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Mahler Ninth In Paris: Dudamel, Opera Band Offer Restrained Drama

PARIS – For the opening concert of the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris 2022-2023 season Sept. 16 at the Philharmonie, music director Gustavo Dudamel delivered a Ninth that was without histrionics or romantic indulgences.

Luisi Parlays Strauss Into Dazzling Start As NHK Symphony Chief

TOKYO – The anticipation was palpable at NHK Hall, a stellar concert facility in the Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai broadcast complex. With an all-Strauss program (Don Juan, the Oboe Concerto, Der Rosenkavalier Suite), Fabio Luisi delivered.

A Celebrated Festival Embraces Diversity. And A Star Pianist Demurs

LUCERNE – The buzz of diversity that rules this year's Lucerne Festival is evident in wide-ranging musical idioms and roots. Pianist András Schiff, reaffirming his commitment to the Western canon, said he had no time for the "second rate."

Celebrating Beethoven, Late But Gloriously, In Norwegian Countryside

ROSENDAL, Norway – Amid a grand spectacle of mountains, meadows, and rushing streams, the 2022 Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, led by pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, offered a pandemic-deferred four days of Beethoven at 250-plus.

Muti’s Friendship Series Capped With Concert In Tribute To Ukrainians

LORETO, Italy – The performance here was the final stop on this year’s “Roads of Friendship,” an initiative of Riccardo Muti and the Ravenna Festival to build cultural links to cities affected by war. The Ukrainian National Opera Chorus sang.

Global Issues, Diverse Perspectives Set Edge On 75th Holland Fest

AMSTERDAM – The 75th-anniversary Holland Festival, directed by Emily Ansenk, vibrated with issues of the day­ and acted as a compass for the creative currents at play across Europe. The emotional peak was Tunde Jegede's kora solos.

‘Rheingold’ In Zurich, Or Wagner Does Hollywood (Jean Harlow Sighting)

ZURICH – There are no splashing Rhinemaidens (they cavort with Alberich on a bed) in Andreas Homoki’s Das Rheingold for Zurich Opera. Loge channels Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, and Mime springs from the Three Stooges.

Iceland’s Dazzling Hall Bathes Concert Life In Sea Of Northern Lights

REYKJAVIK – Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre was a long time coming, but since its pre-Covid opening, the spectacular building with multiple performance venues has won the hearts of Icelanders as well as international awards.

Saga Of Prague’s Grand Theaters Played Out As Gilded Historical Drama

PRAGUE – This culturally rich city boasts three splendid venues – Estates Theatre, State Opera, and National Theatre – that compete not only in their historical and architectural significance but also in their distinctive musical offerings.

Quest For Piano Leads Writer To Adventures, Stories Across Siberia

BOOK REVIEW – In The Lost Pianos of Siberia, British journalist Sophy Roberts, who specializes in remote travel, comes to Siberia with a daunting, complicated, and noble objective: to find the perfect lost piano for a Mongolian concert pianist.

Callas, Resurrected, Dies Again (And Again) In Seven Famous Roles

PARIS – The Opéra national de Paris opened its season with 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, a project created by, and starring, performance artist Marina Abramović. The diva's sundry expirations come mostly at the hands of actor Willem Dafoe.

Toasts And Standing O: Berliners Citywide Hail Live Music’s Renewal

BERLIN – Though presented in the pandemic's long shadow, stellar concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic and the Konzerthaus Orchestra drew elated audiences who offered Champagne salutes and even (a rarity) got to their feet to cheer.

Festival Drama Is Ode To Human Resilience In Face Of Human Frailty

BERGEN, Norway – At this year's Bergen International Festival, Liv Ullmann turned in a compelling performance as an aging woman in the grip of dementia in The American Moth, a multi-arts theater piece by Alan Lucien Øyen.

Juilliard Turns Table, Creates Splendid New Music School in China

TIANJIN – Chinese students have long enjoyed a presence at The Juilliard School in New York. Now Juilliard has brought to China an impressive single-building campus with an international faculty to focus on ensemble training.

Australian Music Fest Offers Contemplation Amid Nature’s Realm 

BERMAGUI, Australia – The 21st annual Four Winds event, held in a bucolic setting here April 2-4, spotlighted an array of classical ensembles, including the Goldner String Quartet and members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Anthology Recaptures ‘Charm, Distinction’ Of Soprano Lotte Schöne

DIGITAL REVIEW – A five-CD box set offers the Austrian lyric-coloratura soprano's entire recorded output (1921-50) in as well-repaired acoustic condition as we're likely to hear it – interpetive sparkle, free-floating top notes and all.

Singing In Mandarin, Or A Vocalist’s Guidebook To Minefield Survival

BOOK REVIEW – Western-style vocal techniques can inhibit production of the subtle sounds of Mandarin expected by native listeners. Singing in Mandarin - A Guide to Chinese Diction and Vocal Repertoire offers a guide to being understood.

Out of ‘Thin Air’ Came Rich, Fresh World Of Musical Connections

PERSPECTIVE – Greek composer Calliope Tsoupaki's work Thin Air, written for worldwide Festivals for Compassion, has seen dozens of performances by a wide variety of musicians playing diverse instrumental versions.

Sayonara, Baby: ‘Götterdämmerung’ Outwits The Virus

OTSU, Japan – While the COVID-19 virus wreaked havoc throughout the world, causing performances to be canceled everywhere, including Japan, a Wagnerian-size miracle saved the painstakingly readied capstone to a Ring cycle.

Berliners Dance With Acoustics At Elbphilharmonie

HAMBURG – On their ten-day trek through Germany, Kirill Petrenko and the Berlin Philharmonic offered works by Zimmermann, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff with rhythmic drive, even if the hall lacked punch at top and bottom.
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