Around the U.S.

Adams-Sellars Retelling Of Christmas, Reframed Small, Still Gripping Tale

NEW YORK – In El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered, a condensed version of the 2000 opera-oratorio El Niño, soprano Julia Bullock teamed with countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and bass-baritone Davóne Tines for a visceral performance.

The Tangled Baroquery Of Handel’s ‘Rodelinda,’ Made Clear And Brilliant

NEW YORK – In this 18th-century Game of Thrones, the men scheme for power, betray each other, and try to use the women as pawns. The English Concert's take on the opera, with Lucy Crowe as Rodelinda, merited crowns all around.

Callas At 100, Dazzling Beacon Of Time Past, Still Bel Canto Lodestar

NEW YORK – At the Museo del Barrio, near the hospital on Fifth Avenue where the soprano was born to Greek parents in 1923, musicologist Will Crutchfield led a symposium tied to his Teatro Nuovo project "Callas: Past and Future."

In Multifaceted Concert, The Timeless Narrative Of Yuletide Shines Anew

SEATTLE – For its novel retelling of the Christmas story, Early Music Seattle united the Boston Camerata and the Medieval Women’s Choir in massive St. James Cathedral. The beauty of the presentation transcended its tricky logistics.

Concert As Storytelling: Others May Play Notes, Parlando Conjures Tales

NEW YORK – Ian Niederhoffer wants classical music to survive and flourish. That's why he founded the string orchestra Parlando, now in its fourth season, an ensemble that uses historical narrative to ensure connection with its audience.

Amazon Opera Journey Widens Met’s Embrace (With Guilty Pleasures)

NEW YORK – Just before the Met Opera premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas, someone shouted, “¡Viva l’ópera en español!” – a first at the house in nearly a century. The audience responded with cheers. In the end, approval came with a roar.

Mysterious Dutchman Meets Dramatic Match In 11th-Hour Senta Sub

PITTSBURGH – When the scheduled Senta fell ill, soprano Alexandria Shiner flew in from South Africa, arriving two days before opening night of Pittsburgh Opera's The Flying Dutchman. After off-stage rehearsal, she went on to sing the role.

Pan-Am Music Fosters Breaking Down Walls: ‘Sponsored By Mexico’

LOS ANGELES – The welcoming sign greeted patrons as singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada and other Mexican composers were saluted by the LA Phil and conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the California Festival of mainly Pan-American fare.

Stravinsky’s Wild ‘Rite,’ Long Absent, Returns With Some Spring In It

ORLANDO – Not since 2012 had the Orlando Philharmonic tackled The Rite of Spring. In that interval, the orchestra moved to a new hall and acquired a new music director, Eric Jacobsen, who led a compelling account, seething and turbulent.

Vocalist, String Quartet Give Schubert A Shuffle And Turn Up All Aces

NEW YORK – In a concert connecting songwriters from two centuries apart, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and the quartet Brooklyn Rider spun Schubert's Quartet in D minor (Death and the Maiden) by weaving in a series of his songs.

‘Omar,’ Operatic Portrait Of An Enslaved Scholar, Proves Staying Power

SAN FRANCISCO – As Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ new opera runs its course through American stages, it has been gathering steam. San Francisco Opera's impressive and moving account made a solid case that Omar is built to last.

Eclectic Ukrainian Band Blends World Of Styles Into Musical Quilt Work

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The four-member "ethnic chaos" ensemble DakhaBrakha (loosely give-take) combines Western jazz, hip-hop, avant-garde ideas, and Ukrainian folk music into something quite fresh, as a packed auditorium witnessed.

Master Of The Theorbo And A Dazzling Vocalist Polish Baroque Gems

NEW YORK – The French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre and theorbo virtuoso Thomas Dunford, who've been making music together since 2015, offered a 70-minute concert of gentle and intimate fare, then finished with a rock beat.

Malcolm X Opera Vital Sign Of Met’s Resolve To Embrace Diversity

NEW YORK – The company premiere of Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X is a triumph that showcases an amazing array of Black talent. Change is happening fast at the Met, and management deserves credit for its urgency.

Disney Hall At 20 Years Gets A Heroic Fanfare Led By Composer-Hero

LOS ANGELES – Esa-Pekka Salonen, music director of the LA Philharmonic when its still dazzling new home opened in 2003, was back to lead the world premiere of his expanded fanfare now titled Tiu, which derives from Old Nordic for 20. Get it?

Handel Buffs Have Their Moment With A Pair Of Stylish Choral Concerts

NEW YORK – Jeannette Sorrell led the New York Philharmonic and her own Apollo's Singers in Israel in Egypt, and the touring English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir under Dinis Sousa performed L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.

Curtis Institute @ 100: Spinning The Pandemic Into A High-Tech Leap

PHILADELPHIA – The famed music school founded in 1924 by Mary Louise Curtis Bok sent its students home when Covid struck in 2020 – but sent with them green screens, recording gear, and instructions in a game-changing digital pivot.

With Blizzard Of Notes, Wizardly Pianist Proves Too Much Is Just Right

NEW YORK – The grumpy complaint "too many notes" might be applied to pianist Alexandre Kantorow's Carnegie Hall recital of effusive works by Brahms, Liszt, and others were it not such a thoughtful, brilliant, and exhilarating surprise.

Skewering The Critics: It’s Wry Retribution For Long History Of Vitriol

LOS ANGELES – It was only a matter of time before some alleged victims of critical abuse would counter with an entertainment. Thus The Music Critic, a reading with music starring John Malkovich, takes aim at the merchants of venom.

A Simpatico Pair Meet Again In Gershwin, But It Don’t Mean A Thing

LOS ANGELES – Russian-German pianist Igor Levit and Hong Kong-born conductor Elim Chan had partnered happily before, but their reunion in the semi-classical, semi-jazz Concerto in F with the LA Philharmonic was not a swinging affair.
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