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Around the U.S.

A Concert Of Beethoven And Sermons, And Both Rise To Their Message

PHILADELPHIA – Bass-baritone Davóne Tines delivered the "sermons" – readings from African American writers – as preludes to vocal works, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the Philadelphia Orchestra in historically aware Beethoven.

An Ineffable Tone Poem Captures How Wildfire Consumed Small Town

PHILADELPHIA – Robin Holcomb's 10-minute Paradise, played by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, unfolds as a series of sonic pictures, a soundtrack to Holcomb's inner dialogue that we don’t actually visualize but feel.

Met’s ‘Meistersinger’: An Uneven Return To Time-Worn Tradition

NEW YORK – After the pandemic drought, here were the five-hours-plus of Wagner's only mature comedy, the Met Opera's sole Wagnerian outing this season. If many in the audience seemed thrilled, a lack of rehearsal time was evident.

From Challenging Bits Of ‘Mosaic,’ Dinnerstein Fashions Whole Cloth

NEW YORK – When composer Richard Danielpour asked Simone Dinnerstein to perform his prodigious piano solo, An American Mosaic, in 2020, this fearless musician conquered his score. In a recent recital, she revisited that tour de force.

Chamber-Scaled Return To Normalcy Sets Tone At An Open-Bar Concert

SEATTLE – As Emerald City Music launched its sixth season of concerts in Seattle and Olympia, in a welcoming and inclusive environment, the glow of gratitude and relief at being engaged with live music again could be felt throughout the space.

In The Stream Of Bach’s ‘Goldbergs,’ Lang Lang Sees Romantic Virtuoso

NEW YORK – Bach’s Goldberg Variations have withstood myriad interpretations, and I tried to keep an open mind, but Lang Lang's Romantic flourishes tempted me to join the escapees and make a dash for the Carnegie Hall exits.

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.

Cloud Over Van Zweden Exit From NY Phil Veils His Gifts As Conductor

PERSPECTIVE – Jaap van Zweden's six-year stint will have been one of the strangest tenures of any music director of a major American orchestra. New Yorkers never got to know him. But after he departs in 2024, they will be missing a lot.

New Maestro Steps Up, With A Little Boost From Hall’s Reinforced Sound

PORTLAND, Ore. – It was a night of high emotions as the Oregon Symphony audience welcomed new music director David Danzmayr. Also on display for the first time was the electronically buffed up sound in Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Salonen’s Belated Bow As SF Music Director Is A Lit-Up, Bang-Up Event

SAN FRANCISCO – In a debut effectively deferred for one season by the pandemic, Esa-Pekka Salonen's first "real" program came with multi-colored lights, a jazz combo, a thrust stage for dancers, and a fervent response to every piece.

Orchestra In Dire Need Of Fixes Found Its Man In Tested Maestro Delfs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – After long years of problematic musical direction, the Rochester Philharmonic opened its first season under conductor Andreas Delfs, who led a program that displayed well-honed ensemble and a rich orchestral sound.

In A Visceral First, Met Opens With Black Opera About Child Sex Abuse

NEW YORK – Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the first Black-authored opera to be presented at the Met Opera in its 138-year history, is the unflinching and distinctive work of composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Kasi Lemmons.

Wordless Mendelssohn Is Backdrop For Stories Of Jews In New World

NEW YORK – Songwriter Alison Loeb interviewed dozens of her neighbors – German-Jewish immigrants who had fled from the Nazi peril to upper Manhattan. She wrapped their memories in Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words.

Chicagoans And Muti, Together Again, Break Silence In Heroic Style

CHICAGO – Music director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra celebrated their return to live, in-person performance for the first time in 20 months with a profound account of Beethoven’s monumental Eroica Symphony.

Behind All The Masks, Vibrant Ojai Fest Brings Out Faces New And Old

OJAI, Cal. – The best news that could have possibly come from the 75th Ojai Music Festival Sept. 16-19 is that it happened at all. After missing a year because of the pandemic, the festival's spirit of adventure was alive again in far-ranging fare.

Beethoven Times Two Plus Open Hall Equals Bright Start To Season

HOUSTON – As much a pep rally as a first night, the Houston Symphony Orchestra's 2021-22 season opener under music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada served up a stylish Beethoven Triple Concerto and a blazing Fifth Symphony.

Opera’s Racial Tragedy Transcends Obstacles Of An Open-Air Staging

DETROIT – Blue, composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson's intimate and compelling music drama about a Black cop whose teenage son is shot dead by another cop, struggled against conditions in a 6,000-seat arena.

Hardships In Sea Lanes: Slavery, Impressment, And All As Lyric Drama

NEW YORK – On Site Opera boarded a 19th-century tall ship Aug. 28 for What Lies Beneath, an immersive music theater event weaving the slave trade and other vicissitudes of the high seas into a mournful and affecting program.

Village Opera Festival Spotlights Community And Emerging Voices

PHOENICIA, N.Y. – This woodsy hamlet has grown the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice into an energetic and engaging event that saw productions this summer of Mascagni's L'amico Fritz, Verdi's Rigoletto, and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

‘Sweet Land,’ A Searing Revision Of U.S. History, Wins Opera Of The Year

BREAKING NEWS - The creation of a diverse team under the collective aegis of The Industry, Sweet Land, invoking America's untold story, is the winner of the 2021 Music Critics Association of North America’s Best New Opera Award.
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