Browsing: World Music

Worldbeat is now an integral part of the musical landscape. Those involved in the cross-pollination of music traditions have to be more imaginative than ever to satisfy audience demands. Montreal is a prime market in North America for cross-cultural music encounters. Here are but a few events to take note of in the weeks and months to come. Middle East to Far East at Place des Arts On Sept. 28, the Algerian soprano Fairouz Oudjida, celebrated as the “Diva of the Desert,” performs Du Sahara à l’opéra at the Cinquième Salle of Place des Arts. There will be plenty of…

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PUCCINI: La Bohème Elizabeth Caballero, sop. (Mimì) Kang Wang, ten. (Rofolfo) Noel Bouley, bar. (Marcello) Ashraf Sewailam, bass (Colline) Andrew Lovato, bar. (Schaunard) Susannah Biller, sop. (Musetta) Alison Moritz, stage director Michael Yeargan, scenic designer Walter Mahoney, costume designer Austin Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Peter Bay, conductor Long Center for the Performing Arts Austin, Texas May 2, 2019 Whenever lists are compiled of the most popular operas, La Bohème is invariably in the top two or three, with good reason. After more than a century, the beauty of its music and the appeal of its characters continue to win audiences. In…

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Verdi: Otello. A Festive Staged Concert Event. Issachah Savage (Otello); Marina Costa-Jackson (Desdemona); Michael Chioldi (Iago); Derek Taylor (Cassio). Concert Stage Director: Rebecca A. Herman Lighting Design: Thomas Hase Austin Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Steven White Long Center for the Performing Arts Austin, Texas November 15, 2018 Austin Opera has been presenting fully staged professional opera to audiences in Central Texas for the past 31 years, averaging three productions per season and maintaining a remarkably high standard; it came as a bit of a shock, then, when the company chose to open its 2018-2019 season with Verdi’s Otello in a concert…

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REVIEW: of The Anchoress, a world premiere of a new musical monodrama/song cycle composed by David Serkin Ludwig with text by Katie Ford, performed by soprano Hyunah Yu, accompanied by saxophone quartet PRISM and ancient-instrument ensemble Piffaro; on Wednesday, October 17, at the Perelman Theatre of Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and on Thursday, October 18, at New York City’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music (the latter performance reviewed here); and INTERVIEWS: with composer David Ludwig and poet Katie Ford. The impulse to retreat from the world in search of spiritual insight or purity has manifested throughout human history. Twenty-one centuries of Christianity…

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In October, the Nazeris (father and son, Shahram and Hafez) tour Canada with Untold, the latest chapter of the great Rumi Symphony project, an original fusion of occidental classical music and Persian traditional music presented by this famous family of Iranian artists. The project aims to promote love and peace by setting the widely appreciated works of the 13th-century mystic poet, Rumi, to music. “When I began this adventure, I imagined bringing together the distinctive personality and freedom of Persian music, the music of my culture, and the formal and very different expression of Occidental classical music,” says artistic director…

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Kleztory is a stunning example of the power and the universal nature of the language of klezmer music. Strange to say, this internationally renowned quintet does not have any members of Jewish origin. From Russia, Western Canada and Quebec, the five musicians came together for their shared love of traditional klezmer music – into which, however, they do not hesitate to take the liberty of weaving their diverse personalities. Their return from Trondheim, Norway, where they will participate in a festival of Jewish culture, will mark the beginning of a rich season of travel and gatherings. Sidewalks to Studios Clarinettist…

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PREVIEW: of the new opera, PermaDeath, by Cerise Lim Jacobs and Dan Visconti, which will play Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theatre for three performances, September 27, 28 and 29, 2018. The theater dims. A martial blare and glistening orchestral clamor suddenly rives the murmuring darkness, and a bewildering vista of strange, vast landscape floods the stage. Two beautiful, luminous, titanic beings – the sibling gods Apollo and Artemis – are in pitched battle with the massive, earthen Niobe and her fourteen grotesque offspring. The stuff of mythic dreams? Yes. But it’s also the planned dazzler of an opening for the new…

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Montreal’s reputation as a major platform for the promotion of world music has only been enhanced by the proliferation of musical gatherings that celebrate cultural collaboration. Here is an overview of some highlights of the 2018-2019 season. Nuits d’Afrique Nuits d’Afrique opens the season on Sept. 5 with a varied We MusiK program at Club Balattou animated by artists Élété and Ilam with the participation of several invited artists. The next day, the Rythmes au féminin (Feminine Rhythms) series presents an evening of traditional Guadeloupean music with the Lanmou Fanm Ka group. On Sept. 18, guitarist and author-composer Hampaté presents…

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REVIEW: of the 2018 Bard SummerScape production of Anton Rubinstein’s 1871 opera Demon; and INTERVIEW: with Dr. Leon Botstein (American Symphony Orchestra founder and SummerScape festival artistic director). A warning to all princes of the Caucasus – lock up your daughters! The devil is on the prowl, and he’s feeling amorous. Russian composer Anton Rubinstein’s 1871 opera, Demon, weaves a fascinating yarn of ultimate forbidden love. Based on an earlier, censored poem by Russian poetic genius Mikhail Lermontov, a demon (depicted as the very model of the proud, lonely, passionate Byronic tragic hero) finds himself smitten by the beauty of…

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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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