Browsing: Classical Music

by Giuseppe PennisiGenerally, Strauss-Hofmannsthal’s “tragedy for music” Elektra is normally performed in comparatively small opera houses in Germany and in a few Central European countries. Most administrators and musical directors are scared by the thought of assembling a 115-piece orchestra, five Wagnerian singers, a large number of soloists in smaller roles and keeping the audience enthralled in their seats for nearly two hours of extreme tension and emotion.Well, this season two different productions of Elektra can be seen in Italian Provincial theatres. They are quite successful and surprisingly attract also a new and younger audience, and they are likely to be revived next season.Italy…

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Pianist Avan Yu gives a noon hour concert at The New Classical 96.3 FM on March 1, the 200th anniversary of Frederic Chopin’s birthday.Photo: Soula ZizidisOn Monday March 1st, the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Polish composer Frederic Chopin. Toronto’s classical radio station, The New Classical 96.3 FM, opened its doors by inviting music lovers for a free noon hour concert starring Chinese Canadian pianist Avan Yu, winner of the 2004 Canadian Chopin Competition. It was followed by a lunch reception, complete with birthday cake! Broadcast live over the airwaves as well as webcast…

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by Giuseppe PennisiIn 2009, the death of Giuseppe Martucci was an important centenary that received scant notice, even in Italy. The main event was a series of concerts by Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma (OSR; see La Scena’s blog on December 18th) in the gardens of the Caserta’s Royal Palace. Caserta is near Capua, where Martucci was born in 1856. Its Royal Palace is the Southern Italian equivalent of Versailles. Naxos and the OSR have taken a major step to preserve the memory of Martucci with the release of an elegant blue and gold box set of four CDs containing Martucci’s complete…

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by Paul E. Robinson The Dallas Opera has a long and illustrious history. It was founded in 1957 and its first presentations featured the legendary Maria Callas in a Zeffirelli production of La Traviata, as well as in Medea, and Lucia di Lammermoor. Other big stars followed, including Montserrat Caballé, Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland and Jon Vickers.Those were Dallas Opera’s Golden Years; unfortunately, the money just wasn’t there to sustain the company at this level, especially when performances had to be given in the enormous and inhospitable Music Hall at Fair Park. Today, over 50 years after its inception, with…

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Painting of Frederic Chopin by Eugene Delacroix, 1838. On Monday (March 1) two hundred years ago, the great Frederic Chopin was born. Although he died in 1849 in Paris, at the young age of 39, his impact on the piano world was indelible. This week, there will be numerous events around the world celebrating his 200th anniversary. (In fact, the celebration has already begun on Feb. 22, the date of his actual birthday based on church records) Famous pianists and Chopin interpreters the likes of Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim and Yundi Li, to name a few, are giving concerts to…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehIt was hot at Markham Theatre on Wednesday night, when violinist Sarah Chang and pianist Andrew von Oeyen fed a full house of hungry audience with something temperamental, something serene, and something romantic.The instrumental duo’s evident chemistry was a powerhouse in Brahms’s Sonatensatz and Sonata No. 3 in D minor. Chang, at times aggressive but never forceful, was sensitive to the expressive details. Along with von Oeyen’s vibrant and solid playing, the pair produced urgency and drama through the stormy passages.Opening the second half of the program was American composer Christopher Theofanidis’ Fantasy for violin and piano.…

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by Paul E. RobinsonThere are plenty of recordings of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 Op. 60 (Leningrad), but one rarely gets a chance to hear it in concert. The same could be said, only more so, for Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto Op. 15. To have them both offered on the same program is a special treat; thus, Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony (DSO) had me excited even before they played the first note of this concert at Morton Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas. As it happens, these two works were composed within a few years of each other:…

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Quebec conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin leads the Rotterdam Philharmonic at Roy Thomson HallPhoto: Marco BorggreveToronto classical music lovers rejoice – your cups truly runneth over this week! The opera and the symphony are both in full swing, plus there are a number of special events, including several eminent international artists in town for recitals and workshops. For me, the highest profile visitor this week is Quebec wunderkind Yannick Nezet-Seguin who is making a stop at Roy Thomson Hall, this time with his own band, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, as part of their North American Tour. The single performance takes place on…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehIt was big-band swinging and hip-hop belly-dancing Bach, the very J.S. like you’ve never heard.In a program titled Bach Re-Invented, the New York-based Absolute Ensemble made its Canadian debut at Toronto’s Koerner Hall Thursday night. Led by conductor Kristjan Järvi, the 18-piece electro-acoustic ensemble gave Bach’s keyboard inventions a contemporary makeover that is anything and everything goes. Jazz, funk, classical, rock, hip-hop, Latin, Middle Eastern, and whatever else you can identify, it was all there, with funky stage lighting to boot.Son of conductor Neeme Järvi and brother to Paavo Järvi, Kristjan, who was married to Canadian violinist…

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Musique, théâtre, et danse à Montréal cette semaineMusic, theatre, and dance in Montreal this weekOrchestral Music: Kent Nagano leads the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in a varied programme on February 15 and 16 at Place des Arts. Austrian pianist Till Fellner (pictured here), a protégé of Alfred Brendel, will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #1. Fellner is currently recording all five Beethoven Piano Concertos with Nagano and the OSM. Also on the programme is the world premiere of Gilles Tremblay’s L’Origine, featuring mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier. 514-842-2112, www.osm.ca – Hannah RahimiThéâtre : En février, le Théâtre du Rideau vert met à l’affiche…

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