwe Eric Laufenberg’s new production of Wagner’s Parsifal represents a startling turn from the recent festival practice of filling the stage with multiple complex references, and the result is psychologically satisfying.

Women Flourish With Baton At Lucerne Festival

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By Rebecca Schmid

LUCERNE – In a showcase that challenged an orchestral culture weighed down by its own conservatism, the 2016 festival featured a special event in which Anu Tali and four other women conductors led personally selected fare.

Destined For Met, Eerie Angel Bows At Salzburg Fest

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By Rebecca Schmid

SALZBURG – Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel, inspired by Buñuel’s surreal dinner party film, largely lived up to high expectations. Tom Cairns’ gripping production heads next to London, New York and Copenhagen.

Bloody Whispers, Ripped From The Headlines Of 1590

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Salvatore Sciarrino’s Luci mie traditrici, inspired by Gesualdo’s crime, creates a realm where human emotion is stripped down to elemental vibrations. The Staatsoper staging is memorable for its committed performances.

Hungary Affords Worthy Option To Bayreuth’s Ring

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By James L Paulk

BUDAPEST – The appeal of this semi-staged Ring to Wagner enthusiasts is a story of magic, pluck, and luck, but also one of artistic success at a high level. The star is Ádám Fischer, who rivals the greatest Wagnerian conductors.

Incantesimi Plays With Spells, But Magic Is Missing

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Julian Anderson’s Incantesimi, or magic spells, introduced by Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic,
shows Mahlerian foreboding at moments but never quite casts its own spell, despite an obviously caring performance.

The Tragic Visage Of Lachenmann’s Little Match Girl

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By Johanna Keller

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Spoleto Festival USA presented the American premiere of Helmut Lachenmann’s stark, abstract opera, with John Kennedy conducting large forces in a complex score heightened by Dickensian shadow puppets.

Dreamy Juliette Weaves A Spell In Berlin Debut

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – The Staatsoper im Schiller Theater Berlin’s first production of Bohuslav Martinů’s surrealistic work should give opera houses around the world an incentive to invest resources in this 20th-century masterpiece.

Coming Events: Festival Bounty Awaits In France

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By Susan Brodie

DATE BOOK – Perplexities are seldom more pleasant than what these summer fests propose: Stay in Paris for the likes of Raphaël Pichon’s Ensemble Pygmalion at Festival de Saint-Denis? Or head for splendor out of town?

Eclectic Fest By The Neckar, From Brahms To Jazz

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By Rodney Punt

HEIDELBERG, Germany – The 20th Heidelberg Spring tended to its Romantic-era roots with Brahms and Schumann, but also reflected the city’s
innovative present with pop and avant-garde events, and Thomas Quasthoff sang jazz.

Fresh From 1709, Steffani’s Amor Bows As If Anew

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Agostino Steffani’s international style was a model for Handel and Telemann. His renaissance seems belated, but it came at last with Amor vien dal destino at Staatsoper Berlin, the first time in more than 300 years.

Bavarian Radio SO Opens Tour With Korngold, Mahler

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By Charles T. Downey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Led by Mariss Jansons on a six-city North American tour, the Bavarians paired a specialty, Mahler’s epic Fifth Symphony, with a touch of swashbuckling Hollywood glamour by way of Korngold’s Violin Concerto.

Historical Context Sharpens Focus On Music From Japan

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By Ken Smith

NEW YORK – Japanese music from the past 15 years, as curated by musicologist Yuji Numano, gave the impression of a new shared movement in the context of a continuum, almost a conversation among the composers themselves.