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Around the U.S.

Revisiting A Watershed: Glass’ ‘12 Parts’ Given 50-Year Concert Revival

NEW YORK – Philip Glass’ epic Music in Twelve Parts marked his transition from his earlier, more austere (if hypnotically compelling for devotees) minimalism into a far wider range of expression. A Town Hall concert recalled the 1974 premiere.

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.

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.

Amid The Chaos Of War, Music As Documentary Observes The Homeless

NEW YORK – The underreported displacement of 100,000 Artsakh-Armenians and the basic need to protect family are central in Mary Kouyoumdjian's Homeless, a fusion of photos, oral history, and music premiered by the New York Philharmonic.

Countertenor’s Recital ‘Don’t Look Back’ Looks Well Beyond The Box

NEW YORK – When Anthony Roth Costanzo devises a program, you never know what will happen. His recital at the Morgan Library and Museum drew on scores held there, to which he added narration and effective visual elements.

A Vocal Constellation Affirms Star Power Of Competition Winners

NEW YORK – A recital featuring the international winners of the Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competitions in 2023 and 2024 showed that the opera and concert world need not worry. The new wave of talent is as impressive as it is plentiful.

Orchestra Enters ‘Ring’ At Center Stage, Etching Images In Wagner Gold

DALLAS – Augmented by 21 guest players and a full roster of singers, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra made a fine beginning to its novel concert cycle of the Ring operas with Das Rheingold and Die Walküre led by Fabio Luisi.

Desolation Illustrated: Frozen, Deathly Vistas Of ‘Sinfonia Antartica’

SEATTLE – Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 7, enhanced by photos and journal readings from Robert Scott's ill-fated expedition, conjured a convincingly brutal soundscape in a performance by the Seattle Symphony led by Gemma New.

Adams-Sellars ‘El Niño’ Blows Onto Met Stage With Look Of A Fixture

NEW YORK – With a lavish set by Lileana Blain-Cruz and a superb cast led by Marin Alsop, this complex collage opera from 2000 (the title refers to the boy Jesus) had a strong Met premiere. Familiarity could make it a deserved favorite.

Nadia Boulanger Opera, Despite Cuts, Displays Teacher’s Own Mastery

NEW YORK – La ville morte should have been the sensation of 1914 Paris but for the hand of fate. More than a century later, the only opera composed by the influential teacher was given its New York premiere by Catapult Opera Company.

Jesus’ Death: A Drama Drawn Lean For Harp, Mark Morris Dancers

BERKELEY – Set to Nico Muhly's cycle The Street, inspired by 14 poems by Alice Goodman and here renamed Via Dolorosa, Morris' dance had its quietly beautiful world premiere on a program with the dance of another death: that of Socrates.

Saint-Saëns And Ravel With True French Flair As Langrée Storms LA

LOS ANGELES – Conductor Louis Langrée seems to have found a potent connection with the LA Philharmonic. His pairing of Ravel's Ma mère l’Oye and Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony sparked one of the longest curtain-call ovations I've heard here.

Oratorio As Snapshots: Images From A Lifetime Framed In Words, Music

NEW YORK – We take for granted our ability to snap, and immediately see, dozens of photos a day. Composer Luna Pearl Woolf and librettist David Van Taylor’s Number Our Days: A Photographic Oratorio recalls a different time.

Conducting Laureate Shows Flair For Mahler With Third Symphony

SEATTLE – In 2016, Kahchun Wong won first prize in the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition with his take on the Third Symphony. That rapport with the composer was evident in a sublime account of the Third with the Seattle Symphony.

Racial Injustice Echoes In Music Before Solace Of Mozart’s Requiem

PORTLAND, Ore. – The first half of the Oregon Symphony program led by David Danzmayr featured pieces by William Grant Still and James B. Wilson that reflected on racism. The mood was softened by a moving account of the Requiem.

Amid An Opera’s Dark Waters, Musicians And A Critic Swim For Shore

DETROIT – Four orchestra players withdrew after learning of scenes of sexual horror and horrible death in Detroit Opera's production of Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves. It's an impressive spectacle, but I felt both complicit and harmed.

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.
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