Around the U.S.

Old Is New Again In Cincinnati’s Reborn Music Hall

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By Janelle Gelfand

CINCINNATI – A $143 million renovation of the National Historic Landmark pushed the orchestra forward, narrowed the room, and cut 1,000 seats. In the Cincinnati Symphony’s homecoming, the acoustics were still a work in progress.

Aucoin’s Crossing Captures Whitman In Civil Love, War

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By James L. Paulk

NEW YORK – Matthew Aucoin’s opera Crossing, inspired by Walt Whitman’s Civil War accounts of caring for wounded Union soldiers, has come to Brooklyn’s Next Wave Festival. Baritone Rod Gilfry’s Whitman is a coup.

Biss’ Beethoven Project A Hit At Jacksonville SO

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By Esteban Meneses

JACKSONVILLE  – Composer Timo Andres, right, created The Blind Banister for pianist Jonathan Biss to pair with Beethoven’s Concerto No. 2, part of a novel Beethoven/5 project which a Florida maestro has helped to nurture.

Young Composer’s Lighted Things To Shine On The Road

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By Nancy Malitz

CHICAGO – In the 1980s, Riccardo Muti was in his 40s and led new works by elders. Now 76, he helps composers nearly half a century younger, such as Elizabeth Ogonek, 28, whose newest work he premiered and will soon tour.

Opera Finds Devil Feeling The Heat, Looking To Chill

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By Keith Powers

BOSTON – In a fanciful imagining of an unpublished final chapter of Revelations, where Lucifer and Hades make another attempt to infiltrate heaven and turn off the power, Julian Wachner’s REV. 23 paints the Devil’s frustrations.

Van Zweden Gives Taste Of Things To Come At NY Phil

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By Susan Brodie

NEW YORK – The New York Philharmonic opened its season with two big works, one new, one old. It was a chance for a full house to assess the man entrusted with the Phil’s near future, music director designate Jaap van Zweden.

New Norma Surges With Star Power, But Lighting’s Dim

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By James L. Paulk

NEW YORK – Met soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, perhaps opera’s reigning diva, stars in a new production of Norma by David McVicar. It’s the most old-fashioned new staging at the Met in years, and it could have used a few more watts.

Lyric And Joffrey Team On Elegant Orphée et Eurydice

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

CHICAGO – The Lyric Opera of Chicago opened its 2017-18 season with Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice in a staging by director-choreographer-designer John Neumeier that features a profusion of poetic dance by the Joffrey Ballet.

Pittsburgh, Honeck Start 10th Season With A Premiere

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By Mark Kanny

PITTSBURGH – Boris Pigovat’s new work, . . . therefore choose life . . . , a commission by the Pittsburgh Symphony and music director Manfred Honeck that had its premiere Sept. 22, aims to express the transcendent goodness of life.

Scarlet Professor Recalls Gay ‘Smut’ Target As Opera

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By Marvin Ward

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – An episode in the life of Smith College literary scholar Newton Arvin, forced out for possessing photos deemed pornographic in 1960, but later exonerated, comes to the lyric stage starring William Hite.

Serene, Visceral Hillborg Concerto Ends All Too Soon

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By Michael Anthony

MINNEAPOLIS – In its American premiere, Anders Hillborg’s Violin Concerto No. 2, played by James Ehnes and the Minnesota Orchestra, alternated lusty, rock-influenced passages with moments suggesting eternity.

S.F. Opera Elektra Shocks, Provokes, And Overwhelms

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By Janos Gereben

SAN FRANCISCO – After the breathtaking intensity that filled the opening night of Strauss’s masterpiece at the War Memorial Opera House, the audience exploded in a standing ovation, a mix of relief and admiration.

Puccini’s Western Finds Comfy Home At City Opera

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By Anne E. Johnson

NEW YORK – With its production of La fanciulla del West, New York City Opera has struck gold. The next opera on a similar subject, John Adams’ and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West, debuts in San Francisco in November.

Musical Marathon: Intrepid Piano Duo Distills Mahler Six

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By Wynne Delacoma

CHICAGO – For the Ravinia Festival chamber music series, Inna Faliks and Daniel Schlosberg reflected the complexity of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony in a transcription for piano, four hands, by Alexander Zemlinsky.

Edgy New Concerto Challenges ‘Safety’ Of Hollywood Bowl

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – Daníel Bjarnason’s strange new Violin Concerto performed by Finnish maverick Pekka Kuusisto is not what you would call normal Hollywood Bowl fare. Credit Gustavo Dudamel for spending goodwill capital on a wild ride.

Tanglewood Fest Aims Wide Lens At Modern Music

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By Keith Powers

LENOX, Mass. – As curated by Jacob Greenberg, Nadia Sirota, and Kathryn Bates, the 2017 Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood drew on composers from their 30-something generation and works from the 20th century.

It’s Die Winterreise, But Reimagined And (Up)Staged

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By Susan Brodie

NEW YORK – Mostly Mozart reached into Schubert with the US. premiere of Hans Zendler’s extravagantly orchestrated version, staged by Netia Jones for tenor Ian Bostridge. The sensory onslaught distracted from the emotional core.

As New Director, Măcelaru Brings Flair To Cabrillo

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By Richard S. Ginell

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – For his first season as music director of the incorrigibly progressive Cabrillo Festival, Cristian Măcelaru is leading a flurry of premieres, including a made-to-order tour de force for percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Postmodern Alcina In Baroque Style – And Gender Melee

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By Rodney Punt

SANTA FE, N.M. – While David Alden’s setting of Handel’s opera in a tawdry movie theater was fraught with gender ambiguities, conductor Harry Bicket kept the music smartly attuned to the period at the Santa Fe Opera.

Flourish Of Music Writ Small, Under Banner Of Variety

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

SANTA FE, N.M. – The wizardly guitarist Łukasz Kuropaczewski offered solo works, and a star ensemble played a Mozart string quintet, exemplifying the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival’s penchant for marvelous mixes.