Attendance Records Broken at BBC Proms

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The BBC Proms, London's eight-week music festival which ended its 117th season Saturday night, has reported record audiences for the second year in a row. Watch a video of the pianist Lang Lang performing on the Last Night.

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When There Are No Words

Sunday, September 11, 2011

When singers perform music without words, they might perform a vocalise. "Language is a wonderful thing, but sometimes there are no words to express feelings that might be complex, wrenching or exultant," writes blogger Fred Plotkin.

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Send in the (Insane) Clowns

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Olivia Giovetti can't stop listening to "Leck mich im Arsch," a Mozart cover by the rap duo Insane Clown Posse. So is it infantile and misrepresentative of the source material? Or a sly inside joke between past and present?

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Montreal's New Concert Hall Leaps Into View

Thursday, September 08, 2011

When the Montreal Symphony opened its new concert hall to the public on Wednesday night, the festivities included acrobats from the Cirque Éloize. Host Naomi Lewin reports on the three-ring festivities from our neighbors to the north.

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Yo-Yo Ma Among Five Honored by Kennedy Center

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

In what seems like a long time coming, Yo-Yo Ma will get a Kennedy Center Honor. The 55-year-old said he feels too young to be receiving such an award for lifetime achievements.

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Composer John Adams Reflects on Pulitzer Work, Public 'Overreaction' to Sept. 11

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Composer John Adams, looking back at On the Transmigration of Souls, his 2002 piece remembering Sept. 11, expresses satisfaction with the work's success, but also concerns about the public's "orgy of self pity."

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Is Genius in The Creation or in The Performance?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

On WQX-Aria, Fred Plotkin asks "Does creative genius reside exclusively in those who write words and music, or also in those who speak or sing these words and music? And are there different types of genius? What defines each?"

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Levine Cancels Fall Met Appearances; Luisi Named Principal Conductor

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

James Levine, the music director of the Metropolitan Opera, has cancelled his fall appearances at the Met, after falling and damaging his vertebrae on Thursday. Fabio Luisi will take over for Levine in his new role as principal conductor.

 

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Risky Business

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

For singers -- whose bodies are their instruments -- is riding a motorbike without a helmet any more acceptable or any less risky than smoking? Olivia Giovetti examines the circumstances surrounding tenor Salvatore Licitra's death and the context of opera singers playing un-safe.

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Italian Tenor Salvatore Licitra Dies at 43 After Crash

Monday, September 05, 2011

Salvatore Licitra, a tenor who rose to fame as a last-second substitute for Luciano Pavarotti at the Met, died on Monday after being severely injured in a motorbike accident.

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Workers of the (Opera) World, Unite!

Monday, September 05, 2011

For an analogy to modern-day labor-management relations, consider the works of Richard Wagner. "Wagner might have been a bad manager of his own money, but he was very attuned to the dignity of work," writes blogger Fred Plotkin.

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Three Acts, Not Nine Innings: Opera Goes to the Stadium

Saturday, September 03, 2011

In Verona, Italy, massive opera productions take place every summer in a Roman coliseum. In San Francisco and Washington, DC, operas will be simulcast on ballpark jumbotrons. Can stadiums and ballparks bring opera back to its populist roots?

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Four Ways of Performing a Mad Scene

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Blogger Olivia Giovetti asks four sopranos what it's like to sing the famous mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor. Get a taste for crazy in advance of the Met's HD screening of the work on Sunday.

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Three Years After Debut, Opera Omnia Returns to the Stage

Friday, September 02, 2011

Olivia Giovetti reviews Opera Omnia's sophomore effort, a punk-meets-Pulcinella staging of Francesco Cavalli's Giasone, now playing in the intimate space of (Le) Poisson Rouge through September 7.

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Anti-Israel Protest Disrupts BBC Proms Concert in London

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Protesters disrupted a performance Thursday by the Israel Philharmonic and violinist Gil Shaham as part of the BBC Proms, one of Britain’s most venerable concert series.

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In Helsinki's Sleek New Concert Hall, Clarity Reigns

Thursday, September 01, 2011

After a decade-long construction process and a cost of $271 million, the Helsinki Music Center opened Wednesday evening. WQXR's Graham Parker writes that, while not perfect, it "raises the bar on design, purpose and relevance."

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Where are Italy’s Opera Singers? Part III

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The connective thread to the great Italian singers of the past is frayed, writes Fred Plotkin. "I wish Italians would come to feel not only proud of their cultural heritage but actively protective of it and expert in it," he writes.

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When Classical Music Takes Center Court

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How was it that Gershwin and Schoenberg came to enjoy a fiercely-fought tennis match each week? Why was Prokofiev so interested in the game? As the U.S. Open heats up, host Midge Woolsey considers the links.

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The Top 10 Dysfunctional Families in Opera

Monday, August 29, 2011

Think the family in Our Idiot Brother is slightly screwball? They have nothing on some of opera's divinest dysfunctional dynasties. Read Olivia Giovetti's top 10 picks and discuss!

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Where Are Italy's Opera Singers? Part II

Monday, August 29, 2011

One of the problems in the Italian opera world today is the fact that singers have been marginalized and cannot necessarily forge careers in the way Italian conductors do. Yet blogger Fred Plotkin looks at a few standouts.

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