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Tag Archives | Kimmel Center

Hilary Hahn. Photo by Michael Patrick O'Leary.

Review: Hilary Hahn Plays Bernstein with The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Leonard Bernstein Centenary continues with concerts by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra. Last weekend’s performances featured one of Bernstein’s most interesting (and relatively obscure) compositions — his Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium), for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion. That Plato Symposium, allow me to remind you, was a series of dissertations in ancient […]

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Matthew Rose. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Review: The Philadelphia Orchestra Gives a Haydn Masterpiece a Local Premiere

The programming of music by Haydn is unusual for The Philadelphia Orchestra. The choice is even more surprising coming from conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who is more associated with modern compositions by composers like Mahler, Bruckner and Stravinsky. Yet Nézet-Séguin chose Haydn’s The Seasons to fill the entire program in his concerts of November 16, 17 […]

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Review: ‘Finding Neverland’ at the Academy of Music

I went into Finding Neverland with high hopes. I had been enchanted by the 2004 film from which this musical has been adapted. The story, based on a play by Allan Knee, follows the (highly fictionalized) relationship between J. M. Barrie, the widowed Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and Llewelyn Davies’ four sons, who inspire Barrie to create […]

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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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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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Review: ‘Wicked’ at the Academy of Music

From its origins in L. Frank Baum’s1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to its adaptation in MGM’s blockbuster 1939 film The Wizard of Oz to its annual TV broadcast on CBS beginning in 1956 (which made it one of the best-known and most-viewed movies in history), the fantasy of Dorothy’s journey to the Land […]

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Review: ‘Motown The Musical’ at the Academy of Music

Bringing Detroit’s soulful music to the masses was the goal, and Berry Gordy showed he was ready for the challenge by creating the melodies of Motown. Written for the stage by Gordy (adapted from his own memoir), Motown The Musical is now onstage at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, as part of the Broadway […]

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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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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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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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Laura Michelle Kelly. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Review: ‘The King and I’ at the Academy of Music

More than sixty years after its debut, The King and I remains one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most popular and enduring musicals. The handsome national touring company of the recent Broadway revival is currently playing at the Academy of Music. This production is being featured by the Kimmel Center as a part of their Broadway Philadelphia series. Richard Rodgers’ timeless […]

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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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Adam Langdon. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Review: ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ at the Academy of Music

Words like breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and touching only begin to describe the epic journey experienced in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, currently playing at the Academy of Music. The story follows fifteen-year-old Christopher, a science and math genius on the autism spectrum, who decides to investigate the mysterious death of his neighbor’s […]

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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: The Philadelphia Orchestra Performs Mozart and Brahms

During the 44 years when Eugene Ormandy was music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra (1936 to 1980), he led almost every concert. There was scant need for guest conductors. Now the symphonic world is different. All prominent conductors dash from one city to another, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin needs to do this more than others because […]

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