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  • Wilco Returns to Mass MoCA

    Solid Sound Festival June 26-28

    By: Wilco - Mar 04th, 2015

    The Solid Sound 2015 lineup features Tweedy (which features Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer), Mac DeMarco, Real Estate, Parquet Courts, Shabazz Palaces, Richard Thompson Trio, King Sunny Ade and His African Beats, Taj Mahal, Cibo Matto, Jessica Pratt, Luluc, William Tyler, Bill Frisell, The Autumn Defense, NRBQ, Stained Radiance (Nels Cline + Norton Wisdom), Glenn Kotche and Jeffrey Zeigler, and many others.

  • Gatti and Vienna Philharmonic's Brahms' Requiem

    Damrau, Gerhaher and Westminster Choir at Carnegie Hall

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 02nd, 2015

    Brahms' German Requiem is closer to tone poem than the dramatic opera of Verid's Requiem. In the hands of Danniele Gatti, off book on a very complicated score, the Requiem moved and mesmerized. Soloists and choir were reverently perfect. The sound lofted into Carnegie Hall, and, as Brahms wrote, how lovely is that dwelling place.

  • A Joyce Di Donato Master Class at Carnegie

    Four Young Artists Blossom

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 22nd, 2015

    Di Donato's opera performances are perfection. One day I rushed down to the AMC near Navy Pier in Chicago, because a friend had called to tell me about di Donato's last Cinderella. An encore HD performance was all I could catch, but it was sublime. What we have come to think of as a di Donato performance is perfection. Now I might be able to see perfection in action. I did.

  • Stefano Gervasoni at the Miller Theatre

    A Moving, Challenging and Delightful Portrait

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 20th, 2015

    Stefano Gervasoni was at Julliard as a very young man, but he is not well-known stateside and deserves to be. His work makes experimentation 21st century style accessible and humane. Delighttful statements about timbre and texture and also us.

  • Jamie Barton Transfixes at Zankel Hall

    Winner of the Prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 17th, 2015

    Barton is a Berkshire fixture. She received extensive training as a recitalist at the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a Fellow in Vocal Studies for two summers. There she worked with such artists and coaches as James Levine, Dawn Upshaw, and Phyllis Curtin.

  • Renée Fleming Love-Fest at Symphony Hall

    Braving Boston Blizzards to Hear People's Diva

    By: David Bonetti - Feb 12th, 2015

    The love for Renée Fleming seemed to pour in both directions. On one of the many miserable days in recent weeks, the audience went to considerable trouble to get there – I witnessed an elderly woman using a cane stopped by a snow bank at the corner of Mass Ave and Saint Stephen’s Street lifted by two strangers to the other side. And Symphony Hall was close to full. Before she began to sing,

  • James Levine in Command at Carnegie

    Netrebko a Luxury Substitute

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 08th, 2015

    An orchestra like the Met, which nightly accompanies singers, is understandably appreciative of melody. But this was more than melody, It was dialogue and trios, to and fro, forcing a pleasurable attention to the music.

  • Muti and Chicago Symphony at Carnegie

    Colors for the Ear from Mendelssohn, Debussy and Scriabin

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 01st, 2015

    Muti can masterfully give the big picture. Yet in finding the trees in the forest, he makes the melodic and harmonic parts of a musical work shine like the facets of a big Hope diamond. Understanding better how Muti works the magic only makes hearing his music making with the great Chicago Symphony all the more enjoyable.

  • Muti and the Chicago Symphony Part Two

    Russian Tribute at Carnegie Hall

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 01st, 2015

    Riccardo Muti is passionate about the place of music in human lives. To him, bringing music to tortured souls is imperative. So his selection of Scriabin's First Symphony, an Ode to Art, and Prokofiev's Cantata based on his film score for Alexander Nevsky is in tune with his mission. The very survival of the Russian soul was on line for both composers. Under Muti's baton, hundreds of superb musicians carried the message at Carnegie Hall.

  • Ildar Abdrazakov Seduces Carnegie

    Superb Mzia Bakhtouridze at the Piano

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 30th, 2015

    Ildar Abdrazakov made his Carnegie Hall debut in a program that would test any singer's mettle. The evening's pro0gram was divided into two parts. In the first, Glinka, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgky provided a pot pourri of songs and arias that often echoed the keys and tones of the Volga Boat song. Very Russian in color. Sometimes surprisingly un-Russian in brightness and lightness.

  • Tanglewood Tickets On Sale

    Best Seats Available for 2015

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jan 23rd, 2015

    Yet again Tanglewood is committed to finding the balance between traditional classical music and evenings featuring popular artists with enough appeal to balance the books. The BSO base audience will embrace the new and youthful conductor Andris Nelsons in his limited appearances. Popular artists including James Taylor, Dianna Krall, and Sheryl Crow return. Idina Menzel and Huey Lewis will be featured in the Shed. The wild card and most interesting booking of the season will present the gonzo pairing of over the top Lady Gaga and the venerable octogenarian Tony Bennett.

  • Mozart's Sublime Abduction from the Seraglio

    Pforzheim Mounts a Charming Production

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 09th, 2015

    It is easy to see why young talent in Europe travels from small city to small city to sing and conduct opera. First rate production skills, beautiful theatres made to display the human voice, and audiences who appreciate the art form are everywhere to be found. This production of Mozart's first of the five late operas, and the only one written in German, met all of the formidable challenges.

  • Boston Baroque's Effervescent New Year's Concert

    Arias by Mozart and a Monodrama by his Contemporary Cimarosa

    By: David Bonetti - Jan 08th, 2015

    One of the best traditions of the holiday season is Boston Baroque's New Year's Concert. This year a highlight was a rare performance of Cimarosa's monodrama of a pompous conductor, but young singers Sara Heaton and Andrew Garland also sang Mozart with style and tonal beauty.

  • Joe Cocker Remembered

    Getting High with Help from Some Friends

    By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 22nd, 2014

    With arms flailing and legs in a pigeon toe stance the British rocker Joe Cocker was the most unique and remarkable stylist of his generation. Every ounce of this heart and soul was invested in a song.

  • Die Walküre (The Valkyries), Act III

    New England Conservatory Benefit an Evening in Valhalla

    By: David Bonetti - Dec 15th, 2014

    Jane Eaglen and Greer Grimsley with a student orchestra led by Robert Spano put on an incendiary performance of Act III of Wagner's "Die Walkure." The big question remains: when will Boston get a proper opera house?

  • Blues For Christmas - Part II

    Blues in the city.

    By: David Wilson - Dec 15th, 2014

    As Blues performers moved into urban areas, style and technique became more dominant, all too often at the expense of taste. Not so for these four grand albums that reflect many of the variations of the urban hybrids and pay tasteful homage to the adaptability and the complexity of the root forms.

  • Blues For Christmas - Part I

    Homage to Roots

    By: David Wilson - Dec 14th, 2014

    Here are four recent releases that honor the roots of the Blues. Each of them would make a worthy addition to the cd shelves of eclectic listeners of music and most Blues fans.

  • Macbeth at the Manhattan School of Music

    Bloch, Full-Blooded and Uninhibited

    By: Susan Hall - Dec 11th, 2014

    Is opera an intimate art form? Houses in Europe tend to be small or feel intimate. Yet they are just right. Certainly opera has felt right in New York this week with the brilliant, intimate production of El Gato con Botas by the Gotham Chamber Opera and now, as big as Macbeth, in an intimate theatre at the Manhattan School of Music.

  • Puss Kicks Up His Boot in Gotham

    Ginger Costa-Jackson, a Purring, Prescient Gato

    By: Susan Hall - Dec 07th, 2014

    All eyes are fixed on El Gato, as he virtually vibrates when his slender body is filled with song. Manipulated by three puppeteers, he is a slithering, prancing manipulator himself, entrancing as he bounds across the stage fixing the world to his vision. Puss in Boots is an old tale which holds two morals. One that dress and countenance can carry you far. Puss is a living example. He dons hat and cape and boots and becomes a courtier.

  • Two Pergolesi Comedies at BEMF

    Sparkling Cast and Expert Instrumentalists Ensure a Fun Time.

    By: David Bonetti - Dec 05th, 2014

    For seven years, the Boston Early Music Festival has put on short, semi-staged operas at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. For this critic, they are a season highlight. Tragic operas by Italian, French and English composers have been featured. This year two Pergolesi comic intermezzi were a delight.

  • First Night Saratoga 2015

    A Family Friendly, Alcohol-free Event

    By: Chris Buchanan - Dec 05th, 2014

    See over 70 performing acts in 30 different venues and celebrate a New Year full of arts in Saratoga Springs, NY! First Night is an American cultural event that has a tradition dating back to 1975 in Boston. Today there are about 45 cities around the country who participate in this type of celebration, including in this area, Burlington, VT; Portsmouth, NH; North Hampton, MA; Hartford, CT; Saranac Lake, NY and St. Johnsbury, VT.

  • James Conlon Conducts a Brilliant Shostakovich

    Lady Macbeth Morphs with Chatterley at the Met

    By: Susan Hall - Nov 27th, 2014

    The production date is 1994. Graham Vick gets the credit. James Conlon conducted then, as he does this fall. The excellence from stem to stern is cause for celebration.

  • Frank Martin's Love Potion at Boston Lyric Opera

    Rarity Was Intended

    By: David Bonetti - Nov 22nd, 2014

    The BLO's off-site Annex series has proven over the past six years to be its most successful effort. Martin's work tackles a big subject - the fatal love of Tristan and Isolde - but with small forces. The BLO demonstrated that it can be a compelling evening in the theater.

  • San Francisco Symphony's Michael Tilson Thomas

    Adams, Prokofiev, Ravel Swoop and Soar

    By: Susan Hall - Nov 21st, 2014

    This program had wonderful sound links one piece to the other. Texture, color and sounds were similar although their composers were separated by centuries.

  • Tom Reney's 30 Years as WFCR Jazz DJ

    NEPR Endowment for Continued Jazz Programming

    By: Edward J. Bride - Nov 20th, 2014

    Jazz à la Mode has been a staple of WFCR-FM’s offerings –and Tom Reney its only host-- since the station’s inception of jazz programming in 1984. The NPR affiliate, which operates under the aegis of New England Public Radio, recently relocated from the environs of Reney’s alma mater, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, to become part of the downtown Springfield scene.

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