Between 'How Sweet it Is' and 'Il Dolce Suono'

Monday, May 09, 2011

As James Taylor's Perspectives Series concludes at Carnegie Hall, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti considers the ever-closing gap between classical and pop music.

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James Levine Withdraws from Japan, Tanglewood

Friday, May 06, 2011

In the midst of a celebratory year, added cancellations to James Levine's schedule end his BSO tenure with a wheeze. WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti reflects on the conductor's latest troubles.

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Finding Meaning in Dvorak's Sorrowful Song

Thursday, May 05, 2011

One does not have to be Christian, or even religious, to be affected by the universal sentiments of Dvorak's words about parental grief, writes blogger Fred Plotkin on WQX-Aria.

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Love, Loss and What Orfeo Wore

Thursday, May 05, 2011

In the wake of several losses to the musical world, Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, now running in a revival at the Metropolitan Opera, rings all the more poignant, writes blogger Olivia Giovetti at WQX-Aria.

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Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher: Carnegie Hall at 100

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Host Midge Woolsey reminisces about hosting Carnegie Hall's 100th anniversary celebration.

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Up Close and Personal at Carnegie Hall

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ever since moving to New York City for graduate school, I have tried to attend as many concerts as possible at Carnegie Hall. I can say without a New Yorker's bias that every event I have seen there has been inspiring -- from Brahms symphonies performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, to Ravel's Gaspard played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, to new songs written and performed by Brad Mehldau and Renée Fleming, to my own father playing with the China Philharmonic on tour. But nothing was comparable to a recital I heard last week. This time, I sat on stage, merely fifteen feet away, in a recital by violist Yuri Bashmet and pianist Evgeny Kissin.

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The Ghosts of May Day

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On WQX-Aria, blogger Fred Plotkin asks: "What happens when an evil character in opera dies, one for whom we have not developed positive feelings -- Hagen in Götterdämmerung or Scarpia in Tosca? Do we feel bad? Do we rejoice?"

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What's Muti Got that Other Conductors Don't?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Editor's Note: On Tuesday Riccardo Muti won Spain's Asturias Arts Award.

Earlier this month, I heard two of the Chicago Symphony programs that Riccardo Muti conducted in Carnegie Hall – the concert performance of Verdi’s opera Otello, and the concert that included Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Both were extraordinary examples of music-making, which left me wondering: Why is this conductor different from all other conductors? I put that question to a former cellist from the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, who happened to be sitting next to me at the first concert. His answer was, “Only one thousand and two hundred different ways, but it’s impossible to put into words.”

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Is the Philadelphia Orchestra Suffering from Hysterical Blindness?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

With the Philadelphia Orchestra docking at Carnegie Hall this week to perform Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, WQX-Aria blogger Olivia Giovetti considers some discrepancies in Sophocles's tragedy—and the orchestra's financial situation.

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Five Operatic Wedding Disasters

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Royal Wedding may have gone off without a hitch, but thank goodness there's opera to satisfy our collective sweet tooth when it comes to drama. Here are our picks for operatic (in every sense) wedding disasters.

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Pursuing Anvil Leads

Friday, April 29, 2011

As the Metropolitan Opera presents Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Verdi’s Il Trovatore this month, Fred Plotkin investigates one of the more striking ingredients shared between the two productions: the use of the lead anvil.

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The Economy on ICE

Friday, April 29, 2011

Last week, the International Contemporary Ensemble was slated to perform at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. But then the cash-strapped theater canceled the remainder of its season. The program was instead released as a videocast, available here.

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Thomas Hampson Matches Mahler with George Crumb

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Mahler centenary is big but Hampson's George Crumb concert in D.C. tonight and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center tomorrow may be his most important recital this year.

 

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In Memoriam: Anita Välkki

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Anita Välkki (October 25, 1926-April 27, 2011) has just died and I realize that most people have no idea who she was. This is strange, because she was a major artist, certainly behind Birgit, Leonie and perhaps Astrid Varnay (1918-2006), but nonetheless one of a very small group.

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Take Your Money and Run

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Naomi Lewin remembers being asked to sing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar at a wedding.

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Angela Meade Takes Home the 2011 Richard Tucker Award

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Honey-voiced soprano Angela Meade, 33, is the recipient of this year's Richard Tucker Music Award, which comes with a $30,000 bonus and a priceless amount of prestige.

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The Perils (and Art) of Singing with Microphones

Monday, April 25, 2011

On WQX-Aria, blogger Fred Plotkin decries the use of microphones in opera. "I don’t care how good the 'sound design' is, the mediation of electronics between voice and audience inevitably flattens and cheapens the performance," he writes.

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When the Wedding March Goes Off Course

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jeff Spurgeon remembers a scandalous moment involving wedding music. Perhaps you’ve attended a wedding where the music choices came with a twist, or didn’t quite work out as planned. We'd like to hear about them.

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Die Walküre Rides Again at the Met

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ultimately the power of the Ring is that the myriad immortal characters we encounter over the four operas are driven by very human emotions rather than deific rationality. This may be where Lepage fails hardest, which explains the outcry against this work. To content ourselves with saying that it’s at least not the worst work produced under the Gelb era does a disservice to the audience, the artists and the art. But it’s hard to judge a new Ring halfway through. And while this is surely not a hit, it at least has a considerable kick.

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Spotlight: Berlioz Fanatics Unite

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A few years ago, June LeBell, an announcer beloved to generations of WQXR listeners, organized a lecture series about composers called “The Busy B’s” in which I was invited to participate. Each speaker would be assigned one composer whose name begins with that letter. June was concerned that most of us would ask for Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, and was hopeful that someone might request Borodin, Bartók, Britten or Barber.

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