Browsing: Classical

The one thing that keeps me from awarding this album the full five stars is that it is upside down. It opens with a perfectly decent performance of Bela Bartok’s first violin concerto by the Norwegian virtuoso Vilde Frang, with the Radio France philharmonic orchestra conducted by Mikko Franck. Frang, who is 32, has been performing since she was ten years old. Everything she does is perfectly lovely and agreeable. The first Bartok concerto, a youthful effusion of innocent love, is not going to change our lives. The octet, on the other hand, might. George Enescu was one of the great…

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REVIEW: of the Berkshire Opera Festival production of Giuseppe’s Verdi’s Rigoletto (August 25 at 1 p.m.; August 28 at 7:30 p.m. and August 31 at 7:30 p.m., at the Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, Massachusetts). Sex, power, seduction, revenge, and a dazzling lightning storm. Verdi’s gutsy 1851 operatic melodrama, Rigoletto, gets a fascinating, stylish, and unflinchingly close study in the Berkshire Opera Festival’s new production, running through August 31 at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (viewed here at the August 25 opening). Under director Jonathon Loy (who is also the festival’s co-founder), Verdi’s tale of a deformed court jester who seeks…

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PROFILE/REVIEW: of the 2018 Glimmerglass Festival Season: Silent Night by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell; West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim; Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček; and The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini and Cesare Sterbini. “It’s remarkable how many important things happened in 1918,” observes Glimmerglass Festival artistic and managing director Francesca Zambello, speaking at a recent pre-show audience address in Cooperstown. “The end of World War I. The birth of Leonard Bernstein. And the premiere of this piece” – this last a reference to Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, which was…

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Two problematic symphonies by a tortured composer are despatched by the Boston Symphony and its Latvian conductor with near-nonchalance.  The 4th, withheld by the composer for quarter of a century after Stalin’s attack on Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, is ultra-Mahlerian in its orchestration and ironies and utterly daring in its refusal to toe the party line of relentless positivism. The key to the composer’s intentions eludes many conductors. Andris Nelsons adopts a kind of Baltic neutrality in downplaying the score’s emotional extremes in the hope he won’t get mauled by the Russian bear. It’s a fine performance, lacking only the…

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PREVIEW: of the 2018 dell’Arte Opera Ensemble Summer Festival Season, “Mozart & Salieri,” at New York City’s LaMaMa (66 East 4th Street), August 11 through 26; and INTERVIEWS: with company founder and artistic director, maestro Chris Fecteau, and dell’Arte 2018 creative team members Brittany Goodwin and Catherine O’Shaughnessy. This company is ready to rumble. Call it the Thrilla from Vienna: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, that most bruited matchup of 18th Century musical titans, is slated for a redux this month – this time in 21st Century New York, courtesy of the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. Grab a ringside seat.…

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Toronto, July 25, 2018 – The Canada Council for the Arts, in collaboration with NYO Canada (National Youth Orchestra), is pleased to announce this year’s winners of the Michael Measures Prizes, which recognize promising young Canadian classical music performers. This year’s Michael Measures first prize of $25,000 goes to Martin Mangrum, of Montréal, who plays the French horn. Martin is a performance student at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. “I am honored and thrilled to receive the Canada Council for the Arts – Michael Measures Prize 2018.” -Martin Mangrum “The prize money will, of course, be…

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A warm summer evening at Domain Forget provided the setting for the premiere of Canadian baritone Phillippe Sly’s latest musical venture: Schubert’s Winterreise (A Winter Journey) Klezmer version. The show also marked the debut of his newly formed band “Le Chimera Project” featuring Karine Gordon (trombone), Jonathan Millette (violin) Samuel Carrier (accordion), Félix de l’Étoile (clarinet and bass clarinet) and Roy Rallo (staging). The band was formed about two years ago. Sly was inspired after hearing Samuel Carrier and Félix de l’Étoile perform one piece from Winterreise in an informal setting. He was also fascinated by the theme of an…

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INTERVIEW: with renowned composer John Rutter. Mark it a red-letter day in the Canadian classical music calendar: on Friday the 13th of July, John Rutter – among the world’s most beloved and widely performed living composers – arrives in Ottawa. “I feel very much at home in Canada,” Rutter says from his home in Great Britain. “I was quite a regular visitor in past years, when I was patron of the Toronto Mendelsohn Youth Choir. But this will be my first trip to Ottawa, and I’m very much looking forward to it.” It’s a journey occasioned by the two back-to-back…

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PREVIEW: Of “Cycles of My Being,” Carnegie Hall, April 24, 2018 – the New York premiere of a new song cycle by composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes, performed by tenor Lawrence Brownlee; and REVIEW: Of the song cycle’s earlier world premiere at Opera Philadelphia, February 20, 2018. “Cycles of My Being” – a new art song cycle about the contemporary black male experience, is a compact, provocative, movingly confessional musical experience. Created specifically for, and in collaboration with, acclaimed operatic tenor Lawrence Brownlee, the work proves to be an eloquent and lyrical disburdening of pain and alienation –…

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Montreal International Guitar Festival and Competition Again this year, the Montreal International Guitar Festival and Competition promises to be an event to follow. The program involving artists François Fowler, Jesus Serrano Huitron, Emma Rush, Roberto Fabri, Samuel Coyle, Tariq Harb, Jeffrey McFadden and Dave Pilon guarantees a rare spectacle. The festival continues its youth competition in addition to offering many master classes. Concerts start at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The musical cocktail is a mix of musicians of different nationalities. May 25-27, D.B. Clarke Theater. www.guitaremontreal.com 21C Music Festival The 21C Music Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary with…

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