Browsing: Contemporary

Review: Another Brick in the Wall, l’Opéra de Montréal Viewed: March 13, 2017 At first glance, an adaptation of Pink Floyd’s 1979 concept album The Wall seems an odd choice for part of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary. However, a brief reflection on the genesis of the album brings this choice into better focus. According to rock legend, the story for The Wall came to Pink Floyd bassist and songwriter Roger Waters after a performance in Montreal: after allegedly spitting on a fan at show at the Olympic Stadium in July 1977, Waters turned inward and began to reflect on the excesses…

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Mark Adamo, in conversation with Charles Geyer It started as an idea over drinks. It became a quest to “achieve everything.” In 2002, Larry Edelson, then an assistant opera director completing his graduate degree at NYU, and Mark Adamo, the celebrated American composer-librettist of Little Women (one of the most oft-produced and critically lauded new operas of recent decades), were discussing – take a guess – American opera. Not how great it was, or how imperiled it was; not its funding nor its popularity – but something much more fundamental, and mysterious: Where it came from. The opera field was…

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On paper, turning Pink Floyd’s rock opera The Wall into a classical opera was a no-brainer. The 1979 album sold 23 million copies and the 1982 film reached cult status, thereby guaranteeing box office success. Indeed, leading up to its world premiere, Opéra de Montreal (OdM)’s production of Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera had extended its run twice to 10 nights, selling 150% more tickets than for the company’s normal four-performance productions, based upon name recognition alone. But ticket buyers wanting to relive some of Pink Floyd’s catchy tunes were in for disappointment on opening night. Composer Julien…

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In the Hollywood walk of composing fame, Hanns Eisler is the forgotten man. Erich Korngold was the founding father, Waxman and Newman the busy bees, Rosza and Herrmann the atmosphere merchants. Eisler, who wrote the first book on composing for film and treated the craft as an art in its own right, is all but pushed off the sidewalk. A Hitler refugee, Eisler landed in New York in 1938, taught for three years at the New School, then moved to Los Angeles to work with Bertolt Brecht. In 1948, he was forced to leave the US during Senator McCarthy’s witch-hunt,…

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OPERA REVIEW: Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players, presented by the little OPERA theatre of NY; and INTERVIEW: with the work’s creator, acclaimed American composer Carlisle Floyd. “You will be hearing more about Carlisle Floyd,” said Howard Taubman in 1956, writing in The New York Times of “a young composer who teaches at Florida State University,” whom Taubman deemed “meant for the lyric theatre.” And barely three years later, composer, critic, and educator Eric Salzman (also in the Times) already discerned in Floyd a voice that had “prepared the way for the burst of American works that followed.” The young man…

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017: When Opera Philadelphia’s new adaptation of Lars von Trier’s searing Oscar-nominated film,Breaking the Waves made its world premiere in September 2016, the New York Times declared the opera “ambitious, accomplished, [and] dramatically direct,” and Opera Newssaid it “stands among the best 21st-century American operas yet produced.” It has since earned an International Opera Award nomination for Best World Premiere and made its New York debut with Beth Morrison Projects’ Prototype Festival to continued acclaim.Now, starting on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 1 p.m., home audiences the world over can listen to this spellbinding production in its…

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On Saturday, the reputable Boston Symphony Orchestra played at the Maison Symphonique. The last time the orchestra visited Montreal was in 1984, more than 30 years ago. Boston Symphony Orchestra: Interview with the conductor, the young 38-year-old Andris Nelsons. [La Presse]  Boston Symphony Orchestra: Concert review by [La Presse] Some tough criticism of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Maison Symphonique. [Le Devoir] CANADA : The OSM has unveiled a new video on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OSMconcerts/status/838396186407145472 Review of the all-Schubert concert by pianist András Schiff on Friday at the Maison Symphonique. [Le Devoir] The exposition Carnets naturalistes by Denise Blackburn runs until April…

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Here are your daily headlines in classical music and the arts ! Hard to believe, but it’s true: “Classical music concerts in Germany are officially more popular than football matches,” even though they have one of the best football teams in the world. [The Strad] [ClassicFM] CANADA OSM POP: Review of Arianne Moffatt’s concert with the OSM at the Maison Symphonique. [La Presse] [Le Devoir] Twittosphère : Yesterday at the McCord museum, guest speaker Monique Savoir said that Montreal should be more adventurous in its architectural projects. The former artistic director of the Orchestre symphonique du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and former director of the Conservatoire…

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In half a century of listening to records, I cannot recall ever hearing music by the noted French pedagogue Nadia Boulanger. Revered by a stream of American (Copland, Harris, Carter, Glass) and British (Berkeley, Musgrave, Maw) pupils, the formidable Mademoiselle deferred to the music of her short-lived sister Lily and barely spoke of herself as a composer. Two releases, newly landed, may help to adjust that misperception. On Delos, an outpouring of early songs betray an uncritical adoration of Debussy, with touches of Saint-Saëns, Franck and a hint of the Russians. Nicole Cabell, Alek Shrader and Edwin Crossley-Mercer make the…

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Worlds Apart Christina Petrowska Quilico Centrediscs, 2017. CMCCD 23717, 2 CD. 88 min 13 s. Christina Petrowska Quilico dropped a new album today – a cross-section of Canadian piano repertoire – that features a wide variety of post-modern compositional techniques. In this two-CD set, the first disc is entitled Classics with a Twist – a way to dip your big toe in the pool before jumping in headfirst in the second. With overt references to the titans of Romantic piano repertoire – Schumann, Brahms, and Chopin – Rea, Koprowski, and Gellman dish up the familiar in surprising ways. The second…

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