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  • Piotr Anderszewki Revels in Bright Tones, Dark Hall

    Bach and Schumann Entrance at Carnegie

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 20th, 2015

    Twas a concert at Carnegie and all through the house, was quiet and darkness and nary a noise. From out of the dark came tones silvery and bright. They might have been struck by stars this night. But at the piano sat the Polish pianist and composer, Piotr Anderszewski, lofting Bach and Schumann. The beauty of Bach shone in a new light. Schumann's love messages to his future wife have never been more persuasive.

  • Boston Lyric Opera's Katya Kabanova

    Leon Janacek Music Not Heard Often Enough

    By: David Bonetti - Mar 18th, 2015

    Janacek’s work has been slow to come to Boston, so one can only praise Boston Lyric Opera for bringing, arguably, his masterpiece to town. (In my view, its rival for that honor is “Jenufa.”) In “Katya” Janacek tells a rather simple tale of a young woman (Katya) in the Russian provinces married to a wimp (Tichon) dominated by his sadistic mother (Kabanicha), who treats her as little more than chattel. She longs to escape and falls in love with another man (Boris) with whom she has exchanged glances only once, who remarkably returns her infatuation.

  • Jennifer Warnes' Legendary Album Jennifer

    Her 1972 Third Album Reissued

    By: David S. Rubin - Mar 13th, 2015

    In 2013, Reprise Japan finally released Jennifer Warnes 1972' third album, Jennifer, on CD. With the album having been locked in the vaults for forty years and only recently made available again, I wish to share some thoughts on why this brilliant collaboration between Warnes and John Cale has brought me so much gratification over the years.

  • Boston Lyric Opera

    Announces 2015-2016 Season

    By: BLO - Mar 13th, 2015

    With a distinct French flavor, spiced by influences from New Wave films to student revolutionaries, Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) announces its productions for the 2015/2016 Season, the company’s 39th. The four operas – Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony, Jules Massenet’s Werther and Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow – comprise all-new BLO productions of both popular classics and works not seen often in Boston.

  • Handel's Semele at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

    Zhang Huan's Version Suggests Semele as HornRimmed Moon Goddess

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 10th, 2015

    Handel's Semele is perfectly beautiful. When Handel wrote the Oratorio, he needed money and composed a piece suitable for the Easter season which was coming up soon. The work immediately sank into oblivion. That was almost three centuries ago.

  • King Roger by Karol Szymanowski

    Conductor Charles Dutoit Leads the BSO in Neglected Masterpiece

    By: David Bonetti - Mar 10th, 2015

    Karol Szymanowski's "King Roger" is the classic hot-house flower of an opera, featuring a huge orchestra and chorus, dominated by shimmering strings. The BSO assembled a dream cast of Eastern European singers, headed by Mariusz Kwiecien, one of the hottest baritones on the world's stages today. You could feel the heat and humidity of a Sicilian evening.

  • 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.

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