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Classical News & Reviews

Review: Anna Caterina Antonacci Captivates and Conquers in a Rare Recital Appearance at Zankel Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 21, 2018 New York City Opera brings the celebrated Anna Caterina Antonacci to Carnegie Hall for a rare, intimate recital and audiences should run, not walk. It is a privilege to experience vocalism of this caliber, and this former mezzo turned soprano, ...

Review: The Met Revives the Rare ‘Semiramide’ With a Golden Cast

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, February 19, 2018 Offering palace intrigue and plot twists that would make a Trump White House blanch, the Metropolitan Opera tonight revived its beautiful production of Rossini’s Semiramide, swathed in blue and gold and filling the house with impressive ...

Review: Drama Reigns at the New York Philharmonic, and Not All of It Onstage

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, February 16, 2018 Those weren’t boos you heard at Thursday night’s Philharmonic concert at Geffen Hall—they were howls of rage and contempt, and cries of “What an idiot!,” and a shouting-match that might have led to fisticuffs if a graybeard in ...

Jazz Notes Intel: Eclectic French Violinist Scott Tixier Soars; Pianist ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, February 22, 2018  (No. 1) In a Saturday early-afternoon conversation, Scott Tixier stresses that he’s beyond busy. “I get distracted easily,” said the rising-star France-born, Brooklyn-based jazz violinist and composer when asked if he were ramping up for a new recording ...

Review: 'At Home At The Zoo' — Albee At His Best

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, February 22, 2018 In Edward Albee’s world, people quarrel, threaten, argue, fight, and struggle against each other. They bite, tussle, demean, condemn. His world is a bleak place, and yet it’s so much fun to be there, at least from ...

Review: Anna Caterina Antonacci Captivates and Conquers in a Rare ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 21, 2018 New York City Opera brings the celebrated Anna Caterina Antonacci to Carnegie Hall for a rare, intimate recital and audiences should run, not walk. It is a privilege to experience vocalism of this caliber, and this former mezzo turned ...

The 30th Anniversary Edition of The Art Show Can Change ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, February 21, 2018 The Art Show is one of those events that can change how you look at art. This show, now in its thirtieth year, is composed of ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America) members, all with extensive experience in ...

Review: The Met Revives the Rare 'Semiramide' With a Golden ...

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, February 19, 2018 Offering palace intrigue and plot twists that would make a Trump White House blanch, the Metropolitan Opera tonight revived its beautiful production of Rossini's Semiramide, swathed in blue and gold and filling the house with impressive vocal pyrotechnics. ...

NYC This Week: 2.19.2018

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, February 19, 2018 This President's Day, take some time to plan a great week of New York City culture. We have some great ideas. Tony Kushner's monumental Angels in America took Broadway by storm in 1993, with its unvarnished examination of AIDS ...

Art Break: LaToya Ruby Frazier Champions the Oppressed Through Photography ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, February 19, 2018 Art Break knows that art and the act of creating it is a powerful thing. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the pieces of LaToya Ruby Frazier, now at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in upper Manhattan. Her ...

Review: Drama Reigns at the New York Philharmonic, and Not ...

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, February 16, 2018 Those weren’t boos you heard at Thursday night’s Philharmonic concert at Geffen Hall—they were howls of rage and contempt, and cries of “What an idiot!,” and a shouting-match that might have led to fisticuffs if a ...

Review: The York Theatre's Oy-Vey-Worthy 'Bar Mitzvah Boy'

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, February 15, 2018 First, let’s all acknowledge a deep debt of gratitude to the venerable York Theatre and their commitment both to fostering new musicals, and to unearthing old ones, polishing them off, and giving them a chance to shine in ...

Review: 'Hey, Look Me Over' Surprises at Encores!

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, February 13, 2018 As any musical-theater devotee can tell you, Encores! is the annual series of performances at New York City Center of historical musicals that have somehow fallen through the cracks. Every year, Encores! chooses three musicals to resurrect, and each ...

Review: Clémentine Margaine’s ‘Haunting Vocalism’ Highlights Muti Leading Chicago Symphony at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 12, 2018 One of the Second City’s greatest cultural institutions, the revered Chicago Symphony Orchestra, visited Carnegie Hall in a varied program under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Of particular interest was the New York premiere a newly ...

Review: The Dynamic Duo of Bell and Denk Deliver a Powerful Memorial Concert at Carnegie

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 9, 2018 With an eagle’s wingspan and a long arching torso, Bell’s charismatic playing fills the Isaac Stern Auditorium. In a recent, lofty, recital program alongside his frequent pianist, the expressive Jeremy Denk, paid tribute to the ...

Review: Matthias Goerne and Daniil Trifonov Join Forces for ‘Magnificent Music-Making’ at Carnegie Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, February 7, 2018 No one ever accused Matthias Goerne of being a cutup, and his joint recital with Daniil Trifonov—ninety minutes of disappointment and death in a single uninterrupted sweep—will yield no exception. It was too much: the flutter of ...

Review: Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin Steals the Show in Met Opera’s ‘Parsifal’ Revival

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, February 5, 2018 Tonight demonstrated that the Metropolitan Opera has made a brilliant choice, and perhaps the only real choice, in its replacement of James Levine. Levine, who conducted regularly at the Met after retiring from his monumental four-decades as music ...

Review: Conductor Stéphane Denève Brings Passion to Prokofiev With the NY Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, January 29, 2018 Led by guest conductor Stéphane Denève, the New York Philharmonic recently presented an exhilarating all-Prokofiev program, which I attended on Friday afternoon, January 26. Denève’s program bio states that he has a special affinity ...

Review: U.S-Mexico Border Issues Given Voice Mariachi Style in NYCO’s ‘Cruzar La Cara De La Luna’ at Rose Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, January 26, 2018 Billed as “the world’s first mariachi opera,” Cruzar la Cara de la Luna opened for a limited run at the Rose Theater this week, in pretty much the same production seen at Houston Grand Opera (which commissioned the piece and gave ...

Review: Haydn’s Rarely Performed Oratorio ‘The Seasons’ Courtesy of The Cleveland Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, January 26, 2018 Haydn’s The Seasons (1801) is one of those gifts that won’t stop giving: a glorious country-picnic that rejoices the spirit and delights the mind, interrupted every now and again for fireworks, incursions of the cosmic-divine, and ...

Review: Tenor Jonas Kaufmann Brings Sincerity and Earnestness To Schubert’s Quintessential Song Cycle at Carnegie

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, January 23, 2018 Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin is a peculiar thing, part Romantic tragedy, part fairy-tale, part parade of gentle ironies, and part teenage melodrama, at once heart-on-sleeve and eloquent in what it doesn’t say. It’s also one of ...

Review: The Met Bets Successfully On Jennifer Rowley in Its Latest ‘Il Trovatore’

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, January 22, 2018 Surrounded by three opera powerhouses, a young American soprano tonight made another hefty, iconic role debut at the Metropolitan Opera. Her second such in ten days. And fearlessly. The soprano is Jennifer Rowley, and following last season’s ...

Review: Royal Concertgebouw Lives Up To Its Reputation as One of the World’s Finest In Carnegie Hall Residency

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, January 22, 2018 Carnegie Hall hosts a great variety of the world’s finest orchestras, and witnessing each ensemble relish the Hall’s flattering acoustics is a rewarding adventure for the curious listener. The most recent orchestra to grace ...

Review: Pianist Simone Dinnerstein Succeeds With an Unlikely Pairing of Glass and Schubert at the Miller Theater

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, January 22, 2018 The pianist Simone Dinnerstein had an unusual concept for her piano recital at Miller Theater on Thursday night, January 18: she presented a collection of pieces by Philip Glass and Franz Schubert, both of whom, as it happens, were born on ...

Review: American Soprano Jennifer Rowley Conquers Tosca at Met Opera

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, January 15, 2018 Up and coming American soprano Jennifer Rowley has boldly claimed for herself a new, career-changing role. Puccini’s Tosca is a monumental climb for a soprano, a career-defining mountain if, perhaps, not the toughest vocal peak. The opera ...

Mälkki Conducts New York Philharmonic with Violinist Baiba Skride

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, January 14, 2018 The New York Philharmonic welcomed busy Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki to the podium and Latvian solo violinist Baiba Skride, for a stimulating program beginning with the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major. While it may be notable that a ...

Review: A Traditional ‘Tosca’ Returns, With Cheers, to the Met

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, January 1, 2018 A pretty new Tosca arrived at the Metropolitan Opera last night, made exciting by the stunning work of tenor Vittorio Grigolo and an impressive debut by soprano Sonya Yoncheva in the haunted title role. But not before a tortured journey. The ...

Review: Bronfman Assails Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 With ‘Virtuosity and Finesse’

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, December 28, 2017 The great Hungarian-born pianist Andras Schiff has described Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 as “probably the single most difficult piece that I’ve ever played, and I usually end up with a keyboard covered by blood, ...

Review: Jamie Barton Brings Her Charms and Talents to Songs of Love, Longing, and Sex at Zankel Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, December 22, 2017 As predicted, Jamie Barton’s latest performance at Zankel Hall was quite an evening. Barton is a wonderful recitalist, and this was a terrific program, having to do with love and longing and sex, and tacitly asking questions about ...

Review: Baritone Andrei Bondarenko Brings His Communicative Power To Weill Recital Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, December 12, 2017 The voice-police were out in force for Andrei Bondarenko’s performance Friday night at Weill Recital Hall, and from the look of things, they were not most pleased, although candor compels me to note that few of them disdained the free ...

Review: Violinist Janine Jansen’s ‘Perspectives’ Proves Exciting and Enlightening at Zankel Hall

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017 Dutch violinist Janine Jansen’s reverential following is bound to proliferate in the wake of her five-concert Perspectives series this season at Carnegie Hall, the second installment of which took place December 9 at Zankel Hall.  Two ...

Review: Philadelphia Orchestra Is In ‘Superb Form’ Under Nézet-Séguin’s Baton

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017 The Philadelphia Orchestra’s latest Carnegie Hall appearance under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin began exhilaratingly with the New York premiere of Thomas Adès’s newly expanded Suite from Powder Her Face, an orchestral suite ...

Things Are Running AMOC In Boston (And If All Goes As Planned, It Will Be Spreading)

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, December 8, 2017 Looking for the re-invention of opera’s traditional image? Look no further, as Boston is becoming a hot-bed of boundary-pushing, inventive, chance-taking artists. Witness the launch of the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) introducing its ...

Review: Brilliant Programming Leads the Way With The Brentano String Quartet At 92nd Street Y

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 5, 2017 In the wonderfully warm acoustics of the 92nd Street Y, the exceptional Brentano String Quartet and beloved soprano Dawn Upshaw presented a satisfying Sunday feast that probed the depths of human expression with a few helpings of the First ...

Review: Chanticleer In Concert—Very Pleasant, But Not Entirely Satisfying

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, December 4, 2017 Chanticleer, the award-winning all-male vocal ensemble based in San Francisco, kicked off the national tour of its annual Christmas program this past Friday evening at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue. It was all very ...

Tanglewood Prepares For A Centennial Summer Celebrating Lenny

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, November 21, 2017 New York City is enjoying a season bursting with Leonard Bernstein, as befitting his hundredth birthday, with everything from rare performances of art songs to various interpretations of the great “Kaddish” Symphony. But Bernstein had a ...

Review: Benjamin Grosvenor Dazzles In Recital at 92nd Street Y

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, November 17, 2017 Hailed as a child prodigy who has gone on to a promising solo career, British concert pianist Benjamin Grosvenor dazzled New York audiences on Wednesday at the 92nd Street Y with an ambitious program both rangy and highly rewarding. He is a ...

Review: The Mariinsky Orchestra With Its Massive Sound Is A ‘Marvel’ At Carnegie Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, November 17, 2017 At least three things emerge from the Mariinsky Orchestra’s back-to-back concerts at Carnegie Hall this week. First, the Mariinsky is a world treasure. Second, Sergei Prokofiev is arguably the finest writer of music for orchestra ...

Review: The Swedish Chamber Orchestra Presents A Magnificent ‘Missa Solemnis’ That Transcends At Geffen Hall

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, November 14, 2017 Nearly two centuries after its completion, people still pretty much fall into two camps about Beethoven’s Missa solemnis: they think it’s either one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, or the chaotic leavings of a man who ...

Music In the Digital Age Sparks Creation of the Open Source Music Festival

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, November 10, 2017 Virtuoso pianist Joel Fan, a celebrated champion of new music and member of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, is launching the Open Source Music Festival at the Lower East Side’s Abrons Art Center on November 16—18. This is a ...

Review: BLO Presents a Historically Hair-Raising and Highly Entertaining World Premiere

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, November 10, 2017 For Boston Lyric Opera’s latest production, The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare, the mood is set immediately upon entering the circular rotunda of the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the ...

Review: The American Composers Orchestra Celebrates a Milestone With Successful Premieres

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, November 8, 2017 The American Composers Orchestra took a well-deserved victory lap on November 7, the occasion of their 40th anniversary gala concert. As the only orchestra in the country that is dedicated solely to the creation and performance of new ...

Elizabeth Ogonek Discusses ‘Sleep and Unremembrance’ Which Debuts with ACO This Week

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, November 6, 2017 This week the American Composers Orchestra celebrates its 40th anniversary. With a mission to broaden the profile of American classical music previously underrepresented, The ACO has chosen a program of established and up-and-coming American ...

Review: New York Philharmonic Continues Its Bernstein Tribute With Mixed Results

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, November 3, 2017 The second installment in the New York Philharmonic’s contextualized survey of Leonard Bernstein’s symphonic output features The Age of Anxiety, Bernstein’s second symphony, inspired by W.H. Auden’s eponymous poem, which it ...

BLO’s ‘Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare’ Digs Deep Into the Darker Side of History For Its Inspiration

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, November 1, 2017 As traditionally dark and tragic as opera can be, there’s a new addition to the repertoire—with an irreverent twist—in Boston Lyric Opera’s upcoming production of The Nefarious, Immoral But Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. ...

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