It’s ‘To The Moon’ At Ultima Festival As Arts Converge

OSLO – Avant-garde pop, dance, theater, installation, electronica, classical, and opera strapped in for a crazy ride with contemporary music as the 29-year-old festival looked at how traditions can be made to bend and buckle.

Semi-seria ‘Cellini,’ Semi-staged, Full Of Vitality, Color

BERLIN – John Eliot Gardiner led a shining production of Berlioz's opera about the 16th-century Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini, with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Monteverdi Choir and a strong troupe of soloists.

Salzburg Festival Makes A Case For Enescu’s ‘Oedipe’

SALZBURG – The Romanian composer’s singular 1936 opera has a tenuous place in the repertoire, but it’s been given a luxury revival. Achim Freyer’s new production brings together imaginative (if busy) staging and ace musicianship.

Grim ‘Don Giovanni’ Frames A Fine Cast In Concrete, Rebar

PARIS – Ivo van Hove’s dark production for the Paris Opera features modern dress and architecture. While it's faithful to the emotional life of the characters, viewers may miss the usual buffo style despite fine singing and acting.

Viola Concerto Has World Premiere In Beethoven Frame

LONDON – Composer-conductor Thomas Adès led the world premiere of Irish composer Gerald Barry's Viola Concerto with soloist Lawrence Power on a program by the Britten Sinfonia with two Beethoven symphonies.

Creative Fest Fare Piques Curiosity And Sensibilities

BERGEN, Norway – At the 67th International Bergen Festival, director Anders Beyer has put together an intriguing mix of brand-name artists and experimentalists likely to leave some viewers wanting more and others overwhelmed.

China Competition Makes Debut With Philadelphians

BEIJING ‒ Canada's Tony Siqi Yun, the 17-year-old winner of the first China International Music Competition, played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Taiwan Orchestra Parades Its Mettle In Tour Of Japan

KANAZAWA, Japan – Concerts in this national favorite holiday destination, and in Tokyo and Osaka, amply demonstrated the Taiwan Philharmonic's impressive artistic ascent under music director Shao-Chia Lü.

Luc Bondy’s ‘Tosca’ Still Tawdry After All These Years

MUNICH – Panned and booed at its Met premiere, and often revived, this staging has gained nothing from longevity. A decade on, as seen at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Anja Harteros and her co-stars failed to save the show.

Vienna Phil Opens Bruckner Tour At Berlin Cathedral

BERLIN - The first stop on a trek leading to the bicentenary of Bruckner’s birth in 2024 found Christian Thielemann leading the Second Symphony and Christian Mason’s Eternity in an Hour, premiered in Vienna in April.

Glanert’s ‘Oceane’: A Water Nymph Out Of Her Depth

BERLIN – Deutsche Oper has given Detlev Glanert’s 12th opera an elegant staging. Although the score and Hans-Ulrich Treichel’s libretto are expertly crafted, the two-act work emerges as more cerebral than emotionally shattering.

In Bond’s ‘Clara’, An Artist Is Seen Becoming Herself

BADEN-BADEN – Victoria Bond's new chamber opera emphasizes Clara Schumann's inner life as she balances the demands of others against her rising awareness of her own needs. The Osterfestspiele gave the world premiere.

Old French Delight Is Polished Anew By Opéra Comique

PARIS – The famed company has scored a 21st-century hit with a former company staple not seen in Paris for 125 years: Adolphe Adam’s Le Postillon de Lonjumeau. American tenor Michael Spyres' solid high D secured the stylish enterprise.

Separate Stages, Two Results For Myths As Opera

BERLIN – Operas based on ancient myth might seem a difficult sell today, but March saw a new version of Jörg Widmann’s Babylon at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin and Manfred Trojahn’s Orest at the Wiener Staatsoper.

‘Endgame’ As Opera: Wait Finally Ends For Kurtág Work

AMSTERDAM – The musical adaptation of Beckett's play, begun by György Kurtág in 1990 and repeatedly deferred, got an airing at the Dutch National Opera. A more ideal marriage of text and music could hardly be imagined.

‘Flute’ Is Redrawn In Cartoon Images (Strings Attached)

BERLIN – Papageno and other characters are puppets, Pamina and Tamino cavort in red moon boots, Monostatos is a robot, and the Queen of the Night flies in Yuval Sharon’s comic-book staging of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.

Ultraschall Fest Gives Posthumous Hirsch Premiere

BERLIN - In tribute to the late Michael Hirsch, Simone Young led his never-performed 2011 …irgendwie ein Art Erzählung… (“almost a kind of story”), an episodic chain of thought that opens with an accordion's ethereal cluster chord.

‘Violet Snow’ Shivers With The Chill Of Earth’s Last Throes

BERLIN – To the sound of melting glissandi and teeming microtonal strings, survivors walk toward a black sun. In Beat Furrer and Klaus Händl's apocalyptic new opera, it's lights out for Earth, and humans drift and stammer.

Staging ‘Messiah’ For Our Time Is Mixed Blessing

BERLIN - A concert version for the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin by director Frederic Wake-Walker emerged as an ambitious but cumbersome attempt to infuse the religious work with contemporary relevance.

Happy Marriage: Italian Style With French Accents

BERLIN – In a concert exploring Italian-influenced French music dating from the reign of Louis XV, the ensemble Les Talens Lyriques expressed the virtues of authentic-minded musicianship and a historical approach.
Classical Voice North America