SAN ANTONIO, Tex.– From a career firefighter’s dream to establish a professional chamber orchestra has emerged a vigorous youth training program based on Venezuela's El Sistema – and out of that a fully fledged chamber ensemble.
SAN FRANCISCO – Shut down since March 2020, the company raises its curtain on fall productions including a new Fidelio designed by Alexander V. Nichols, staged by Matthew Ozawa, and led by Eun Sun Kim in her debut as music director.
ST. LOUIS – A loopy gloss on Her Majesty's tea with Apollo 13 astronauts, a comic riff on families in pandemic funks, and a post-debate match twixt James Baldwin and William F. Buckley peppered a triple-bill joy at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
PREVIEW – Few figures have exerted greater influence on modern music than conductor and composer Nadia Boulanger. Among a range of Eastern U.S. festival themes, the French milieu that shaped her, and her legacy, is Bard's focus.
CHARLESTON – Alisa Weilerstein got into the slow tango groove with Inon Barnatan in the premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's Milonga at a Spoleto Festival USA rich in the contemporary delights. It's Nigel Redden's valedictory season at the helm.
PREVIEW – The inclusion of women and people of color is reflected in the lineup of performers and composers at western music festivals; meanwhile, the pandemic-interrupted observance of Beethoven's 250th anniversary gets back on track.
PREVIEW – At last, some good news! William Grant Still's opera Highway 1, U.S.A. is among the offerings this summer as Midwest opera and orchestra festivals offer their novel enticements to draw people back into the concert habit.
LONG BEACH, Calif. – With COVID times in mind, Long Beach Opera turned Philip Glass' Les Enfants Terribles into a drive-in affair on top of a parking garage – with music, dance, theater, and video in a dizzying swirl of sound, light, and motion.
BOSTON – A virtual opera in five vignettes, Death by Life was created by White Snake Projects in response to the murder of George Floyd. The libretto uses the words of incarcerated men and women to evoke existence behind bars.
SEATTLE – The ensemble and audience were small, the pandemic-conscious precautions great as the orchestra returned to live performances with Mozart and Beethoven piano concertos featuring Inon Barnatan as soloist and conductor.
CHICAGO – The company’s reopening in September will be trebly celebratory as an emergence from something akin to nuclear winter, the ascendancy of new music director Enrique Mazzola, and the unveiling of new seats.
PROFILE – Come September 2022, Fabio Luisi will be at the helm of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and Tokyo’s NHK Symphony Orchestra: a big change for the ex-principal conductor at the Met Opera.
NEW YORK - In its series of site-specific operas in unconventional locations throughout the city, On Site Opera now offers The Road We Came, walking tours with streamed music recalling the richness and the trials of Black history here.
SAN RAFAEL, Cal. – Reminiscent of the old drive-in movies, the San Francisco Opera's gigantic al fresco – yes, drive-in – staging distilled The Barber of Seville to about 100 minutes. But the singers were fine and, no less striking, they were live.
CHICAGO – It was a novel spin on drive-in theater: cars filing into a downtown underground parking garage for a live-with-video production of Wagner's Götterdämmerung writ small. Christine Goerke's Brünnhilde rode a crimson Mustang.
PREVIEW – With diverse plans to finesse the pandemic threat, many American festivals will return to live concerts this summer. For most fans, this can't come soon enough. Here's the hopeful outlook from Tanglewood to Ojai.
NEW YORK – Byzantine chant was the unifying element in a Cutting Edge Concerts performance by pianist Paul Barnes. The experience was a comforting reminder of the once-familiar rituals of concertgoing.
BOOK REVIEW – In its lavish, lyrical treatment, biographer Steven C. Smith's new book resonates with the "epic life" of a composer who produced nearly 300 film scores ranging from King Kong and Casablanca to Gone With the Wind.
PERSPECTIVE – At the session hosted by the Music Critics Assocation of North America, panelists cited Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and other social issues among factors likely to change the way opera presenters think post-pandemic.
SAN FRANCISCO – At what would have been the halfway point of this COVID-canceled season, the orchestra with new music director Esa-Pekka Salonen has rolled out a whole suite of digital projects called SF Symphony+.