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.

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.
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