Archive | Concerts

Estonian Choir in Church with Arvo Pärt

Church of St Ignatius Loyola, New York, NY; February 1, 2017—Presented by the organization Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, the concert on February 1st was in the exquisite German Baroque Revival Church of St Ignatius Loyola on 84th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan; surroundings and music were perfectly wed. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber […]

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Riccardo Muti Returns to La Scala

La Scala, Milan, January 21, 2017—Riccardo Muti’s return to La Scala has been a long time coming. The opera house and its former music director parted on painful terms back in 2005. Thereafter he had conducted here only once: with the Vienna Philharmonic that same year. On this occasion the public turned up in droves […]

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Royal Concertgebouw Leads Bychkov In Mahler 5th

Carnegie Hall, New York: November 30, 2016, 8pm Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Semyon Bychkov (cond.) Detlev Glanert is a contemporary composer who takes himself very seriously. His Theatrum bestiarum, subtitled “Songs and Dances for Large Orchestra” supposedly explores the juxtaposition of man and beast, expresses primal terror, and has something to do with Caligula. The piece […]

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Rossini’s Operatic Swan Song, Guillaume Tell, At The Met

Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, N.Y. October 25, 2016—It has been 80 years since the Metropolitan Opera staged Rossini’s final opera, Guillaume Tell. A gigantic work lasting four-plus hours, here it is presented almost complete, with only a piece of ballet and a few recitatives omitted—about 15 minutes’ worth. The issue with it is not its […]

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Ailyn Perez Sings Glorious Mimi At The Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY, September 28, 2016—It’s always good to re-visit the Met’s production of La bohème, particularly when new singers have been called in to navigate the vast stage with Franco Zeffirelli’s stunning and gargantuan sets. Critics balk at the scale of the production, some claiming that the singers get lost in […]

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Mascagni’s Overwrought Iris Shines At Bard

The Fisher Center, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y; July 31, 2016—Although Mascagni’s Iris never achieved the popularity of the composer’s Cavalleria rusticana, within four years of its Rome premiere it had been heard in Milan, all over Europe, in South America, and in New York. To my ears, it comes in third in Mascagni’s oeuvre, after […]

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Daniel Catan’s Florencia Invigorates New York City Opera

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater; New York—The second installment in the New York City Opera’s hoped-for renaissance recently emerged victorious, unlike its ill-advised Tosca several months ago. Borrowing the production from Nashville Opera, it presented the New York premiere of Daniel Catan’s lush, neo-Romantic Florenzia en el Amazonas, which premiered in Houston in 1996 […]

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A Tale of Two Hammerklaviers

David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, NY; May 8, 2016/Carnegie Hall, NY; May 14, 2016—It’s not often that one hears two performances of Beethoven’s monumental “Hammerklavier” sonata (the classical piano repertoire’s Mt. Everest) in close proximity. But that’s what happened on two consecutive weekends this month, first with Murray Perahia at Lincoln Center, followed by Yuja […]

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Camarena Conquers The Met Again In Donizetti Comedy

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; March 15, 2016—Don Pasquale, Donizetti’s final comic opera, and fifth from last of a list of almost 70, is a gem, dessert-like in its airiness, with a few poignant moments as well. Amid all of the familiar plot conventions involving tricking an old, foolish man out of his romantic […]

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Senseless War-Torn Manon Lescaut

Metropolitan Opera, New York; February 15, 2016—Manon as film noir femme fatale? Well, she certainly is selfish and leads her lover to ruin, but why on earth update the opera to the 1940s in Nazi-occupied France? For those who have seen quite enough Nazis in opera productions that do not call for fascism of any sort, […]

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