Archive | Reviews

Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie: Thought-provoking Programs, Peerless Playing

Carnegie Hall, New York; January 24 and 25, 2002–Twentieth century angst and 19th century affirmation were joined in the trio of New York concerts Christoph von Dohnanyi and his Cleveland Orchestra brought to Carnegie Hall January 24, 25, and 26. Each program opened with grim modern works and closed with a Beethoven Symphony–the life-enhancing Seventh, […]

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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 […]

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Thielemann Unimpressive with the NY Philharmonic: Mozart Subs for John Adams

Avery Fisher Hall, New York, January 16, 2002–Thomas Hampson’s illness, which caused him to pull out of this New York Philharmonic performance of John Adams’ The Wound Dresser, adds to the sadly growing list of canceled performances of the composer’s work, which include a production of his oratorio El Niño and a BSO performance of […]

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Vienna Meets Israel in New York

Carnegie Hall, New York: January 15, 2002–A concert of Schubert, Schoenberg and Mahler by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra last Tuesday began almost 20 minutes late, as audience members were forced to submit to the kind of body and baggage scanning usually reserved for airline passengers. But the wait and the extra-heavy security measures were worth […]

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Rachmaninov Series Ends with a Bang at Lincoln Center

AVERY FISHER HALL: JANUARY 9, 2002–Vladimir Ashkenazy and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra brought the long-delayed Rachmaninov series at Avery Fisher Hall to a close with two of the composer’s better-known works: the grandiose Third Piano Concerto, and the Symphonic Dances. The sense of occasion was palpable, as this three-day retrospective was sadly postponed because of the […]

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Gergiev and Verdi’s Don Carlo: A Marriage that Needs Work

Metropolitan Opera House, New York – January 7, 2002–Don Carlo is Verdi’s longest, and in some ways, most multifaceted opera. In it, he tackles several of his favorite themes: The conflict between church and state, patriotism, and public vs private issues in the lives of his characters. For generations it was known largely in its […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Magnificent Messiah in Montréal

Location: Salle Claude-Champagne, University of Montréal: December 6, 2001 If there are bragging rights in the world of Messiah performances, then Bernard Labadie and his Les Violons du Roy orchestra and chorus La Chapelle de Québec can claim a respectable share, owing to their outstanding rendition of the complete oratorio before a sold-out house last […]

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