Fine Whine From Stormin’ Norman Redux

Originally posted at the beginning of 2004, this seems like a good time, nearly fourteen years later, to revisit Norman Lebrecht’s “rock solid” prediction that the year 2004 would be “the last for the classical record industry.” I provide my entire original article below. In his latest effort to sound the death knell for the […]

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Filarmonica della Scala On Top Form In Mahler 2

La Scala, Milan; October 16, 2017–These are exciting times for the Filarmonica della Scala. Founded by Claudio Abbado to provide La Scala’s regular players with an opportunity to play symphonic repertoire, the orchestra has been getting better and better since Riccardo Chailly became music director two years ago. A recently-concluded tour over the summer, which […]

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Conference Report: Music Criticism 1950-2000 (Day 3)

Barcelona: October 11, 2017 Conference Organized By:  Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca and the Societat Catalana de Musicologia, Barcelona Sitting with friends in a tapas bar in the center of Barcelona Tuesday night, we saw Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont (pr. Poojdemon) make an endless speech in which he declared independence, then suspended the declaration indefinitely, […]

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Music Criticism: 1950-2000 (Day 2)

Barcelona: October 10, 2017 Conference Organized By:  Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca and the Societat Catalana de Musicologia, Barcelona Day Two of the conference on Music Criticism: 1950-2000 opened with a morning-long session devoted to Music Criticism and Italian Film Music. Now, I love film music, and the Italian variety is a particularly rewarding field […]

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CONFERENCE REPORT: MUSIC CRITICISM 1950-2000

Barcelona: October 9, 2017 Conference Organized By:  Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini, Lucca,  and the Societat Catalana de Musicologia, Barcelona This is the final conference is a series that encompasses studies on music criticism from the nineteenth century to the present day. It has brought together an impressive range of scholars from around the world, presenting […]

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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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A Remarkable New Toscanini Biography

Harvey Sachs: Toscanini, Musician of Conscience (Liveright Publishing Corporation [W.W. Norton], 2017). Arturo Toscanini was a simple man at heart. He had three great passions: conducting, screwing, and complaining. Some readers will be most interested in the first of these, some, I suppose, the second, and none the third. Harvey Sachs, in this wholesale rewrite […]

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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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La Scala Shows There’s Still More Mileage In Zeffirelli’s Bohème

La Scala, Milan, June 7, 2017—Zeffirelli’s superannuated production of La bohème returned to La Scala–yet again. From the naive slapstick to the bonnets-and-cravats period tack, this is aged opera at its tritest–a production one imagines must have felt a little fresher when it opened at this house more than half-a-century ago. But Zeffirelli’s conception is […]

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