Around the U.S.

Defying Obviously Long Odds, A Music Garden For Kids Is Blossoming

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.

Its Budget And Season Reduced, SF Opera Is Ready To Sing Again

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.

Smart Trifecta Of Fresh Operas Takes The Stage (Make That Parking Lot)

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.

Summer Fests: In East, Bard Turns Spotlight On Nadia Boulanger Legacy

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.

Spoleto Caps An Era With Lively Jolt of New Works and New Plans

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.

Summer Fests: Diverse Artists, Beethoven Take Center Stage In West

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.

Summer Fests: Warm Air Renews Its Familiar Lure Across Midwest

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.

Up On The Roof: A Glass Opera In Parking Garage (At Pandemic Twilight)

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.

Prison Life As Opera: Hard-Edged Portraits, Music Of 5 Composers

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.

Edging Into Concerts, Seattle Symphony Puts Twin Tasks On Barnatan

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.

As Pandemic Retreats, Chicago’s Lyric Opera Plans Epochal Restart

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.

Fabio Luisi Migrates From Opera World To Ample Orchestra Life 

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.

On Foot And In Song, Retracing Stony Course Of Blacks In New York

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.

SF Opera Outdoors: Rossini Gets Big Stage As ‘Barber’ Gets A Trim

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.

Drive-Thru ‘Twilight’ Whittles Wagner’s Epic To Garagiste Opera

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.

In A Pandemic Dance, Music Festivals Across U.S. Venture To Reopen

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.

Live Concert Invoking Chants Takes Listener Back To Time Before

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.

Max Steiner: Enduring Master Of Movie Music In Hollywood’s Heyday

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.

At Critics’ Webinar, Opera Creators Voice Hope For New Works

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.

Countering Pandemic, SFSO Elaborates Its SoundBox Digital Fare

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+.
Classical Voice North America