Archive | Classical Music

Elizabeth Zharoff. Photo by Peter Konerko.

Review: LiveConnections Presents Elizabeth Zharoff + Xavier Foley at World Cafe Live

LiveConnections Presents ended its sixth season with soprano Elizabeth Zharoff and double bassist Xavier Foley. This season was devoted to pairing musicians in order to stretch musical boundaries, and has resulted in some memorable programs, such as SYBARITE5 and Jakub Ciupinski, or Nicholas Photinos and Florent Ghys. Although both Zharoff and Foley are extraordinarily talented, […]

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Mikhail Svetlov and Alexandra Batsios. Photo by Steven Pisano.

Review: ‘Golden Cockerel’ at New Opera NYC

Golden Cockerel (Coq d’Or) is a musical fantasy that was popular in the first half of the twentieth century but rarely seen since. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed it in 1907 with splashy orchestral colors — reminiscent of his Scheherazade — and that in itself would argue for its revival. The subject matter surprised me with its […]

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JoAna Rusche and Brett Pardue. Photo by Dan Valentino.

Review: ‘The Dollar Princess’ at Concert Operetta Theater

Leo Fall’s music is not likely to return to Broadway. It did, however, provide pleasant vocal opportunities for gifted young singers of the Concert Operetta Theater in Philadelphia this weekend, along with nostalgia for a way of life that vanished a century ago. The mundane sound of his name is misleading: Fall’s family was Moravian-Jewish […]

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Review: ‘Movie with the BSO: ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ in Concert’ at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) honored the 35th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s classic family adventure E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with a uniquely immersive screening of the beloved iconic film enhanced with John Williams’ Academy and Grammy Award-winning score performed live in its entirety, along with the complete picture, sound effects and […]

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs Mahler’s Longest — and Greatest — Symphony

Although not frequently performed, the Symphony No. 3 is Gustav Mahler’s most encompassing work, the piece which best exemplifies his life and career. Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a magnificent performance of it during the closing week of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 season. The Symphony No. 3 contains the greatest balance between anguish and love and its finale is […]

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Review: the National Chamber Ensemble Mother’s Day Concert ‘Music of Our Time’ at the Spectrum Theatre

For their Mother’s Day theme and as a tribute to the conclusion of their 10th anniversary season at Rosslyn’s Spectrum Theatre, the National Chamber Ensemble (NCE) selected a program inspired by film scores. Led by violinist and Artistic Director Leonid Sushansky, with brilliant support from renowned clarinetist Julian Milkis, and pianist Carlos Rodriguez, the group […]

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Baritone Lester Lynch. Photo courtesy of Pro Cantare.

Review: ‘Celebrations!’ Columbia Pro Cantare Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary at Jim Rouse Theatre

Columbia Pro Cantare celebrated a few occasions with its final performance of the Season with Celebrations! If you will note, Celebrations! is plural, because it not only marked the 40th Anniversary of Columbia Pro Cantare (CPC), but the 20th Anniversary of the Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School and the 50th Anniversary of Columbia. Sunday […]

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Sasha Cooke. Photo by Dario Acosta.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Presents Leonard Bernstein’s First Major Composition

Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 was the major undertaking at The Philadelphia Orchestra’s concerts of May 3, 5 and 6, 2017. Yannick Nézet-Séguin led the piece as a prelude to a year-long celebration of Bernstein’s centenary. (He was born on August 25, 1918.) Nézet-Séguin conducted the concerts in the midst of a three-week stint leading Wagner’s […]

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Photo: Marco Borggreve

Review: ‘Quatuor Danel’ at the Phillips Collection

Complex 20th century “classical music,” or more properly serious art music as opposed to various forms of popular music, seems to be a gamble. It’s never just as interesting to an audience as Beethoven, Brahms and the rest. It’s either less interesting than what they really came for, or sometimes if you get lucky, much […]

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Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943).

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Presents The Rachmaninoff Festival

During his lifetime, Sergei Rachmaninoff was more famous as a pianist than as a composer. Logically, therefore, The Philadelphia Orchestra’s current Rachmaninoff Festival is concentrating on the keyboard. The Rachmaninoff Festival includes three separate concert programs being given over three days, with short biographical plays preceding each concert and “Russian musical salons” after each concert. […]

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Mason Bates. Photo by Mike Minehan.

Review: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in ‘Energetic’ Music

Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s latest program with The Philadelphia Orchestra was an intelligently thought-out adventure. The central work was Alternative Energy by Mason Bates, in its East Coast premiere, and Nézet-Séguin chose two other compositions with similar subject matter. Bates focused on the uses of energy in 20th and 21st Century America, and as he imagined it […]

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Review: ‘The Four Seasons of Vivaldi and Piazzolla’ at The National Chamber Ensemble

Before a sold-out house Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, the National Chamber Ensemble wowed the audience with its creative revival of Antonio Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons, brought back by popular demand as a highlight of the Ensemble’s 10th anniversary season. Equally enjoyable and well-received was the opening number La Muerte del Angel […]

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Review: ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ at The Catholic University of America by Natalie Barsoum

Who would have thought that an evening of love, ambition, betrayal, violence, and death could be so enjoyable? That is precisely what last night’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor at The Catholic University of America was – enjoyable. Gaetano Donizetti’s macabre opera based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Bride of Lammermoor (a twisted Romeo […]

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Michael Tilson Thomas. Photo by Kristen Loken.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs Seeger, Berg & Beethoven with Guest Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

Contrast was stark in the concert which Michael Tilson Thomas led with The Philadelphia Orchestra. The first half displayed two radically dissonant pieces from the 1930s — Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Andante for Strings and Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto, while the second half was devoted to Beethoven’s classic Symphony No. 3 (the Eroica). You could make […]

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Review: Beethoven’s ‘Leonore’ at Washington Concert Opera

Washington Concert Opera (WCO) concluded its 30th anniversary season with a rare performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Leonore on stage at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium (“Lisner”). Artistic Director & Conductor Antony Walker selected this original version of the 1805 opera. The overarching dark and somber tone of the work reflects Beethoven’s own failure […]

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The viola section, featuring Rachel Ku,. Photo by Jessica Griffin.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs Brahms’ Eleven Chorale Preludes, Bach’s Cantata No. 150, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4

The Philadelphia Orchestra set of concerts during the last weekend of February was one of the most imaginatively conceived in recent memory. The program consisted of selections from Brahms’ Eleven Chorale Preludes, Bach’s Cantata No. 150, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. Johannes Brahms is the favorite composer of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Most musicians will avoid picking a favorite, […]

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Review: ‘Dead Man Walking’ at Washington National Opera

It is certainly a “Dark Night of the Soul” (St. John of the Cross) for Sister Helen Prejean in the contemporary opera Dead Man Walking. A meditative, spiritually resonant study of our common humanity in the face of unspeakable horror is presented in this probing Washington National Opera production with absolutely stunning production values, vocalizing […]

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Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White, Felix Umansky, Jaime Amador, Arturo Stable. (Photo taken at the sound check.) Photo by Brian Buttler.

Review: LiveConnections Presents Harlem Quartet + Arturo Stable

Once again, LiveConnections Presents (“LCP”) curator Mary Wheelock Javian’s musical matchmaking has produced a lively evening of musical discovery. This time it was the pairing of the Harlem Quartet with percussionist and University of the Arts professor Arturo Stable. As usual with LCP’s offerings, the first set featured the invited string players. The Harlem Quartet’s […]

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