Author Archive | David Hurwitz

Tosca Storms the Bastille: Massive Casualties Reported

Bastille Opera (Paris): January 25, 2002–Victorien Sardou, the French playwright who wrote the original Tosca, would probably be amused that his work has achieved immortality in his own land in an Italian operatic version. Of course the story, which I assume is familiar to all in its general outlines, takes place in Rome. Still, it […]

Continue Reading

The Met’s Fantastic New Frau

Metropolitan Opera House, New York: January 1, 2002–After the 1919 premiere of Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The Woman Without A Shadow), Strauss expressed his dissatisfaction with the work in a letter to his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, in which he noted, among other things, that it “lacked the necessary lightness of touch.” Boy was he […]

Continue Reading

Gergiev and Toradze: 1; Prokofiev: 0

Carnegie Hall: December 15, 2001–Valerie Gergiev ought to be a master at Prokofiev’s music, as his numerous successful recordings of the composer’s operas and ballets attest. What a shock, then, to hear such indifferent playing and conducting when he, his Kirov Orchestra, and Alexander Toradze gave an all-Prokofiev program recently at Carnegie Hall. The opening […]

Continue Reading

Juilliard and Mahler “Resurrection” Triumph

Carnegie Hall: December 10, 2001–The Juilliard Orchestra and Choral Union under the direction of Jahja Ling presented an absolutely first-class performance of Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection.” A major test for any orchestra, only the slightest corporate timidity from the otherwise excellent winds and a touch of rhythmic unsteadiness in the strings in […]

Continue Reading

Christoph Wolff: Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician

W.W. Norton and Co. (599 pages; Hardcover) Harvard professor and eminent Bach scholar Christoph Wolff’s new book Bach: The Learned Musician belongs in the library of anyone who enjoys reading musical biography. His compendious knowledge, not just of his subject, but also of Bach’s political, artistic, intellectual, and geographical environment allows him to demystify and […]

Continue Reading