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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.

Well-Proportioned ‘Passion’ Highlights Carolina Bach Fest

By Perry Tannenbaum
CHARLOTTE – The sound of silence during the climax of a powerful St. Matthew Passion provided what may have been the most dramatic moment of the second annual Charlotte Bach Festival. Tenor Steven Soph sang the Evangelist.

Unreleased Coltrane CDs Stir Up The Jazz World – Again

Everyone in jazzland seems to be weighing in on the release this week of Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, a previously-unknown 1963...

Quartet Summons A Time And Place In Musical History

By Anne E. Johnson
NEW YORK – The Diderot String Quartet, playing on period instruments, evoked the thriving scene of Leipzig in the 1840s with a program of Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn.

Teen Cellist Makes Brilliant CD Debut In Shostakovich

By Paul E. Robinson
DIGITAL REVIEW – Two gifted young musicians, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 19, and conductor Mirga Grazinyté-Tyna, 32, display wonderful rapport in Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1. Cello encores round out the disc.

Handel’s ‘Esther,’ Pivotal Oratorio, Scores As Drama

By Kyle MacMillan
CHICAGO – It's easy to grasp what drew Jane Glover and Music of the Baroque to the early 1720 version of Esther. The nascent oratorio, a critical stepping stone in Handel's development, proved to be compelling in its own right.

Soprano Makes Rare Appearance, And Mesmerizes

By Heidi Waleson
NEW YORK - Many aspects of Anna Caterina Antonacci's special artistry were on display during her recital of French, Italian, and English repertoire with the fine American pianist Donald Sulzen at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall.

Tilson Thomas Masterminds Bold New Work Menu

By Richard S. Ginell
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - For a concert that brazenly tries to obliterate the boundaries of what a concert usually is, you might expect it to occur in a futuristic space. The New World Center’s Gehry/Toyota performance hall is just that.

In Graceful Debut, Dudok Foursome Thaws Winter Fest

By Kyle MacMillan
EVANSTON, Ill. – Unlike some modern quartets that put a premium on muscularity and punch, the fast-rising young Dutch ensemble called the Dudok Kwartet, in its North American debut, conveys more of an Old World sensibility.

Violinist Hadelich, Seattle SO Plumb Ligeti’s Concerto

By Jason Serinus
SEATTLE – A collaboration between soloist Augustin Hadelich and the Seattle Symphony under music director Ludovic Morlot transformed Ligeti's Violin Concerto into a deeply moving, heartfelt journey.

Sound, Sight Leap From The Concert Hall To The Web

By Paul E. Robinson
DIGITAL – Video of live concerts can be costly to produce but a more compelling experience, and more effective marketing, than audio-only. Here are seven of the best orchestra websites that offer streaming video of concerts.

New ‘Tosca’ Launch At Met Survives Sweeping Exodus

By Susan Brodie
NEW YORK – New Year’s Eve marked the Metropolitan Opera's 951st go at Puccini’s “shabby little shocker.” There was nothing shabby about David McVicar's grandiose production. The shock: that it came off as well as it did.

Rattle, Berlin Aim To Tempt Appetite For Musical ‘Tapas’

By Rebecca Schmid
BERLIN – Unsuk Chin's 11-minute Chorós Chordón leaves the listener wanting more. Premiered by the Berlin Phil and slated for an Asia tour, it is one of the brief musical "tapas" commissioned by chief conductor Simon Rattle.

Muti/Chicago Play it Safe with All-Brahms at Disney Hall

The CSO remains a phenomenal instrument – they never miss – yet the most phenomenal features about these performances were the little things.

Johan Halvorsen’s Violin Concerto In A Worthy Revival

By Paul E. Robinson
DIGITAL REVIEW – Violinist Henning Kraggerud, joined by the Malmö Symphony under Bjarte Engeset, makes an excellent case for Halvorsen's neglected virtuosic 1909 concerto in a pairing with Nielsen's Violin Concerto.

John Adams On Record – Part One

My most vivid memory of John Adams was way back near the beginning of his career, in 1983 in then-Avery Fisher Hall. His Grand...

New Met ‘Rusalka’ Reflects Tradition In Surreal Images

By James L Paulk
NEW YORK – Spooky! Mary Zimmerman’s new production of Dvořák’s Rusalka starring Kristine Opolais at the Met is a twisted hybrid bordering on a parody of convention. If capricious and confusing, it's also beautiful and intriguing.

Esfahani Stretches Harpsichord’s Era From Then To Now

By Richard S. Ginell
DIGITAL REVIEW - Mahan Esfahani is a terrific musician with a beautiful touch and technique to burn. He is also an audaciously contemporary programmer, turning the usual marketing of harpsichord players on its Baroque head.

Brass Group Sets Spark To Ottawa Chamber Festival

By Charles Pope, Jr.
OTTAWA, Ontario – High-decibel intensity marked the onset of Chamberfest, an annual two-week event that's getting bigger and better. The Canadian National Brass Project launched it with classic fanfares and a world premiere.

Bach, By The Sea, Rubs Shoulders With Varied Fare

By Richard S. Ginell
CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. – The theme of the 78th Carmel Bach Festival is “Bach, Bohemia and Beyond,” with Dvořák, Bartók, Zelenka, and even Ligeti in the mix with old Herr Bach, plus a concert version of The Magic Flute.
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