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.

With A Reworked Third Act, ‘Farnace’ Soars Down Under

SYDNEY – Pinchgut Opera of Australia staged Vivaldi’s Farnace, with countertenor Christopher Lowrey in the title role, in a new version that the period orchestra performed with clarity and crispness and a thrilling sense of propulsion.

Indigenous Events Add Resonance To Sydney Festival

SYDNEY - For his final year as artistic director of the festival, which ended Jan. 26, theater director Wesley Enoch anchored almost all of his artistic weight on indigenous storytelling through song, ceremony, and play-making.

Woolf At The Door Of An Overstuffed House In ‘Orlando’

VIENNA – Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando, modeled on Virginia Woolf’s novel, nearly emerged as a new genre on the cusp of opera and performance art, but social targets piled up. The Vienna State Opera lavished resources on the premiere.

Versailles’ Ghosts Reconvene At Site Where Tale Began

VERSAILLES – John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles had its French premiere at the Opéra Royal of the Palace of Versailles on Dec. 4, and a persuasive case it was for this most American treatment of the Old World.

Immersion Affirms Japan’s Claim To Great Orchestras

TOKYO – A recent visit to Tokyo netted a veritable avalanche of orchestral concerts: 16 performances in as many days, including international ensembles on tour and seven of Tokyo’s Big Eight. The Japanese shone.

From Cutting-Edge To Baroque, China Fest Is Innovative

BEIJING – With the theme “Timeless Music into the Future," the 22nd annual Beijing Music Festival took place in venues dispersed throughout the sprawling capital of China. A highlight: Du Yun’s opera Angel’s Bone.

A Young Man’s Bruckner Sixth From Blomstedt

BAMBERG, Germany – The Bamberg Symphony enjoys more per-capita civic support than the New York Yankees. A concert of Bruckner and Haydn under Herbert Blomstedt illustrated why: The clarity of the Bamberg sound is striking.

Puccini’s Heroine As Dancer Adrift In German Staging

FRANKFURT – Under the direction of Alex Ollé, Oper Frankfurt’s Manon Lescaut is set in a strip club and Manon is an illegal immigrant dancer. Regietheater aside, the concept communicates effectively the opera's timeless conflicts.

Like The Vltava, The Classics Flow Through Prague

PRAGUE – Dvořák and Smetana were nurtured in Prague, and Mozart found a haven there, as did classical music travelers in September when the Dvořák Festival was in full swing along with the city’s orchestras and opera.

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.
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