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On Stage

DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES -

Dialogues of the Carmelites in Paris, The ladies’ Delight

This is the fourth important production of Dialogues of the Carmelites premiered this season in France, after the ones in Toulon, Bordeaux/Nantes and Lyon. This work, commissioned exactly sixty years ago by the director of the Ricordi book house and premiered in Italian at La Scala, Milan in 1957, can be considered as Poulenc’s magnum opus and has never been that much put forward in France before. The Théâtre des ...
Anna-Maria Helsing

Anna-Maria Helsing conducts Webern, Mahler, Berg, and Hartmann

Classical music as we know it today would be quite different if it were not for early twentieth century Vienna. Mahler was taking the late-romantic symphony to almost every extreme possible, while Schönberg and his disciples developed musical systems independent of tonality. Anna-Maria Helsing, yet another gifted Finnish conductor with a steadily rising career, presented an intelligent survey of this music, along with a symphony from Karl Amadeus Hartmann. Webern's Passacaglia ...
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Warsaw celebrates Krzysztof Penderecki’s 80th birthday

Poland has been celebrating the 80th birthday of its most famous composer, Krzysztof Penderecki. It is not often that contemporary composers are extolled with such splendor: the National Bank of Poland created a special banknote; the Polish mail service produced a stamp with his portrait; a box set including all his symphonies was published under his direction on the Dux label; there were two exhibitions in the hall of the ...
Franz Welser-Möst

The Cleveland Orchestra in Paris : an event in itself

The Cleveland Orchestra has a prominent place, both among the greatest American orchestras and in music-lovers’ hearts. It is indeed legitimately considered one of the famous “Big Five,” with some of the best conductors of the twentieth century, such as George Szell, Lorin Maazel, and Christoph van Dohnanyi, having conducted it. Its chief conductor has been Austrian conductor Franz Welser-Möst for a decade now. The orchestra is in great shape, and ...
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Stockhausen night at the Festival d’Automne

For this concert of the Festival d’Automne, a banner was hung up at the entrance of the Cité de la Musique building. It warned the incoming audience that the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra is in dire situation. Indeed, the German orchestra, which was performing that night under the baton of François-Xavier Roth, celebrating one of Germany’s national geniuses, namely Karlheinz Stockhausen, could very well disappear soon. Roth also spoke ...
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Brahms, Leipzig Gewandhaus and Riccardo Chailly in Paris : delightful classicism

For this series of concerts by the legendary Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Pleyel concert hall was unusually crowded. Riccardo Chailly has been the orchestra’s conductor since 2005, and his contract has been renewed through 2020. The program was classical to the core: yet again in Paris, Brahms’s full cycle of symphonies and concertos. However, when they are played as they were here, we can only ask for more. Brahms played by ...
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The Magic Flute in London: drama, music and magic

In the program at the opening of The Magic Flute in London, director Simon McBurney recounts a rehearsal, explaining at the same time the ideas driving his direction of the work: “and suddenly I know . . . that if I am lost in the unpredictable turbulence of this opera which is not an opera, but a stage play, then I shall make the music my compass. Listening to the ...
Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Finnish Independence Day Concert

Although performances of Finnish music in Finland are frequent, the repertoire is generally restricted to Sibelius or other living composers, such as the "big three" of Lindberg, Salonen, and Saariaho. Every year on 6 December, which is Finland's independence day, Helsinki audiences are given the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of Finnish orchestral music. This annual independence day concert sometimes features composers who have largely been forgotten. This year's program began ...
Christian Tetzlaff

Christian Tetzlaff plays Shostakovich second violin concerto

While the first violin concerto of Shostakovich is firmly established in the 20th-century violin repertoire, performances of his second violin concerto are considerably less frequent. Perhaps this is due to the latter work's more introverted stance, its greater depth of emotion, and its bitter and sometimes vulgar sarcasm. Christian Tetzlaff was the soloist in tonight's performance, and, as expected, he displayed complete control over the solo part. One noticeable aspect of ...
Magic Flute_Orchestra Tech 1 _November 18, 2013

Los Angeles : The Magic Flute in silent film style

This Flute, which first we watch, with ever-widening eyes, for we proceed from good to excellent surprises, then we hear…is especially noteworthy, as you may have guessed, because of the unique, often staggering reinterpretation by the Berlin theatre troupe, “1927,” (Suzanne Andrade) and Barrie Kosky, the Australian director, in the throes of euphoria. An audacious reinterpretation, embellished by the breathtaking animation of Paul Barritt. Of course, Mozart suffers a bit…but ...
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Denève conducts Britten, Roussel and Ravel

22 November 2013 is the precise day when the British composer Benjamin Britten would have turned 100 years old. To celebrate the occasion, the first half of the evening’s program was focused on his music, with the second half turning to music from early-twentieth century France. The program opened with an extract from what is arguably Britten’s most famous work, the opera Peter Grimes. Taking place in the middle of Act ...
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Rare flute concertos by Loïc Schneider

Like Sakari Oramo, Susanna Mälkki, and Jukka-Pekka Saraste, among others, Jan Söderblom is another talented Finnish conductor whose career began as an instrumentalist. In this concert, Söderblom led the Tapiola Sinfonietta from the concertmaster’s chair in a highly varied program for string orchestra. The opening piece of the program was the most challenging for both performers and audiences. Despite being the first work he composed for orchestral forces, Pettersson’s Concerto No. ...
Photo: ©Julieta Cervantes

Trisha Brown’s Living Repertoire in Paris

The Trisha Brown Dance Company devoted its first night in Paris to a focus on cinema, beginning with For M.G.: The Movie, a 1991 tribute to Michel Guy, Secretary of State for Culture and head of the Festival d’Automne. On a richly evocative soundtrack (featuring the sounds of a roaring engine, a freighter ready to leave port, and Indians in a trance state, among other things), the dancers move with ...
Orchestre symphonique de Norrköping & Christian Lindberg, 31 oct 2013

Allan Pettersson by Lindberg, a historic milestone like Mahler by Bernstein ?

In his famous television series Young People's concert, Leonard Bernstein devoted one show in 1960 to the Austrian composer with this revealing title "Who is Gustav Mahler?". Speaking to his young audience that filled the Carnegie Hall, Bernstein asks: "Has any one of you ever heard of him? I'll bet not, or only very few of you." Mahler was played - more than Pettersson today - but he was still ...
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In Budapest, the Franz Liszt Academy reopens

The Franz Liszt Academy, built by architects Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl in 1907, is the major Hungarian conservatory (music school?), but it also includes several concert halls, among them the Grand Hall and the Chamber Hall. Its restoration, mostly paid for by the European Union (14 million euros), gives back all its lustre to this building, both academic/eclectic in its bulk and Art Nouveau/fin de siècle in his details ...
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The Grand Théâtre de Genève revives Ernest Reyer’s Sigurd

Genevans had not heard Ernest Reyer's Sigurd for a century, since its last performance was during the 1911–2 season. It has often been described as a matching piece to Wagner's Twilight of the Gods, because of the many similarities between their respective libretti (both are taken from the Nibelungen epic, Sigurd's being more centered on the Edda) as well as their lengths (four hours of music). Yet, when he started ...
LA VESTALE -

La Vestale resurrected at the Théâtre des Champs-élysées

Paris had to wait for 160 years to see again La Vestale, a masterpiece from the First Empire, the missing link between the French lyric tragedy and the Romantic opera, and a hymn to the glory of Napoleon I. Its sheer inspiration has never been translated well onto the CD support, except for Maria Callas, but the sound recording was all too uncertain. Thus, I was eager to see this Vestale ...
Christian Lindberg & Jörgen Pettersson, Oct 2013

Christian Lindberg performs Pettersson Symphonies 4 & 16 in Norrköping

The Norrköping Symphony Orchestra has a long history of performing and recording the still relatively unknown Swedish composer, Allan Pettersson (1911-80). This began in the late 1970s with Okko Kamu’s blistering rendition of the Symphony No. 6, followed by a series of BIS recordings with Leif Segerstam in the 1990s, and continuing now with the ever-energetic Christian Lindberg. In this concert Lindberg conducted both the Symphony No. 16 and 4, ...
Arthur Nestrovski

Arthur Nestrovski, artistic director of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra

« We are very much part of your world !» ResMusica: What caused the energetic development of the São Paulo Symphony in the last decade, with conductors such as John Neschling and recently Marin Alsop? Arthur Nestrovski: This European tour celebrates the 60th anniversary of the orchestra. It had a lots of ups and downs - mostly downs - until 1997. Then John Neschling became music director and chief conductor and this ...
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The Zermatt Festival, edition 2013

The Zermatt Festival and its academy (summer school) are held in the famous Swiss ski resort of the same name in the Alps, partly at the instigation of the resident Scharoun Ensemble (who won an International Classical Music Award in 2012 in the chamber music category), which was founded by and is still made up of soloists from the Berlin Philharmonic. Founded in 1983, the Scharoun enjoys collaborating with young musicians ...
yann robin © Camille Roux

Exceptional opening for Musica’s 30th edition in Strasbourg

Musica celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, and for this special occasion Jean-Dominique Marco concocted a rich and ambitious program, inviting such ensembles as Accroche-Note, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Linea, and Recherche, and artists such as Pierre Boulez, Pascal Dusapin, and Philippe Manoury, who have been part of the festival since its first season. But this year, there is also some room for sound art and musique concrète, with the long-awaited appearance of ...
B'Fest: Fidelio

Beethovenfest Bonn: Fidelio in a Sturm und Drang version

Many years have passed, but Rocco, an old, retired jailer, remembers. He remembers an extraordinary young man, although he was not a young man: his son-in-law, Fidelio, who turned out to be a woman, Leonore. And he remembers Florestan, the prisoner, a victim of the arbitrary power of his boss, Don Pizarro. Owing to his lack of courage, even he had refused to give Florestan a chunk of bread, he, ...
krystian zimerman and lutoslawski akg-images  Marion Kalter

Krystian Zimerman celebrates Lutosławski’s anniversary in Warsaw

This year we celebrate the hundredth birthday of Polish composer Witold Lutosławski, and his compatriot Krystian Zimerman returned to Poland to play his Concerto for Piano as part of the Warsaw Autumn festival. He premiered and recorded the concerto under Lutosławski’s supervision a quarter of a century ago, and the piece was dedicated to him. Two decades later, Zimerman has gained a whole new understanding of this work. Back then, the ...
Paul Daniel

Paul Daniel takes the reins in Bordeaux

Paul Daniel made a curious choice for his first concert as musical director of the Orchestre National Bordeaux-Aquitaine: a Purcell–Mahler pairing, which started with a funeral service and ended with a mystical prayer about the meaning of life. A more optimistic program might have been more appropriate, but, regardless of the works chosen, the musical result of the evening promises a bright future for the ONBA and its new conductor. The ...
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The Moritzburg Festival’s twentieth anniversary: the German Marlboro

In 1993, violonist Kai Vogler and cellists Jan Vogler and Peter Burns were looking for a place in Saxony where they could hold a music festival on the model of the Marlboro Festival in the United States. Indeed, these musicians had played there and had very much liked the atmosphere and the concept behind that festival, located in bucolic Vermont. In the end, they chose the Moritzburg Castle, a masterpiece ...
ELENA (repetition) (Jean-Yves Ruf) 2013

Francesco Cavalli’s Elena, the lyrical discovery of Aix

At last! After a remarkable - albeit not very lyrical - premiere (The House Taken Over), a poor Rigoletto, a Don Giovanni with a dubious cast, the Aix festival eventually rose to the level it should always reach. Lifted by a young and talented cast, inventive staging, and exceptional musical conducting, the Elena by Francesco Cavalli was the welcome surprise of the 2013 festival. In the direct line of Venetian opera—of ...
itineraire baroque 2013

Baroque musique goes green in Périgord

You are fond of baroque music and dream of smelling the fresh scent of green grass out in countryside? If so, the Festival Itinéraire (the Itinerary Festival) in the green Périgord is made for you. Thanks to the initiative of organist and conductor Ton Koopman, the festival offers an array of baroque repertory over the course of a long weekend, including both well-known and less well known works, in local ...
Aleksandrs Antonenko (Otello), Anna Netrebko (Desdemona) © Aline Paley  (2)

Verdi and Wagner celebrated in Verbier

There was a spectacular cast for this concert, a tribute to the two-hundredth anniversary of the births of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. Occupying the whole area from downstage to upstage, the entire Verbier Festival Orchestra along with the Collegiate Chorale left only a narrow strip of space on the forestage for the soloist to sing. As soon as Otello begins, Valery Gergiev unleashes an orchestral storm. The orchestra is superb ...
damnation faust (c)  Louise Leblanc

Québec: La Damnation de Faust, in an astonishing staging

The Québec Opera Festival has attained a new level of achievement, offering festival attendees a work reputed to be difficult, and which usually does not attract many people to the concert hall, even during a regular opera season. The premiere of Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust took place before a sold-out house. And you can bet that subsequent performances will likewise enjoy full houses. Surely, this is the best production ...
ELEKTRA (Patrice CHEREAU) 2013

The Elektra-shock in Aix

The shock begins with the opening chords. The Orchestre de Paris, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, explodes. Tonight, the violence contained in Strauss’ work is magnified, the orchestra gives its best, and the volume reaches a peak. Only seconds into the opera, we already know that the night will be fantastic. And fantastic it was. Beside the orchestra, which was excellent, the casting was finally worthy of an international festival. Evelyn Herlitzius ...
 

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