Browsing: Classical Music

by Paul E. RobinsonI must confess that I was reaching the point where I doubted I could sit through another performance of Carmen! The plot was too silly, the music overly familiar and the characters merely cardboard cutouts; then, along came the Royal Opera House production directed for the stage by Francesca Zambello, and for film by Julian Napier. Did I mention it was in 3D?This production of Carmen (poster: right) in 3D was a fantastic experience, and completely restored my faith in Bizet’s venerable opera. It also provoked me to question the Met’s pioneering efforts in streaming opera live…

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by Paul E. Robinson It was just over a year ago that Austin music lovers last heard Anne Akiko Meyers (photo: above) in an imaginative and brilliantly played recital at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas. Meyers had recently been appointed to the faculty at the school and – with a baby on the way – she and her husband had decided to move to Austin. What a coup for the school, its students and Austinites! We all looked forward to hearing Meyers on a regular basis; unfortunately, even the most carefully planned relationships don’t always…

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Composer John AdamsThis week marks the opening of the annual New Creations Festival at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. There will be three concerts from March 2 to 10 at the TSO featuring works by Gary Kulesha, Vincent Ho, Mason Bates, Jennifer Higdon, R. Murray Schafer and John Adams. Kicking off the festival this Wednesday are two works by John Adams, the first of which is Harmonielehre, or German for “study in harmony.” It is also the title of a book by Arnold Schoenberg. As the title suggests, this piece is an intricate interplay of Adams’ minimalism with Schoenberg’s atonality. Unlike…

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By Naomi [email protected]’Institut du cancer de Montréal recently staged its 4th annual Concert Contre le Cancer on a chilly February evening at Place des Arts. The gala commenced with a sumptuous cocktail reception for benefactors and sponsors, which was attended by Quebec Minister of Health, Dr. Yves Bolduc. Traiteur Dansereau, which is celebrating 75 delectable years in business, delighted palates with its dazzling dinner menu and luscious libations. Attendees were also kept busy bidding on fabulous auction lots, including a trip for two to Italy. Guests proceeded to Salle Wilfrid Pelletier for keynote addresses by ICM president André Boulanger, who heads distribution at Hydro-Québec, and campaign…

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Tenor Frederic Antoun (photo courtesy of IMG Artists)There is still time to catch the very wonderful Canadian Opera Company’s The Magic Flute this week. I went to see it for the 3rd (!) time yesterday… yes, I am a Flute junkie when it is as beautifully staged and sung as this production. Yesterday I was mightily impressed by the Quebec tenor Frederic Antoun. He sang with gorgeous tone and elegant phrasing, a perfect timbre for Mozart. I recall seeing his Belmonte with Opera Atelier about three years ago and he was just terrific. If memory serves, for some strange reason…

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Top: Papageno and PapagenaLeft: Tamino and Three LadiesLower Left: Tamino and PaminaBottom: Queen of the Night and Pamina(Photo Credit: Michael Cooper)Mozart: The Magic FluteFebruary 17, 2011 7:30 p.m. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing ArtsBy Joseph K. SoThe Magic Flute is an opera for young audiences and young singers. It was particularly true tonight in the special performance featuring artists from COC Ensemble Studio. The popular pricing also meant the house had a larger number of young people than usual. There was a special energy and a sense of occasion that made the evening an exciting one. The whimsical, light-hearted…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehThe strange thing about the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Feb. 10 concert is that it was billed as an “interesting”, “somewhat unexpected” and “unusual and engaging” concert by music director Peter Oundjian.Strange because it’s as if Oundjian, who most likely helped program the concert, had nothing else to say about the choice of works presented except that they would be in the fine hands of guest conductor Andrey Boreyko and pianist Garrick Ohlsson.As if that would have been enough.The Russian-born Boreyko is music director of the Dusseldorfer Symphoniker. His slim physique coupled with a killer Arabian vibe in…

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By L.H. Tiffany HsiehAs far as operas go, John Adams’ Nixon in China is undoubtedly grand. It runs for about three hours. And judging by the Canadian Opera Company premiere of the work first debuted in Houston Grand Opera in 1987, Nixon is here to stay.The Feb. 11 performance at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts was an memorable one, whether or not you would consider paying money to watch it again in the future by the end of it.Directed by James Robinson, the set is essentially bare as to match Adams’ minimalistic score, which is heavily influenced…

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Here is the Metropolitan Opera’s 2011-12 Season announcement.Wah Keung Chan—Seven New Productions, Including a World Premiere,a Met Premiere, and the Complete Ring Cycle,Headline the Met’s 2011-12 SeasonJames Levine conducts the final two installments of Robert Lepage’s production of the Ring: Siegfried and Götterdämmerung; complete cycles scheduledfor April and May 2012The season opens with the first-ever Met performance of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena,starring Anna Netrebko in the first of two new productions she sings this season; Laurent Pelly’s production of Manon follows in AprilThe world premiere of The Enchanted Island, a pastiche of Baroque music and Shakespearean comedy, opens on New Year’s EveTony Award-winning stage directors Michael Grandage and Des McAnuffmake their Met debuts…

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By Frank Cadenhead The prime-time live telecast Monday night, February 14, of the French show Victoires de la Musique Classique was already good news. This is the top awards show for classical music in France, comparable to America’s Grammy awards, and it focuses mainly on French artists. But in competition with other shows on the major channels, its traditionally weak ratings always cause talk of taping it and showing it on off hours. This year, from the convention center in the city of Nantes, it headlined the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and their engaging young American conductor, John…

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