Author Archive | Robert Levine

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading