Author Archive | David Rohde

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Review: Soprano Ailyn Pérez at The Barns at Wolf Trap

There’s no business like show business, but does that include opera? If in a few years people finally agree that opera is genuinely another form of musical theater, it may be because of the current career rocketship of American soprano Ailyn Pérez. Never mind her recent run as the star of the Metropolitan Opera’s uber-popular […]

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Review: Pianist Lise de la Salle at the Phillips Collection

Picking through bombastic music to extract the musical message and leave a lingering impression of something other than bombast is a skill to be cherished among pianists on the international stage. That was the main achievement of French pianist Lise de la Salle at the Phillips Collection on Sunday afternoon. Her nearly complete triumph with […]

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Review: Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center

Something of a high-stakes atmosphere pervades this week’s concerts by the National Symphony Orchestra. It’s performing an all-Russian program, always a touchstone harking back to the reign of Soviet émigré Mstislav Rostropovich over the NSO from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s. And this week’s conductor is the NSO’s incoming music director, Gianandrea Noseda, in […]

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Review: The Montreal Symphony Orchestra with Washington Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center

Who needs to skip around musical history in a concert? A hundred years ago the musical world was in ferment, with shocking new developments right before and after World War I. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra placed its entire concert Monday evening in an eight-year compositional period between 1913 and 1921, with terrific results. Universally known […]

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Review: ‘The Silver Age in Russian Poetry in Music’ at the Russian Chamber Art Society

The musical imagery of the material presented by Washington’s Russian Chamber Art Society is so distinctive that its substantial audiences actually crave the work that goes into listening to it as well as performing it. Presenters of more conventional or familiar “classical” music who have to deal with distracted, somnolent or simply missing audiences should […]

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Review: Pianist Steven Osborne Plays Rachmaninoff at the Phillips Collection

Given a choice between the intellectual and the emotional, most concert-goers, in their heart of hearts, will want to hear something that moves them. They got their wish on Sunday afternoon at the Phillips Collection when Scottish pianist Steven Osborne drenched them in a boatload of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s most powerfully emotional and almost over-the-top solo […]

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Pianist Brian Ganz and Mezzo-Soprano Magdalena Wór Team Up for Special Chopin Concert This Saturday Night at Strathmore

They say the show must go on, and a set of unusual circumstances is bringing together two of Washington’s most distinctive classical performers this Saturday evening for a special concert at The Music Center at Strathmore. The event is called “Bel Canto of the Piano” and represents one of the major touchpoints of local pianist […]

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‘The Barber of Seville’ at the Metropolitan Opera

The Barber of Seville turns 200 years old in two months. Performing it in English translation works best when it helps show American audiences how similar the elements of effective comedy are across all forms of entertainment, no matter what century we’re in. The Metropolitan Opera gets most of the way there with the comic […]

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The Philadelphia Orchestra Presented by Washington Performing Arts at Strathmore

Composers wrote great ballet and opera music for two reasons. The first was to help dancers and singers to portray characters and tell their stories. The second was to have the music led in the 21st century by arguably America’s leading conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Okay, granted. Igor Stravinsky didn’t know about Maestro Nézet-Séguin when he wrote […]

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