Author Archive | Robert Levine

Transparent, Illuminating Monteverdi From Tenet

Church of St Jean Baptiste, Lexington and 76th Street, New York; January 3, 2019—Tenet’s Green Mountain Project is celebrating its 10th anniversary, and as usual, and gratefully, Monteverdi’s great Vespers of 1610 is central to their programming. Their approach to the work always has been devotional rather than celebratory, but this hardly means the reading […]

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Radvanovsky A Brilliant Tosca At The Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York, N.Y. November 5, 2018—The David McVicar Tosca that replaced the hated Luc Bondy production is a finely traditional affair. It arrived at the Met on New Year’s Eve, 2017, with Sonya Yoncheva and Vittorio Grigolo as the protagonists, and as was becoming their youth and charm, he portrayed […]

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Superb All-Haydn Program From Clarion

Church of St Jean Baptiste, 76th st and Lexington Avenue, NY; May 23, 2018—On the evening of May 23rd, the now- 60-year-old Clarion Orchestra and Choir gave the last concert of its under-publicized season at the Church of St Jean Baptiste. A major influence on the music of the Baroque and Classical era in the […]

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A Shining, Brilliant Star Joins the Cast of Lucia at the Met

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY. April 11, 2018–After a run of five performances of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in which tenor Vittorio Grigolo far outshone the evening’s Lucia–the puzzlingly bad Olga Peretyatko–April 11th brought a welcome role debut at the Met in the person of Jessica Pratt. The 39-year-old British/Australian soprano has been lauded […]

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Stylized Look, Virtuoso Singing in Met’s Semiramide

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY; March 6, 2018—Rossini’s Semiramide, all four hours of it, is more a pageant and showcase than it is a dramatic whole. It’s not easy to engage an audience in the politics of ancient Babylon, so, as was his wont, Rossini keeps us riveted by showing us what singers are […]

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Angel Blue, The Met’s New Mimi

Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NY, October 2, 2017–Franco Zeffirelli’s 36-year-old staging of La bohème at the Met is getting another workout this season, and the first performance brought three debuts. Primary was conductor Alexander Soddy, a 37-year-old Brit who is music director of Mannheim’s National Theatre, where his polyglot taste has taken him from […]

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Glimmerglass’ Porgy A Perfect Grand Opera Version

Glimmerglass Festival, Alice Busch Theater, Cooperstown, NY; August 13, 2017—Deep in operatic lore is the story of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The work is through-composed and huge in scale, and Gershwin opted to have it performed in a Broadway theater despite interest at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. His thinking was that not only could […]

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New York City Opera’s June Offering–Eötvös/Kushner’s “Angels”

The Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, NY, June 12, 2017—Tony Kushner’s breathtaking play Angels in America was so operatic in itself, with its concentration on character, pinpointed and deeply felt emotions, and huge metaphors that someone had to turn it into an opera. Premiered in Paris in 2004 and since presented in […]

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400-Plus Years Of A Cappella With New York Polyphony

Le Poisson Rouge, 156 Bleecker Street, NYC; April 11, 2017—There were two remarkable things about the recent show at Le Poisson Rouge, the nightclub/music venue in New York’s Greenwich Village. Most important, of course, was the four-man group known as New York Polyphony–and I’ll get to them in a moment. But the event also heralded […]

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Pärt’s “Passio” At St. Bart’s: Glorious Stasis

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Park Avenue, NY, April 4, 2017—Listening to Arvo Pärt’s Passio one wonders how a piece of music that is almost self-consciously undramatic moves people so thoroughly. The 70-minute work, all of a piece (without “numbers” or places to pause), composed in 1989, is scored for four soloists (SATB) who act together […]

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