Browsing: Romantic

REVIEW: LoftOpera’s new production of Rossini’s Otello; INTERVIEWS: with maestro Sean Kelly, director John de los Santos, and soprano Cecilia Violetta López. They’ve Done It Again Scrappy, iconoclastic, resourceful, and unaffectedly hip, the LoftOpera company has been doing its own thing since 2013, demonstrating time and again – and with streetwise savvy – how an opera grows in Brooklyn. No rarefied proscenium-framed hothouse required. Just outer-borough grit, plus equal parts determination and talent. Then watch what springs up in a loft on the Gowanus Canal or a repurposed Navy Yard garage; a former brass foundry, a derelict warehouse, or a…

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This is one of those treasurable major-label releases, made with the best of intentions, in which everything turns out wrong. Mahler wrote The Song of the Earth for high tenor and alto, singing alternate movements. It can also be sung by tenor and baritone if no alto sounds right. The chief requirement is a tenor who needs to sing high and very loud – a Siegfried kind of voice that can surmount the force of full orchestra. This is as much a competition for two soloists and orchestra as a composition. Jonas Kaufmann tells us he has loved the work…

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The Ladies’ Morning Musical Club advertises a venerable history with its very name. On Feb. 5 in Pollack Hall the organization paid tribute to its 125th anniversary by asking Stewart Goodyear to recreate Glenn Gould’s Montreal debut recital of 1952. Gould is the quintessentially inimitable pianist, yet Goodyear in Orlando Gibbons’ Pavan and Galliard for the Earl of Salisbury demonstrated straightway a certain affinity with his fellow Torontonian by making the left and right hands seem so indepedent. Perhaps his eagerness to use the full sound of the Steinway was a individual trait. Oddly, Bach’s Partita No. 5 flew by…

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REVIEW:  Opera Philadelphia’s new production of Rossini’s early masterpiece, Tancredi; INTERVIEWS: with the production’s stars – mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, soprano Brenda Rae. “What a wonderful thing – to be able to go to the theater and see something like this, and have it be totally new!” says mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe of Tancredi, the early – and all too rarely revived – 1813 “heroic opera” by Gioachino Rossini, which Blythe currently headlines at Opera Philadelphia. “This piece is new!” Certainly, the crisp, glorious sound; the luxe look; and the energized performances of this exquisite new production all speak freshness and vitality.…

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Ehnes Quartet: James Ehnes & Amy Schwartz Moretti, violins; Richard O’Neill, viola; Robert deMaine, cello Franz Schubert: String Quartet No. 14 in D minor “Death and the Maiden” D810; Jean Sibelius: String Quartet in D minor, “Intimate Voices” Op. 56 Onyx 2016. 4163. 74 min 3 s. You rarely get a ­pairing of Schubert and Sibelius. The ­latter gets the ­“nationalist composer” ­treatment, often found paired with other Scandinavians like Grieg, sometimes even with a Slav or two thrown in for good measure. And Schubert? Well, you can find him wherever you find good, wholesome ­German music. This new release…

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Let’s get this out of the way: singer and songwriter Lewis Furey has a style like Rufus Wainwright ­– you either like his timbre and affected singing style or you don’t. When the evening of Furey’s Brahms Lieder concert began, I have to admit that I didn’t. His sforzando word play and sporadic British-like accent sapped the melody out of the opening song Wie Melodien zieht es mir, which he translated as Just a Feeling. But after the second song, I started to forget about his voice – the 67 year old Furey doesn’t pretend to be a virtuoso – and began to…

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PROFILE AND INTERVIEW:  An advance discussion with Avner Dorman about his new opera: Wahnfried “When I started working on this project,” recalls Avner Dorman, “there were people who said it could be controversial.” Those people were probably right, but it doesn’t faze Dorman in the least. From my point of view,” the celebrated American-Israeli composer replies, “I think that’s a good thing for an opera.” Dorman, best known to date for his “intricate craftsmanship and rigorous technique” in a dazzling array of orchestral, chamber, dance and vocal works, is about to have his first opera, Wahnfried, premiered at the Badisches…

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Whenever I watch any opera by Mascagni and Leoncavallo other than ‘Cav’ and ‘Pag’ I have no trouble understanding why the two composers went down in history as one-hit wonders. True, there are those who make claims for Leoncavallo’s La Boheme (Mahler deemed it vastly inferior to Puccini’s) and others are thrilled by Mascagni’s sex-slave Iris, but neither work has struck me as more than a barrel-scraping of the short-lived 1890s verismo craze, deservedly occupying the fringes of musical memory. All the more reason, then, to eat a few of my words on this first encounter with Guglielmo Ratcliff, a…

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REVIEW AND COMPANY PROFILE:  LoftOpera’s unique, found-site production of Verdi’s Macbeth (viewed December 14, 2016) The production has run its course, the drums are silent. But a rising subterranean tattoo of enthusiasm for the vibrant LoftOpera brand of alt-opera experience goes on, and it’s well worth logging a memoir of the company’s most recent happening. A Drum, a Drum! Macbeth Doth Come! Fate has calendared a rendezvous for you in the wilds of Brooklyn. You trek through hell and high water – not to mention some of the borough’s more recherché endroits – to get there. Witches gambol and do…

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Les Grands Ballets performs The Nutcracker with loving attention to detail and 53 years of experience. The author of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Prussian storyteller, jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776–1822), rebelled against Enlightenment excess, with its emphasis on rational philosophy and the curtailing of the imagination. He and his German Romantic confrères strove to honour nature, memorialize innocence, and reclaim an authentic way of living. Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the 1960s in a Nutcracker—er, nutshell. Hoffmann’s satirical and self-parodying tales pioneered the fantasy genre. His taste for the macabre combined with…

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