Browsing: Orchestral

DALLAS, TX – Jaap van Zweden is gone and Fabio Luisi doesn’t take over until the 2020-2021 season, but the new man is stopping by often enough as music director designate to begin to give Dallas audiences a taste of what is to come. This past week he offered three works by American composers and a major chestnut in the form of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. All in all it was carefully-considered programming and the performances were very good. At the age of 60, Italian-born Fabio Luisi has an enormous repertoire and vast experience. But most of it is with European…

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Mariss Jansons, chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and former chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, died at his home in St. Petersburg on Nov. 30. He was 76. The Latvian-born maestro, who trained in St. Petersburg and Vienna, had cancelled concerts in November owing to what was widely presumed to be a heart condition. Jansons suffered a heart attack in Oslo in 1996. His father, the conductor Arvīds Jansons, died of a heart attack in 1984 at age 70. Music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1997 to 2004, Jansons first came to the attention…

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Comparisons might be invidious but they are sometimes essential. Or unavoidable. It would take quite an act of inner denial to discuss the OSM performance of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony as led on the morning of Nov. 28 by Kent Nagano with no reference to the pair given over the weekend in New York and Philadelphia by the Orchestre Métropolitain under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Possibly some in the Maison symphonique for the OSM also heard the OM in pre-tour launch mode on Nov. 16, although just who goes to which orchestra in this town remains a puzzle I expect never to solve.…

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James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster Titanic became one of the most profitable movies of all time, grossing over $2 billion at the box office and winning 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and more importantly, Best Original Song and Dramatic Score. The mere names of the two stars of Titanic continue to create a spontaneous craze. Leonardo di Caprio brilliantly (and with charm) embodies Jack, a penniless artist, while the well-bred but poor Rose is interpreted by Kate Winslet with all the sensitivity and emotion the role calls for. Celine Dion’s most iconic rendition of “My Heart Will Go…

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NEW YORK – It is possible to lose a sense of perspective after a good night of Bruckner. The critic in me urges caution. Best live Fourth Symphony I have heard in months! My heart suggests something a little less guarded. Best in…well, quite a while. Certainly the performance ranks among the signal achievements in the history of the Orchestre Métropolitain, which on Friday made its third stop on a four-city U.S. tour and, not incidentally, its debut at Carnegie Hall. You can imagine a new punch line to the old gag about how you get there: by having Yannick…

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Denis Mastromonaco, 45, had just finished a rehearsal of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances with the MSO, the resident orchestra of the sixth-largest city in Canada. “We are typically about 95, 98 members,” he explained. “It’s a healthy-sized orchestra.” The conductor was speaking about the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble that concluded its 2018-19 season with Mahler’s Second Symphony (“Resurrection”) and is looking forward to presenting a fully-staged production of Verdi’s La Traviata on Jan. 25 and 28. Other works Mastromonaco has led during his seven years as music director are Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Bruckner’s Fourth, Nielsen’s Fourth (“Inextinguishable”) and Vaughan Williams’s…

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The National Youth Orchestra of Canada (NYOC), in collaboration with the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), will present the Frenergy Tour from Nov.12 to 17. This historical association, made possible by the European Union Delegation to Canada, brings together 76 young musicians of exceptional ability. The tour takes them to Toronto, Kingston, Montreal and Ottawa. Led by the Austrian conductor Sascha Goetzel, the concerts will feature as soloist the fast-rising young violinist Blake Pouliot. Formerly a member of the NYOC, Pouliot is effusive about the organization. “I played with the orchestra in 2012 and 2103, an extraordinary experience that I…

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Why did it take so long to change the name? This is my first question for Boris Brott, artistic director of what is now called the Orchestre classique de Montréal. “Well, it was a hard decision and a matter of finding the right name,” the conductor says in what he calls his Toronto office – the Library Bar of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. “Whatever we considered didn’t seem to fit until one day, our accountant said, ‘Why not call it Orchestre classique de Montréal’ and everybody said, ‘Wow, that’s the right name!’ Even unilingual anglophones will understand it!” Boris…

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Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts his first Puccini opera at the Met: Turandot, starring Christine Goerke, which opens October 3   Franco Zeffirelli’s iconic production also stars Yusif Eyvazov and Riccardo Massi as Calàf, Eleonora Buratto as Liù, and James Morris as Timur.   The performance on October 6 inaugurates the Met’s new series of Sunday matinee performances.   Turandot will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the world on Saturday, October 12, as part of The Met: Live in HD series.   Later performances in the spring will star Nina Stemme in the title role   New York,…

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Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar” is a brave choice for an OSM season opener. Cast in five movements, it runs the gamut from sorrowful to scornful, confines itself vocally to males and makes many of its musical points at a sustained fortissimo. The Yevgeny Yevtushenko text refers to a Nazi massacre. The hourlong-plus experience can be onerous for a gala crowd, unless the performance is as inspired as it was under Kent Nagano Tuesday night in the Maison symphonique. It is hard to describe in words the mix of horror, irony and humanity that the composer calibrates so exactly…

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