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From Bach To Spirituals, Water Theme Flows In Multimedia Immersion

NEW YORK – Shall We Gather at the River, a world premiere directed by Peter Sellars, combined three Bach cantatas and five African American spirituals bound by the element of water and its association with cleansing, thirst, relief, and peril.

An Emergency Maestro Retrieves Met’s ‘Orfeo’ From Opera Underworld

NEW YORK – When British conductor Christian Curnyn, a Baroque specialist, dropped out "due to illness," J. David Jackson stepped in to dispatch Gluck's opera starring Anthony Roth Costanzo (pictured) and Ying Fang as Orfeo and Euridice.

Maestro Takes A Stand With Frenetic Bruckner (Musicians Stand, Too)

BERLIN – With his own orchestra called Utopia, 112 players from 20 countries including Russia and Ukraine, Teodor Currentzis led the mostly standing troupe in an assault on Bruckner's Ninth that left no room for spiritual transcendence.

Motets From History’s Shadows Are Diamonds In Rough Performance

DIGITAL REVIEW – In 1598, Orfeo Vecchi published the third volume of his Motets for Six Voices, stunning examples of late-Renaissance polyphony that have been recorded for the first time, albeit imperfectly, by Cappella Musicale Eusebiana.

Extending The Embrace Of Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio’ By Attuning To The Deaf

LOS ANGELES – Reprising a 2022 venture, Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic offered a concert version of the opera with double casting: singers mirrored by silent actors who convey text and musical emotion through sign and gesture.

Chinese-American Kid Chases U.S. Army Life: Devastation As Opera

NEW YORK – In An American Soldier, a world-premiere opera by composer Huang Ruo and librettist David Henry Hwang, Private Danny Chen's path is charted from youthful eagerness to a sergeant's ruthless bullying and Danny's suicide.

‘Juniper Tree,’ Terrifying (In Terrific Way), Brings Grimm Fable To Opera

ORLANDO – Sumptuous costumes and makeup and oversized puppets took center stage in the Opera Orlando production of this dark fairy tale of infanticide, cannibalism, and reincarnation with a score jointly by Philip Glass and Robert Moran.

Batons, Bowings, Beats: A Maestro’s New Guide To Modern Masterworks

BOOK REVIEW – Leonard Slatkin’s new book belongs to a distinguished tradition, reflecting a lifetime of study and podium experience at the highest level. And it can be absorbed by anyone with a working knowledge of how to read music.

Quasi-Robotics Concert, Where AI Perhaps Stood For Almost Involved

SAN FRANCISCO – The 10th season of the San Francisco Symphony's SoundBox series ended with a conceptually fascinating program called “Press Play,” curated by “Carol Reiley and her robots.” But it needed more AI compositions.

An Oboe Ode To Joy: Youth Meets Diversity In A Profusion Of Delights

SEATTLE – Artistry and camaraderie shared top billing at Oboe / Oboe, a high-spirited concert presented by Emerald City Music, whose creative series aspires to open classical music to younger and more diverse audiences and performers.

To Orchestra In Need, Guest Conductor Brings Affinity Of An Old Friend

SEATTLE – in its search for a new music director, the Seattle Symphony has played under the wide-ranging styles of seven different conductors this season, but the high-level playing under David Robertson conveyed an aura of mutual comfort.
Spoleto USA

Energized Spoleto USA Runs Brash Gamut From Barber To Balloon Pops

CHARLESTON, S.C. – An imaginative revival of Barber's Vanessa was the 2023 festival highlight, but the offerings around town also included edgy and outré works along with standards like The Rite of Spring and the New World Symphony.

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.
Classical Voice North America