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Around the U.S.

In Pastoral Vastness, Grand Art Harmonizes With Music’s Intimacy

FISHTAIL, Mont. – Set amid rolling hills, mesas, and grasslands framed by rugged mountains and the vast Montana sky, Tippet Rise Art Center beckons with a unique intersection of pristine nature, large-scale sculpture, and chamber music.

Brahms Goes Baroque: Style Turns Murky As Festival Wanders Afield

LANGLEY, Wash. – At the Whidbey Island Music Festival, director Tekla Cunningham, who performed on Baroque violin, noted that Brahms was not the festival’s usual fare. Given what we heard, this hardly came as a surprise.

Pair Of Mozart Operas, As Summer Concerts, Amuse With Gravitas

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – It was an odd coupling offered on consecutive nights at the Ravinia Festival, the proto-Romantic Don Giovanni and an opera seria, La clemenza di Tito, both led by James Conlon, but the match proved compelling.

Maestro Marches To His Own Festival Drum – Or In This Premiere, Flute

CHICAGO – In his 23 years as conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival, Carlos Kalmar's bold programming has included 22 world premieres. The latest, Christopher Theofanidis’ Flute Concerto, spotlighted soloist Marina Piccinini.

Classic Piano Displays Its Enduring Charms In Showcase Performance

ASHBURNHAM, Mass. – An 1877 Bösendorfer, part of the Frederick Collection of restored grand pianos from the 1790s to 1928, made an impressive performance debut under the hands of pianists Daesik Cha and Clemens Teufel.

Frisson Of New Music Puts Al Fresco Edge On S.D. Symphony Summer

SAN DIEGO – Mason Bates' fanciful multimedia piece Phlharmonia Fantastique capped a program led by Jason Seber that included Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, which still feels relatively contemporary.

Amid Natural Splendor Of Bravo! Vail Festival, NY Phil Invokes Mahler

VAIL, Colo. – Led by Jaap van Zweden, a profound account of Mahler's Sixth Symphony marked the pinnacle of the New York Philharmonic's annual residency at this six-week festival tranquilly set in a national forest valley famous for its skiing.

Barrier-Breaking Alsop Hands Baton To Women In A Festival Showcase

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – Conductor Marin Alsop, who had to blaze her own career path in the 1980s, now boosts a younger generation of women conductors. Several performed at the Ravinia Festival's first "Breaking Barriers" event.

Marlboro Music, Where The Old Guard Gathers And Lemonade’s Still $1 

MARLBORO, Vt. – In its 71st year, the enterprise founded by Rudolf Serkin, and now co-directed by pianists Jonathan Biss and Mitsuko Uchida, draws musicians who combine serious purpose with a joyful time. A concert was a moving experience.

Into The Past, The Dark, The Unconscious: Wryly, Merrily ‘Into The Woods’

NEW YORK – A limited engagement of the musical, now extended through Oct. 16, marks Broadway's first posthumous Stephen Sondheim revival in the form of a concert staging, though it was announced before his death in November 2021.

On A Hot Day, Heggie’s ‘Decembers’ Opera Has Listener Pining For One

CHATHAM, N.Y. – Jake Heggie's intimate chamber opera Three Decembers, a three-hander about a narcissistic Broadway actress, became two sweaty hours relieved by warm bottled water. Mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala dominated the lead role.

Wild Ride At The Bowl: Director Gallops In With A Bold Spin On Wagner

HOLLYWOOD – Act III of Die Walküre, probably the most-often performed act in Wagner's Ring cycle, saw Valkyries on digital motorcycles in a version by director Yuval Sharon at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Phil under Gustavo Dudamel.

Young Ensemble Mines Wagnerian Nuggets In Enterprising ‘Rheingold’

MIAMI – Das Rheingold received an innovative production at the Miami Music Festival, a training program for young singers and orchestral musicians created by conductor Michael Rossi. The cast all sang their roles for the first time.

In Flourish Of Sparkles, Yuja Wang Flashes Her Liszt At Tanglewood

LENOX, Mass. – They were all back: the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the manicured Berkshires estate, the smiles.  And Yuja Wang stepped in for Jean-Yves Thibaudet, bouncing through Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 to the audience's delight.

‘Red Chamber,’ An Epic Chinese Novel, Proves Classic Stuff Of Opera

SAN FRANCISCO – Great novels may rarely make great opera. But the high emotions and multiple deaths in Dream of the Red Chamber fit the opera profile. An adaptation by Bright Sheng and D.H. Wang is on display at the San Francisco Opera.

Tines’ American Songs Lift Theme Of ‘Truths’ At 60th Britt Music Fest

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – With a voice that can lift you up and carry you heavenward, Davóne Tines created an emotional journey in a cycle of American songs, capped in this "Truths Be Told" program by Shostakovich's 10th Symphony.

Mozart’s Rake Prowls Crumbling Society In Futuristic ‘Don Giovanni’

SAN FRANCISCO – A new production at the San Francisco Opera is brilliant musically, but director Michael Cavanagh’s setting in "the late 2080s" presents a jumble of ideas that never coalesces into a cohesive whole. Still, it has its moments.

Rallying From Disarray To Pull Together Verdi Requiem To Remember

SEATTLE – Few pieces seemed to be in place when conductor Giacomo Sagripanti took over the Seattle Symphony's troubled production. But in the end, orchestra, chorus and soloists combined for a performance at once gentle and grand.

‘Red Chamber,’ Chinese Epic Of Life’s Illusion, Scatters Its Petals Anew

SAN FRANCISCO – In 2016, San Francisco Opera premiered an operatic version of the Chinese literary classic Dream of the Red Chamber, giving the opera a visually spectacular production, which the company has revived for a run through July 3.

Nézet-Séguin And Met Orchestra Spread Light Through Carnegie Hall

NEW YORK – Over two nights, the orchestra and singers led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin offered splendorous programs of Strauss, Wagner and Berlioz. The crowds' lusty cheers were well merited by energized, dazzling performances.
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