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Classical News & Reviews

The latest news in New York City classical music. From Carnegie Hall to the Metropolitan Opera, from the New York Philharmonic to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, find previews, reviews and commentary here at ZEALnyc.

Four Nations Ensemble

Review: Collegial Camaraderie Highlights the Voyage of the Four Nations Ensemble at Merkin

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, April 11, 2018 Taking off from Watteau’s ambiguous, evocative painting L’Embarquement pour Cythère, the Four Nations Ensemble came up with an ambiguous, evocative and, in the end, deeply stirring program of French music ranging over the ...

Friction Quartet

Review: Vietnam War-Inspired Programming Results In the Sublime to the Questionable

By Christopher Johnson, March 26, 2018 No one could have anticipated that the climactic event in Carnegie Hall’s months-long festival (with Friction Quartet) The ’60s: The Years that Changed America would coincide with the March for Our Lives, one of the biggest protests since the Vietnam War ...

Miller Theatre

Pop-Up Concerts Return To The Miller Theatre — Just In Time for Cocktails

ZEALnyc, March 23, 2018 Planning ways to connect with friends and colleagues can often be challenging, but what if you could find a way to combine socializing while hearing a cutting-edge concert and also enjoying a drink? All for free? Impossible? No. The Miller Theater at Columbia University ...

Jazz Notes Intel: Farmer-Turned-Maestro David Amram’s Wisdom of the ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, November 7, 2018 At age 87, the curious jazz connoisseur, accomplished classical composer and agriculturist at heart, David Amram stands tall in the wisdom of the arts. Largely underappreciated in jazz circles, he firmly and singularly expresses his passion to encourage arts-minded ...

Jazz Notes Intel

Jazz Notes Intel: Overcoming Boundaries Chapter — Guitarist Lionel Loueke Journeys ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, October 9, 2018 In jazz, there is a plethora of guitarists, each with a voice on the six strings that rocks with fire or soothes with pastel colors or embellishes with strokes that support the surrounding conversations. Then there’s the ...

Art Break

Art Break: Engage in the Thrill of Discovery at Galleries ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, September 24, 2018 One of the best things about a new season of art shows and exhibitions is that moment when you walk into the room, look around, and say “Wow – this is where I want to be!” If you want ...

New York Philharmonic

Review: New York 'Officially' Meets Jaap with Philharmonic's Season Opening

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, September 22, 2018 The 2018-2019 season, and a new era for the New York Philharmonic, began with a gala concert at David Geffen Hall on Thursday evening. Entitled "New York, Meet Jaap," Jaap van Zweden made his debut with the orchestra as ...

New York Renaissance Faire

Life In Focus: It's Fairy-Nice at the New York Renaissance ...

By Juliana Crawford, Contributing Photographer, September 20, 2018   [caption id="attachment_60766" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Consulting a Book of Magic and Spells at the Faire; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_60771" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] The Villagers of the Renaissance Faire; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [...

PermaDeath

The First Video Game Opera, 'PermaDeath,' Receives Its World ...

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, September 19, 2018 At first glance, the title of Cerise Jacobs’s upcoming world’s first video game opera PermaDeath seems to imply another dark take or tale using the commercial success and wide-spread popularity of the multiplayer video game phenomenon. But ...

Judson Dance Theater

Roots of Modern Dance Are Traced through MoMA's Current Exhibit ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, September 18, 2018 The current exhibit at MoMA entitled Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done is an homage to the dance artists who created work at the Judson Church in the 60s and 70s. The dancers and choreographers who created ...

The Power of Art

Art Break: The Power of Art Through the Ages at ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, September 17, 2018 This week, Art Break is looking at a wide variety of art movements as well as their purpose and meaning. The oldest material on our list comes from The Frick’s exhibition of fifteenth century religious and devotional ...

There Will Be Blood

Review: Film Soundtracks Take Center Stage in NY Philharmonic's Art ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, September 14, 2018 If the New York Philharmonic were to program an evening of music by avant-garde Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, I suspect it would be a tough sell. The audience would be limited, and probably dwindle in number as the night ...

Agnes

Review: 'Agnes' Brings Dramatic and Meteorological Tensions to 59E59 Theater

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, September 14, 2018 Agnes is a compelling play about family, friendship, and connections. Set in a three-bedroom New York City apartment, Agnes presents five millennials sheltering themselves from a major storm. The talented playwright, Catya McMullen, adeptly sets up the backstory for ...

A Quiet Place

Review: Curtis Opera Theatre Brings a Newly Revised ‘A Quiet Place’ to Kaye Playhouse

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, March 16, 2018 Let’s not beat about the bush: A Quiet Place, Leonard Bernstein’s second opera, is a frustrating thing, brimming over with musical ideas of great interest and occasional beauty, but saddled with an unpleasant, implausible cast of ...

The Threepenny Opera

BLO’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ Is As Timely As Ever Through Its Creatives’ Vision

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, March 8, 2018 The Boston Lyric Opera is bringing back to stage writer Bertolt Brecht’s and composer Kurt Weill’s 1928 classic The Threepenny Opera, exposing a theme that has never really gone out of style. Topically, in fact, the subject matter is right ...

Anne-Sophie Mutter

Review: Anne-Sophie Mutter Triumphs Through Technique and Keen Interpretive Powers

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, March 6, 2018 Anne-Sophie Mutter takes command. Those straggling late-comers? Let them shuffle in — she begins her performance as if they aren’t there, immediately seizing control of the room and setting the tone. Those (alas, seemingly inevitable) ...

Elektra

Review: The Metropolitan Opera Revives Its Compelling ‘Elektra,’ And Comes Very Close to Success

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, March 1, 2018 The House of Atreus fell apart again tonight, as the Metropolitan Opera revived its crisp Patrice Chéreau production of Elektra with the American soprano (New York’s own to be specific) Christine Goerke making an anticipated New York debut as ...

Vienna Philharmonic

Review: Dudamel Leads the Stellar Vienna Philharmonic With Humble Authority at Carnegie

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 27, 2018 Sunday’s appearance at Carnegie Hall by the venerated Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel provided art and artistry of numerous contrasts. First, the pairing of this great European ensemble, an institution with roots ...

New York Polyphony

Review: New York Polyphony Makes Beautiful Music, But At What Cost?

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, February 26, 2018 Thomas Tallis (1505?-1585) and his colleagues may have left virtually no information about how they wanted their sacred choral music to be performed, but they were abundantly—well-nigh exuberantly—clear about why they wrote it and ...

Brahms Trios

Review: Ax, Kavakos and Ma Achieve Greatness In Brahms Trios at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 26, 2018 Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax, longtime chamber music partners, have been joined by violinist Leonidas Kavakos in a brilliant recent recording of the three Johannes Brahms piano trios on Sony Classical, and are now touring the U.S. ...

Anna Caterina Antonacci

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, ...

Semiramide

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 ...

Die Walükre

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 of Die Walküre —they were howls of rage and contempt, and cries of “What an idiot!,” and a shouting-match that might have led to fisticuffs ...

Chicago Symphony

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 ...

Bell and Denk

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 ...

Matthias Goerne and Daniil Trifonov

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 ...

Parsifal

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

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, February 5, 2018 Tonight’s Parsifal 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 ...

Stéphane Denève

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 ...

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna

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 ...

Cleveland Orchestra

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 ...

Jonas Kaufmann

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 ...

Il Trovatore

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 ...

Royal Concertgebouw

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 ...

Simone Dinnerstein

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 ...

Fall Preview classical music

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 ...

Tosca

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 ...

Yefim Bronfman

Review: Yefim 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, ...

Jamie Barton

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 ...

Andrei Bondarenko

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 ...

Janine Jansen

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 has a reverential following that 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 ...

Philadelphia Orchestra

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

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 11, 2017 The Philadelphia Orchestra in its 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 ...

American Modern Opera Company

Things Are Running AMOC In Boston (And If All Goes As Planned, It Will Be Spreading) with American Modern Opera Company

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 ...

Brentano String Quartet

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 ...

Chanticleer

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 ...

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