Saturday Morning Cartoons: Stravinsky's Firebird Suite

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The dissonances in Stravinsky's Firebird Suite caused an uproar at its premiere in 1910, but you might be more familiar with it from a more benign presentation in Disney's Fantasia. Watch it now.

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Is Andrea Bocelli an Opera Singer?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Andrea Bocelli, the blind tenor who gets no respect from the classical establishment, will sing with the New York Philharmonic in Central Park on September 15. But that doesn't change the basic question: can you call him an opera singer?

Fans will point out that his 2003 album “Sentimento” was the best selling classical album of the year. A record-setting seven of his recordings have topped the Classical albums charts in the United States where he also holds the record for having three recordings listed in the top three places of charts. Last year he sang a selection of arias, lieder and art songs on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

Bocelli's detractors argue that he's pop through and through: he generally uses a microphone when he performs, and his repertoire leans toward lighter material. Bernard Holland of The New York Times criticized his "poor phrasing, uneven tone and lack of technique." Baltimore Sun music critic Tim Smith has said: "unaided by electronics, he produced an undernourished, often under-pitch tone. Top notes were strained, phrases monochromatic. Bocelli's most loyal fans presumably didn't mind any of the weaknesses, but, frankly, I found most of his singing embarrassing."

What do you think? Is it fair to judge Bocelli by the standards of opera? Or should he be considered according to his repertoire? Take our poll:

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Bocelli Fans Line Up in Times Square to Score Free Central Park Tickets

Thursday, August 04, 2011

An estimated 1,000 people lined up Thursday morning in Times Square to receive tickets for a free concert in Central Park featuring the Italian tenor and crossover artist Andrea Bocelli. Watch the final moments in this audio slideshow.


Ann Patchett's Journeys in Opera, from the Page to the Stage

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ann Patchett burst onto the literary scene in 2001 with her fourth novel, the award-winning Bel Canto. In a special podcast, she tells host Midge Woolsey about her latest novel, her musical inspirations and having drinks with Renée Fleming.


George Manahan Exits New York City Opera

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

George Manahan, New York City Opera’s music director, has left after thirteen years at the beleaguered company.

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Saturday Morning Cartoons: Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

On today's trip through cartoon-land, Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker. You may have first heard the piece in Disney's original Fantasia, though a younger generation might be more familiar with Barbie in the Nutcracker.


Brooklyn Philharmonic Goes Hyper-Local in 2011-12 Season

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Brooklyn Philharmonic has unveiled its 2011-2012 season, with performances in Brighton Beach, downtown Brooklyn and Bedford Stuyvesant, under its new artistic director, Alan Pierson.


Israeli Orchestra Breaks Cultural Taboo, Plays Wagner in Germany

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Israel Chamber Orchestra is set to perform a work by Adolf Hitler's favorite composer, Richard Wagner, in a taboo-breaking concert in Germany.

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At Marlboro, They Come to the Vermont Woods to Play, Not To Perform

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It is a rite of passage for elite chamber musicians that involves a pilgrimage to a hilltop in Vermont where cell phone reception is spotty and meandering dirt roads pass stands selling maple syrup and cheddar cheese.

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Saturday Morning Cartoons: Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Today we feature Rimsky-Korsakov's notoriously fast-paced and high-energy Flight of the Bumblebee, seen in multiple Disney cartoons, among others.

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Cash-Strapped Long Island Philharmonic Hopes to Strike a Chord With Funders

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Long Island Philharmonic has been performing for more than 30 years, but it's now one of many local music organizations left grasping for funds during a time of dwindling support from the government and local organizations.

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Café Concert: Music From Copland House

Friday, July 22, 2011

For the last dozen years, Aaron Copland's house has been turned into a center for scholarship and performance, most notably as the headquarters of the chamber group Music From Copland House. Watch them perform in this video.

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Roll Up, Sing Out: A Sushi Restaurant Delivers Opera Arias

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Since 2004, Tora Yi has been the owner of Ido Sushi in the West Village. His restaurant features a traditional Japanese menu but it’s the sideline that elicits stares and puzzled remarks from passersby.

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Measuring Time: Music for 9/11

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WQXR and WNYC want to enhance the spirit of this anniversary for all of our listeners. So we are creating a special playlist of music suggested by listeners to mark the occasion. We want you to be a part of it. You suggestions will be played on a special online stream that will launch in early September on and And the songs and compositions will be used to program both stations on September 11, 2011.

Musicians' Unions Take Battle with City Opera to Attorney General's Office

Monday, July 18, 2011

The unions representing performers at the struggling New York City Opera are taking their fight to the Attorney General's office. They believe the company has violated its endowment agreement, or committed other financial fraud.

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Saturday Morning Cartoons: On The Trail

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today, we look turn our focus to Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite. It can be heard throughout "The Mighty Hunters," a 1940 Chuck Jones cartoon.

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Paul Taylor Dance Company's Pas de deux With Koch Theater

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Paul Taylor Dance Company is moving into Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater, now that the space has been vacated by the New York City Opera.


Exclusive: City Opera's George Steel Rebuts Critics, Looks Forward

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The "people's opera" will have a reduced season next year, but George Steel, its general manager, hopes it's not for long.

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Kent Tritle Leaves St. Ignatius Loyola to Head Music at St. John the Divine

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine has chosen WQXR host Kent Tritle to become its Director of Cathedral Music and Organist. Tritle arrives three years after its post-fire rededication and the restoration of its organ.

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Café Concert: Jason Vieaux

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Until this year, the Curtis Institute of Music, the famed conservatory in Philadelphia, did not regard the guitar as an instrument worthy of a place in its curriculum. When the school changed its policy, it hired Jason Vieaux to co-run a guitar department.

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