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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A Welcome Latonia Moore in Met’s Butterfly

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; March 2, 2016—Four years ago I attended a Saturday matinee performance of Aida at the Met at which a soprano named Latonia Moore was announced moments before the curtain rose as a replacement for an indisposed colleague. A sturdy, handsome African-American woman, she had every bit the measure of […]

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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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New Voices In Met’s “Zeffirelli Bohème”

Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, NY; January 19, 2016–It’s always nice to check in with the Met’s opulent, extravagant, now-34-year-old production of La bohème, just one of two Franco Zeffirelli productions that remain (the other is his Turandot). Zeffirelli was one of the 20th century’s great directorial and design maximalists, and his production still produces “oohs” […]

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Classical Gourmet: Essential Kitchen Companions

When we’re not listening to or writing about recordings–or, actually, sometimes when we are–Dave Hurwitz and I can usually be found in the kitchen, cooking, cutting, baking, frying, curing, proofing, stewing, or, well, you get the picture. For the past 15 years we’ve used our own kitchens as virtual test kitchens, trying all sorts of […]

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Six Christmas CDs That Always Make The List, Pt. 1

Over the past 20-plus years I have accumulated hundreds of Christmas CDs–featuring choirs, orchestras, brass ensembles, guitar, harp, string quartet, piano, organ, etc., etc.–and I appreciate most of them for various reasons; but no matter how many newcomers join the collection, there are a few “oldies” that have more than stood the test of time. […]

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Tchaikovsky Competition 1st Prize Winners To Make U.S. Debut At Carnegie Hall

New York, NY, October 8, 2015 – On October 24, the Mariinsky Foundation of America will present the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition First Prize Winners’ Recital at Carnegie Hall, which will mark the young artists’ New York debut. Part of a worldwide tour following the announcement of the winners in Moscow this summer, the Carnegie […]

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