LOS ANGELES – The concerto by Gabriela Ortiz, inspired by Mexican architecture and played by 18-year-old soloist María Dueñas, progresses from a mysterious Romantic opening movement to a jagged scherzo-finale with a slam-bang finish.
NEW YORK – The Met's powerful production of Australian composer Brett Dean's Hamlet, which premiered at the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival with several of the same singers, is well worth seeing. It runs to June 9 with an HD broadcast June 4.
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.
ROCHESTER – Juliana Athayde, concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic, played the world premiere of Roberto Sierra's Violin Concerto, written in memory of music director Andreas Delfs' daughter Lydia, who died at age 23.
VANCOUVER – In the intimacy of a synagogue, the Jerusalem Quartet, with Israeli soprano Hila Baggio, offered a nuanced program featuring a work based on cabaret-inspired songs by Ukrainian-born composer Leonid Desyatnikov.
NEW YORK – Isata and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, pianist and cellist who offered an impressive program at Carnegie Hall, are among seven siblings, ages 25 to 12, all classically trained on string instruments or piano or both.
NASHVILLE – Staging Das Rheingold might seem wildly ambitious for Nashville Opera, whose new production opened in a new venue, the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Belmont University. But like the costumes, voices sparkled.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.