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Archive | Classical Music

Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo courtesy The Metropolitan Opera.

Review: ‘Norma’ at The Metropolitan Opera and Live in HD

The new Metropolitan Opera production of Norma, which opened the company’s season, is the most intimate presentation of Vincenzo Bellini’s classic that I’ve ever seen. Norma is an impressive monument and has been called “the Mount Everest of operas.” Yet director David McVicar sees it as a family story, and conductor Carlo Rizzi conducts it […]

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The ensemble and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Review: ‘West Side Story’ staged by The Philadelphia Orchestra

West Side Story has never sounded as good as in last weekend’s performances by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra. It even surpassed Leonard Bernstein’s own recording, which sounds sluggish in comparison. Never once did Yannick and the Philadelphians sound like a symphony orchestra performing a pops concert. Rather, the 42-year-old led a jazzy performance […]

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200x200 Garrick Ohlsson

Review: National Symphony Orchestra with Guest Conductor Juanjo Mena and Pianist Garrick Ohlsson at The Kennedy Center Concert Hall (Final Performance TODAY, 10-15-17 at 3:00 p.m.)

It’s not unusual for concertgoers to be greeted by the sounds of orchestra members tuning their instruments, so commencing Thursday night’s concert with Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates’s Auditorium, whose opening scrapes, bleats, squeaks and toots could easily be taken for those of an orchestra warming up, was both genial joke and masterstroke. Making his […]

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Sage DeAgro-Ruopp. Photo courtesy Curtis Institute of Music.

Review: ‘Impressions of Pelléas’ at the Curtis Institute of Music

Claude Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, is a unique masterpiece. But it’s very long: five acts, around four hours. So director and playwright Peter Brook in 1992 devised an adaptation called Impressions of Pelléas which runs 95 minutes, and which the Curtis Opera Theater presented last weekend. What sets Pelléas et Mélisande apart is its […]

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Member of the Catholic University of American Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of CUA.

Review: Catholic University of America’s Chamber Orchestra Performs an Evening of Music by Rossini, Bizet and de Falla by Natalie Barsoum

By Natalie Barsoum The neoclassical room at the Former Spanish Ambassador’s Residence was the perfect backdrop for the sold-out concert of the Catholic University of America’s Chamber Orchestra. On October 5, in collaboration with the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain, they presented an evening of music by Gioachino Rossini, Georges Bizet, and Manuel […]

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Maestro Gianandrea Noseda. Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

Report: ‘National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Gala Performance’ Conducted by Maestro Gianandrea Noseda and Featuring Yo-Yo Ma and Cynthia Erivo

Listen up, DC! There is a new Maestro in town. Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, whose impressive resume ranks him as one of the world’s most sought after conductors, opened his inaugural season as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra with a gala performance of Leonard Bernstein compositions. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soloist Cynthia Erivo accompanied […]

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We Shall Not Be Moved, Wilma Theater, Opera Philadelphia

Review: ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ by Opera Philadelphia

The sole Philadelphia-based offering in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival is We Shall Not Be Moved. Its powerful message is that the city’s children, and particularly its black children, are deprived of decent education, housing and safety. The message is delivered with stirring music, impressive direction and excellent performances. This message is linked to the tragic […]

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War Stories, Opera Philadelphia

Review: ‘War Stories’ by Opera Philadelphia

War Stories is a clever pairing of two music dramas dealing with battles, presented by Opera Philadelphia as part of its O17 Festival. The two separate compositions are staged in adjacent areas of the Philadelphia Museum of Art — its stone cloisters and its Great Stair Hall — next to displays of medieval military armaments. Adding […]

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Maeve Höglund. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: World Premiere of ‘The Wake World’ by Opera Philadelphia

Inside a museum dedicated to art from the past, the O17 Festival has brought a new opera which celebrates musical and literary styles from the past. Composer/librettist David Hertzberg built upon musical forms from the same time period, a century ago, when Albert Barnes was acquiring his unique collection. This is a clever, site-specific staging […]

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Sondra Radvanovsky. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier.

Review: Sondra Radvanovsky in Recital at Opera Philadelphia

Sondra Radvanovsky’s recital as part of Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival was a spectacular event. That may seem like an oxymoron to some readers, who expect singer/pianist recitals to be intimate communions. She is a tall, majestic-looking woman with a huge voice. Here she entered what was, for her, the unfamiliar territory of small-scaled personal communication, […]

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Daniela Mack. Photo by Steven Pisano.

Review: ‘Elizabeth Cree’ at Opera Philadelphia

The British statesman Winston Churchill coined the expression, “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” He was speaking of the Soviet Union. The quotation, however, also could be applied to Elizabeth Cree, the murder-mystery opera which had its world premiere Thursday night, launching Opera Philadelphia’s O17 Festival of five productions within […]

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Edward Parks. Photo by Ken Howard.

Review: ‘The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs’ at Santa Fe Opera

Steve Jobs was a revolutionary genius in communicating. He showed the world how to get “everything” anyone needed on a single gadget. Yet he was a spectacular failure in communicating with his friends and family on a personal level. That’s the essence of his story, and it contains basic conflict, which is the stuff of […]

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Brenda Rae. Photo by Ken Howard.

Review: ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ at Santa Fe Opera

Editor’s note: Our Steve Cohen continues his posts on the arts scene in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a look at Santa Fe Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Lucia di Lammermoor, the second opera I attended during my four night visit to Santa Fe, had several notable aspects, plus direct connections with Philadelphia. […]

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Anna Christy. Photo by Ken Howard.

Review: ‘Alcina’ at Santa Fe Opera

Editor’s Note: Our Steve Cohen is in Santa Fe, New Mexico this week, where he’s enjoying the local arts scene and seeing the work of Santa Fe Opera, a company with a close connection to Opera Philadelphia. That connection has resulted in highly acclaimed productions like The Elixir of Love and Cold Mountain, both of […]

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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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