Around the U.S.

Early Music Fest, Born On The Bayou, Turns Five

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By William Albright

HOUSTON – The nine-day Houston Early Music Festival focuses this season on Baroque and Renaissance
vocal music in its infinite varieties. But it opened with Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, sans singing and dancing.

N. Carolina SO: Poster Perfect For Kennedy Festival

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By John W. Lambert

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Symphony under Grant Llewellyn showed why such undervalued orchestras merit the spotlight about to shine on them in the nation’s upcoming SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center.

Adès Presides Over Dances Of Death Program In LA

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – Among the pieces in which the admired British composer Thomas Adès led the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall were two of his most recent works in U.S. and West Coast premieres.

Voices Illuminate Dark Landscape In Mahler’s Das Lied

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By Daniel Hathaway

CLEVELAND – Under the baton of Donald Runnicles, the Cleveland Orchestra, mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, and tenor Paul Groves offered an unflinching take on the bittersweet ambivalence of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.

Ah, Venice! Fest At Carnegie Is A Feast Of Entertainments

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By Susan Brodie

NEW YORK – Through Feb. 21, the hall is presenting major artists in “La Serenissima, Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic,” which brings to life the sumptuous and vibrant arts of the flourishing republic.

Tüür Cranking Out Symphonies As 6th Gets U.S. Premiere

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By John Fleming

BRADENTON, Fla. – The Sarasota Orchestra conducted by Anu Tali gave the first American performance of Symphony No. 6 (Strata) by Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür, composer of eight symphonies – No. 9 coming.

New Met Rusalka Reflects Tradition In Surreal Images

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By James L Paulk

NEW YORK – Spooky! Mary Zimmerman’s new production of Dvořák’s Rusalka starring Kristine Opolais at the Met is a twisted hybrid bordering on a parody of convention. If capricious and confusing, it’s also beautiful and intriguing.

At San Diego SO, An American Fest And Maestro Hunt

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By Timothy Mangan

SAN DIEGO – As the orchestra pursued its search for a new music director to succeed Jahja Ling, an ambitious celebration of Americana drew a string of guest conductors, including one seen as an active candidate, James Gaffigan.

SOLI Conjures Animated Vision Of The Magic Flute

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By Mike Greenberg

SAN ANTONIO – The music for the live performance version bears no audible references to Mozart, leaving only an atmospheric backdrop of drones, pulses, and bursts. The sound design is too generically New Agey.

Nixon Returns To Houston As Trump Enters Washington

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By William Albright

HOUSTON — It was pure coincidence that produced the convergence of two controversial American presidents on Jan. 20. John Adams’ Nixon in China reappeared in a 2004 production from St. Louis.

Weill Program Unfolds Amid Political Protests

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By Richard S. Ginell

GLENDALE, Cal. – Jeffrey Kahane and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra couldn’t have known that their “Lift Every Voice” Festival would coincide with the Women’s March happening in Los Angeles and around the world.

Shankar’s ‘Garland Of Ragas’ Blooms In West Coast Bow

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By Rick Schultz

LOS ANGELES – With the LA Phil under Zubin Mehta, Anoushka Shankar played her father’s Sitar Concerto No. 2, more a string of colorful moments than a unified whole. Or does that view just reflect Western conditioning?

SF Symphony Goes Multimedia With ‘Klagende Lied’

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By Richard S. Ginell

SAN FRANCISCO – Michael Tilson Thomas combined the ‘Blumine’ movement from Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with Songs Of A Wayfarer and a semi-staging of Das klagende Lied. It was very clever, instructive programming.

Trio Of 20-minute Operas Premiered In WNO Showcase

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By Charles T. Downey

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington National Opera presented three new brief works in the latest edition of the company’s American Opera Initiative. What Gets Kept featured mezzo-soprano Daryl Freedman and tenor Frederick Ballentine.

In Twin Revivals, Candide Glitters, NYC Opera, Too

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By Susan Elliott

NEW YORK – Just a year out of bankruptcy, the New York City Opera is envisioning “the best of all possible worlds” in ticket demand for its 1982 staging of Bernstein’s gem, tweaked by original director Harold Prince for the intimate Rose Theater.

Mata Hari Makes Lackluster Debut At Prototype Fest

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By George Loomis

NEW YORK – Matt Marks’ opera about the dancer and courtesan who was convicted as a German spy during the First World War, featuring a magnetic performance by Tina Mitchell in the leading role, comes up short dramatically.

Gruber’s Piano Concerto Chatters Away At NY Phil

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By Vivien Schweitzer

NEW YORK – The Austrian composer’s work, featuring Emanuel Ax, sometimes felt like listening to a multitude of opinionated voices competing for attention without one ever rising above the fray long enough to make a point.

Grigolo, Damrau Radiant As Met’s Star-Crossed Duo

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By Susan Elliott

NEW YORK  – Tenor Vittorio Grigolo and soprano Diana Damrau headed a solid cast as the Metropolitan Opera kicked off the new year with Bartlett Sher’s gorgeous production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, first seen at Salzburg in 2008.

Coming Events: Bounty Of Opera, New And Notable

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By Kyle MacMillan

DATE BOOK – The PBS broadcast of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s world premiere production of Bel Canto, by Jimmy López and Nilo Cruz, leads off an ambitious series of premieres and novel opera projects in early 2017.

All-Mahler Recital By An Ideal Duo Is All-Around Beauty

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

NEW YORK – In a concise and yet monumental recital at Alice Tully Hall, baritone Christian Gerhaher and pianist Gerold Huber made a profound journey through Mahler songs about loneliness and life’s consummation in eternity.