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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Here We Go Again–Andris Nelsons Will Record (Gasp!) Beethoven and Bruckner

There was a time when recording a Beethoven cycle was an enterprise undertaken with the benefit of a lifetime’s familiarity with the music, redolent with the (theoretical) wisdom of—if not old—at least a very mature age. Many of the greatest 20th-century conductors never completed their recorded traversals of all nine symphonies, at least not in […]

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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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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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