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A ‘Lucia’ For Everyone: Rust Belt Regietheater As Gesamtkunstwerk

LOS ANGELES – Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor is supposed to be a singers’ opera, but I may never think of it that way again after seeing Simon Stone’s take as a vibrant, theatrically rounded image of lower-middle class American life in 2022.

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.

Our Critic’s Soliloquy On A Shakespearean Opera By John Adams: ‘Meh’

SAN FRANCISCO – The usually imaginative composer's Antony and Cleopatra, written for the San Francisco Opera's centennial, is an outlier, a conventional opera and middle of the road effort that mostly falls short of interesting things to say.

Chants Of Hildegard Flower In Creepy Space (With A Furtive Mouse)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Performing in the dark void of the catacombs of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, soprano Daisy Press embellished the 11th-century Hildegard von Bingen's exquisitely beautiful chants with effects of Hindustani ragas.

To Celebrate SF Opera’s Centenary, John Adams Turned To Shakespeare

SAN FRANCISCO – The company opens its 100th season with the world premiere of John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra. "John was energized by doing a work that blended the intimate and the public,” said general director Matthew Shilvock.

A Charmed New Baton Etches Vivid Arc Of Sibelius’ Symphonies

DIGITAL REVIEW – Klaus Mäkelä is the most dazzling new star in the conducting firmament. His cycle of Sibelius' seven symphonies with the Oslo Philharmonic shows why, at 26, the Finnish maestro has mesmerized seemingly everyone.

On Portland’s Vibrant Music Scene, New Is Nourished Everywhere

PORTLAND, Ore. – This city has become a busy hub for new music. Its vigorous creativity ranges from chamber ensembles dedicated to contemporary music to companies that explore the latest operas. The place is jumping.

A Ring Of Authenticity: ‘Das Rheingold’ Played On Period Instruments

PERSPECTIVE – Kent Nagano led the early-music ensemble Concerto Köln in a version based on lengthy research by a special committee that sought the sound Wagner might have hoped for when composing the piece in the 1850s.

Michael Tilson Thomas Returns To SF Podium In Warm Homecoming

SAN FRANCISCO – His characteristic erect posture unaltered by the recent physical and emotional challenges of brain-tumor surgery, MTT, who turns 77 on Dec. 21, led the San Francisco Symphony in his own music and Schumann's.

Hail, Bright Abode! Life (And Art) Reaffirmed At The Resurgent LA Opera

LOS ANGELES – Defiantly back in business after a long pandemic-induced hiatus, the LA Opera took a giant step toward normalcy by staging Wagner’s Tannhäuser, the company’s first production of anything by Wagner in eight and a half years.

Not Bass, Not Baritone, Davóne Tines Revels In A Register All His Own

PERSPECTIVE – Tines, who has burst onto the world's music stages, commands a range of more than three octaves, from low D to high E-flat. He says he is neither a bass nor a baritone: “It’s a broader conception of how to think about voice.”

Summer Fests: Warm Air Renews Its Familiar Lure Across Midwest

PREVIEW – At last, some good news! William Grant Still's opera Highway 1, U.S.A. is among the offerings this summer as Midwest opera and orchestra festivals offer their novel enticements to draw people back into the concert habit.

Sleuths Pursue Chopin As Genius And Enigma Across Pages Of Time

BOOK REVIEW – Three recent books about the composer-pianist offer rich insights into his life as man and musician. All three offer much to ponder, and time and again had this reader reaching for a score or a recording to follow up.

Composer Schwantner, Marching To His Own Drum, Chimes, Crotales

PERSPECTIVE – Even with some 60 works and a Pulitzer Prize to his credit, Joseph Schwantner's far-ranging sound palette and distinctive voice remain something of a hidden treasure, unfamiliar to much of the concertgoing public.

On Foot And In Song, Retracing Stony Course Of Blacks In New York

NEW YORK - In its series of site-specific operas in unconventional locations throughout the city, On Site Opera now offers The Road We Came, walking tours with streamed music recalling the richness and the trials of Black history here.

Radio Host Is Bridging Gap Between Blacks, Classical Music World

PERSPECTIVE – Terrance McKnight has always lived his life "between the two worlds" of being Black and being part of the classical music culture. He wants to bring everyone’s culture to the table, "not putting one above the other."

‘Insurrection Songs’: Rzewski Redux, Only This Time It’s Global

DIGITAL REVIEW - Echoing his prodigious, politically inspired variations The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, for solo piano, Frederic Rzewski offers a still more ambitious work, Songs of insurrection. Pianist Thomas Kotcheff nails it.

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.

One Pianist’s Rising Sun Streams A Fresh Light On Black Composers

DIGITAL FEATURE – Lara Downes' recording project, called Rising Sun Music and offered on streaming platforms, explores the neglected legacy of composers ranging from Hazel Scott and Nora Holt to Benny Golson and Eubie Blake.
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