Around the U.S.

Coming Events: Western Festivals Light Up The Sky

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By Kyle MacMillan

DATE BOOK – The hotter months invite you to plug into a new opera about Steve Jobs, enjoy outdoor concerts at ski-country heights, and cruise the Colorado River with concerts at bankside. Here’s a look at mountain area highlights.

Cincinnati Opera Paints Frida In Vibrant Colors

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By Janelle Gelfand

CINCINNATI – Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s 1991 opera offers an unflinching view of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s torments and passions. The piece alternates in the summer festival with works by Puccini, Mozart, and Missy Mazzoli.

Requiem Of Fright Resolved Into Joy By Seattle Forces

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By Jason Victor Serinus

SEATTLE  – Closing the Symphony’s season, music director Ludovic Morlot paired Ligeti’s Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, turning T.S. Eliot’s quote that the world ends “not with a bang but a whimper” on its head.

Glass’ The Trial Sweeps Kafka Into A Slapstick World

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By Chuck Lavazzi

ST. LOUIS – Despite an appealingly quirky score, the opera by Philip Glass and librettist Christopher Hampton felt like a bloodless intellectual exercise; pervasive cartoonish mugging at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis didn’t help.

Peasant Woman’s Courage Inspires Hypnotic Opera

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – LA Opera Off Grand performed Kamala Sankaram’s Thumbprint, about a young gang-rape victim who summons the strength to report the crime, in the presence of the work’s subject, Pakistani activist Mukhtar Mai.

New Opera Award Goes To Mazzoli, Vavrek For Waves

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By John Fleming

Breaking the Waves, with music by Missy Mazzoli (right) and libretto by Royce Vavrek, is the first winner of the Music Critics Association of North America’s Best New Opera Award. The presentation will be made July 19 in Santa Fe.

Campra’s Carnaval Is A Musical Circus On Teeming Stage

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By Keith Powers

BOSTON  – Adding to its chain of splendid opera productions, the Boston Early Music Festival offered a stylish account of André Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise, a tale of love and murderous revenge from the age of Louis XIV.

Texas Bach Fest Sees Energy Surge With New Director

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By Mike Greenberg

VICTORIA, Tex. – Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, the new artistic director of the Victoria Bach Festival, signaled Baroque mastery plus an intent to up the festival’s game in modern repertoire and music of Hispanic heritage.

Ojai’s Adventures In Stylistic Fusion Confound The Ear

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By Richard S. Ginell

OJAI, Calif. – In a festival known for stretching, musicians led by composer-pianist Vijay Iyer went about as far as you can go with improvisations that raised the question, what is the line between music and noise?

3 Cliburn Winners Showed More Than Flashy Technique

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By Kyle MacMillan

FORT WORTH, Tex. – The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winnowed 30 contestants to three winners, including gold medalist Yekwon Sunwoo, who played Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto in the final round.

Angels In America, As Opera, Loses Its New York Focus

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By David Shengold

NEW YORK – The filleting of literary works for operatic treatment is nothing new, but the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös’ Angels in America finds Tony Kushner’s epic drama to be robbed of its rich socio-political specificity.

Met Orchestra Scales Heights In Mahler And More

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By Lawrence B. Johnson

NEW YORK – Led by Esa-Pekka Salonen at Carnegie Hall, the Met’s pit band confirmed its status as one of the world’s top orchestras in three programs pairing music by Mahler with works by Schumann and Sibelius.

In Wang’s Bartók, An Entrée In Need Of More Seasoning

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – Yuja Wang is in the midst of a rare
cycle of Béla Bartók’s three piano concerti with the LA Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. There should have been nothing for her to fear in the ferocious first concerto.

Music And Art Meld To Salute Holocaust Legacy

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By Jason Victor Serinus

SEATTLE – Music of Remembrance, the Seattle-based organization that keeps memories of the Holocaust alive through music, presented its 21st commission, a work by Armenian-American Mary Kouyoumdjian.

Kahane Says Adieu To LA Ensemble In Grand, Small Ways

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By Richard S. Ginell

GLENDALE, Calif. – Twenty years after taking leadership of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Kahane gave a scintillating account of Schubert’s last completed symphony (the Ninth) to end his tenure as music director.

Youth Speaks Transformatively In Silent Voices

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By Anne E. Johnson

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Brooklyn Youth Chorus marked its 25th anniversary by letting singers’ voices be heard in a new way, connecting commissioned works by eight composers with choristers’ personal testimonies.

Frank’s Colorful Requiem Sings In Three Tongues

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By William Albright

HOUSTON – The Houston Symphony and music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada premiered its newest commission, Gabriela Lena Frank’s Conquest Requiem, on May 5, the Mexican holiday known as Cinco de Mayo.

Magic Flute Zips, But Also Overruns Spirit Of Mozart

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By Jason Victor Serinus

SEATTLE – A cast of young singers had shining moments in Seattle Opera’s production of Mozart’s beloved work, but brisk tempos and directorial choices created problems that compromised the music in style and essence alike.

Power Of Berlioz Requiem Endures In Dutoit’s Hands

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By Rodney Punt

SAN FRANCISCO – Because the Berlioz Requiem is what we would today call a “site-specific” work, it requires modification in scale for modern halls. Charles Dutoit led a reduced version for 330 musicians, still a mighty force.

Mist, Mystery And Magic In Colorful, Soft-Edged Pelléas

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By Daniel Hathaway

CLEVELAND – In the latest of the Cleveland Orchestra’s annual opera performances, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande is given a strange and wonderful staging that features actors and dancers as “mythological doppelgängers.”