May 18, 2015

in: Reviews

Blowing It Up and Going for Broke

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The season closer for the Boston Chamber Music Society on Sunday evening at Sanders raised the roof and rocked the house.     [continued]

May 18, 2015

in: Reviews

The British Have Come: Sir John in Love

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Under conductor Gil Rose, Odyssey Opera’s production of  Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Falstaff opera Sir John in Love brought musical and theatrical delight to the BU Theater on Sunday. Repeat performances on Wednesday and Saturday.     [continued]

May 18, 2015

in: Reviews

Brash Baroque and Nostalgic Contemporary

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Sunday’s Coro Allegro concert at the Church of the Covenant spanned 300 years with two works: Handel’s Dixit Dominus , and Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum. A disappointing orchestra marred the choral prowess.     [continued]

May 18, 2015

in: Reviews

CMSLC’s Garden Party at Gardner

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The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s offbeat program on Sunday afternoon was the perfect vehicle for a swanky garden party of the imagination hosted by the Escher String quartet with pianist Alessio Bax and guitarist Jason Vieaux.     [continued]

May 18, 2015

in: Reviews

Chameleon Finds Phrases

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The Chameleon Arts Ensemble gave another characteristic mix of new, old and major works Saturday at the First Church of Boston; it was intellectually engaging, if impossible to summarize.     [continued]

May 15, 2015

in: Reviews

Commonwealth Cossacks Beyond the Charles

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Turkish soldiers, Cossacks, diverse singers, players, and dancers supplied great delight in the Commonwealth Lyric Theater staging of Cossack Beyond the Danube by Semyon Hulak-Artemovsky last night at Newton Centre’s First Baptist Church     [continued]

May 15, 2015

in: Reviews

Guerilla Opera Premieres Pedr Solis

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Last night at the MFA, Guerilla Opera premièred  Pedr Solis, a chamber opera with libretto by Paul Schick and music by Per Bloland in a space that did little to support the challenging work. Continues at Boston Conservatory’s Zack Box May 15th – 17th  & 21st – 23rd.     [continued]

May 14, 2015

in: Reviews

Strong Personalities and Formidable Techniques

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The Equilibrium Concert Series presented pianists Karl Larson and Andy Costello in a double-bill of new and unfamiliar work Tuesday in the Lilypad Gallery in Inman Square, a modified storefront concert space.    [continued]

May 12, 2015

in: Reviews

Uchida Dispatches Her Finest from Vermont

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As part of the Sunday Concert Series at the Gardner, Musicians from Marlboro captivated with classics by Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart.     [continued]

May 11, 2015

in: Reviews

Gorgeous Singing in a Harem

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Under its excellent Artistic Director Ryan Turner, Emmanuel Music performed Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglioin concert with an extraordinary cast on Saturday night at the namesake church.     [continued]

May 11, 2015

in: Reviews

Stephen Hough, Master Impressionist

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Friday night saw Stephen Hough at the keyboard in Jordan Hall. Summoned by the Celebrity Series of Boston, he led a tour of impressionism by Debussy and Chopin with mastery, insight, and passion.     [continued]

May 11, 2015

in: Reviews

Back Bay Chorale’s Spiritual Offering

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One-hundred-twenty-five voices strong, Back Bay Chorale flooded St. Paul’s Church Cambridge on Saturday with Christian utterance including Maurice Duruflé’s greatly transporting Requiem.   [continued]

May 8, 2015

in: Reviews

Whitman Settings Mark Civil War

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The Harvard Radcliffe Chorus and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project offered a short program of two choral works to texts by Walt Whitman on May 3rd at Sanders Theater.     [continued]

May 6, 2015

in: Reviews

“Music in Motion” Sometimes Misses

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Brookline Village Puppets joined Juventas New Music Ensemble at Club Oberon earlier tonight for a hit and miss “Music in Motion.”     [continued]

May 5, 2015

in: Reviews

Harvard Commemorates

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The “Battle Hymns” concert at Sanders Theater presented by the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium along with the Boston Children’s Chorus and the Harvard Dance Project on Saturday was part of Harvard’s Civil War Project, as was “Drum Taps” on Thursday.   [continued]

May 4, 2015

in: Reviews

Joseph Smith Remembered at Fredericks’

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Stephen Porter strode briskly out to the 1877 Blüthner grand and swung straight into a finely nuanced, rhythmically straightforward reading of two of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces as a memorial to the late Joseph Smith.     [continued]

May 4, 2015

in: Reviews

Ah, Cappella non Clausura

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The season closer of Cappella Clausura, last Saturday at Emmanuel Church, spanned almost a millennium while keeping its focus chiefly on the nature of God.     [continued]

May 3, 2015

in: Reviews

Eloquence and Brutalism at the Gardner

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Miriam Fried and strings students from Ravinia’s Steans Institute performed a well-planned concert covering three eras of chamber music at Calderwood Hall on Sunday with interestingly mixed results.     [continued]

May 3, 2015

in: Reviews

Radius Still Reaching After 16 Seasons

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Radius Ensemble offered a solid Longy crowd a somewhat less familiar work of Robert Schumann and up-and-coming Gabriela Lena Frank’s newest, while fearsome chromaticism from Sofia Gubaidalina countered chaste triads of Arvo Pärt.     [continued]

May 3, 2015

in: Reviews

Don Giovanni Lite Delights Theater Crowd

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Fatal punishment came to The Rake on the Shubert Theater’s stage Friday night in a jolly production by Boston Lyric Opera.     [continued]

May 3, 2015

in: Reviews

Great English Opera Heard at Harvard

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Handel’s Athalia, generally considered to be the first great English Oratorio, was revived at Harvard’s Memorial Church under the vivid direction of Edward Elwyn Jones on Friday.    [continued]

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May 21, 2015

in: News & Features

Keyboard Spirits Revive

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The founder

The founder

From 35 feet below the sidewalk of Boylston Street’s “Piano Row,” ghosts are beginning to stir in Boston’s most legendary, perhaps only remaining 19th-century theater (although we are certainly aware of the regrettably dark 1900 Colonial Theater next door and the 1870 Sanders Theater in Cambridge). We don’t mean the spirit of the elevator operator in one of the last cabs in Boston to require an attendant (automated in 2011); he after all was infamous for renting vacant artists’ studios by the hour for non-musical uses. Nor are we hearing the disembodied voice of Morris Steinert*, whose empire once stretched to 42 music stores and two piano factories; his autobiography humorously passed on his “wisdom” on selling pianos to “Hebrews” (among others), “show him one that is conspicuous by reason of its size and high polish, and then talk” [more here]. The spiritual chatter I am sensing emanates rather from a chorus of greats—the likes of Artur Rubinstein, the Kneisel Quartet, various Madams of the opera, and a distinguished roster of celebrity pianists—who played Steinert Hall from 1896 until its closing shortly after Louise Vosgerchian’s high school recital in 1942. [continued…]

May 15, 2015

in: News & Features

Composer/Librettist Walks Tightrope

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Matthew_Aucoin

Matthew Aucoin

The 150th anniversary of the conclusion of the War of Southern Rebellion, and of the assassination of Lincoln, has occasioned all manner of remembrance and observance. The issues latent and overt remain serious passions for some today. Young Boston composer Matthew Aucoin, all in the news recently, attempts in the manner of Walt Whitman to contain multitudes. BMInt had many questions concerning his new opera based on Walt Whitman for the American Repertory Theater. Crossing begins a six-performance run with A Far Cry and familiar soloists at the Schubert Theater on May 29th. BMInt’s Patrick Valentino conversed recently with the composer.

PV: Opening night is less than two weeks off. How are the rehearsals going?

Matthew Aucoin: [Stage Director] Diane Paulus has laser vision; she can look, like an x-ray, into the heart of the piece. To talk about last-minute changes, tweaks, cuts, editions, has been invaluable. I thought, this is a challenging new opera where the harmonies are unpredictable and the rhythms really challenging, so I figured that we would need to have proven it, so to speak, by now, that it would have to be the final product and that any changes would simply be freaky and terrifying to the cast. But everybody has been open to it. “Yeah, let’s take out five bars here, let’s add five bars there.” And the piece is coming into sharper and sharper focus, which feels so satisfying. [continued…]

May 13, 2015

in: News & Features

Bypassing the Nineteenth Century

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janus1bwith Bálint Karosi

The unexamined concert is not worth programming…

Music is a sensual delight, but for the philosophical mind it can also summon thickets of meaning and association. Antico Moderno, so named because it rhymes better than in English, aims to reveal an elegant concept with cerebral heft when our period-instrument ensemble, with its uniquely bifurcated focus presents “La Divisione” this Friday at Boston’s First Lutheran Church. Pairing works of the Baroque alongside contemporary compositions played on the same early instruments constitutes a fascinating and, we hope, illuminatingly rarefied and well-executed departure. [continued…]

May 9, 2015

in: News & Features

Rosy Opera Odyssey to England

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Falstaff by Eduard von Grützner

Falstaff by Eduard von Grützne

The ever-enterprising Odyssey Opera ends its second season as it did its first, with a festival devoted to operas drawn from a national group, with works writ large and small. A major score, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Sir John in Love, comes to Boston and apparently the New World for its first professional production. A video preview is here.

After two full seasons, the unusual and stimulating pattern of the company’s approach becomes clearer: Open the season early in the fall with a concert performance of an important opera not previously heard in Boston (Rienzi in 2013, Die tote Stadt in 2014) and unlikely, owing to size, complexity, and cost, to be given a staged performance here; occasional performances of carefully selected smaller operas, often by American composers, in various venues during the winter season; then, in late May and June, a closing festival of operas—last year Italian, this year English.

All of this takes place under the extremely long-reaching baton of the extraordinary Gil Rose, who in the past 20 years since his arrival in Boston, has contributed with boundless imagination to the city’s musical life, at first through his founding of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which produces at least four concerts a year of the widest possible range of modern music (taking that adjective in its broadest sense to include both brand new works and worthy compositions somewhat older but all-too-often overlooked or underperformed). In programming these concerts, he has demonstrated an openness and catholicity of taste that has benefited the city’s musicians, audiences, and the composers represented. This influence has reached far beyond Boston through the orchestra’s ongoing recording activities. Since founding its own label, BMOP/sound, the organization has put out over 40 CDs; the total reaches nearly 60 if earlier recordings issued by other labels are included. [continued…]

May 7, 2015

in: News & Features

Beyond the Ordinary Opera

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Syzokryl dancer

Syzokryl dancer

Yet again, the lively Commonwealth Lyric Theater is staging a rarely-performed Slavic work, this time, Cossack Beyond the Danube by Semyon Hulak-Artemovsky. Lidiya Yankovskaya will conduct a well-chosen orchestra, principal singers from great opera houses, and choristers and dancers from the local Russian/ Ukrainian community. The series of three shows begins on May 14th in Newton’s First Baptist Church. The music is bright and fun, and some of it can be heard in a wonderful silent film with accompaniment here. BMInt had some questions for Executive Director, Olga Lisovskaya.

BMInt: With the conflict going on between Russia and Ukraine, was producing this opera a choice dictated by the current political climate?

OL: Actually, the idea to stage this delightful comedy was born before the conflict started. The year of 2013 was Verdi’s 200th anniversary. All musical establishments were producing Verdi’s operas and all-Verdi concerts. Our theater, being true to our mission statement to seek out rarely produced Slavic works, put on an Opera Gala in November, celebrating the 200th anniversaries of Verdi, Dargomyzhsky and Hulak-Artemovsky. When Hulak-Artemovsky’s music began playing, the audience erupted in applause, and when the selection was over, the audience gave us a standing ovation. [continued…]

May 5, 2015

in: News & Features

Student Life Recentered at NEC

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necawNew England Conservatory hosted a ground-breaking ceremony today to celebrate the beginning of construction on its long-overdue and much-anticipated Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC), its first new building since the opening of the Spaulding Library and the dormitory at 33 Gainsborough Street in 1959. With both Boston Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music, along with Mass Art, Northeastern and Boston University, having opened impressive new buildings within the past several years, the NEC project would appear to be something of a late arrival on the Boston college campus scene.

In actual fact, however, the original impetus for the project was an architectural study, completed in 1997, that was commissioned by NEC to explore the possibilities of combining its two separate libraries: the Isabelle Firestone audio library, located below Jordan Hall, and the Josiah Spaulding Library, located on the corner of Gainsborough Street and Huntington Avenue, that contains NEC’s print collection. That study concluded that there was no place to create a combined library at NEC other than to construct a totally new building in the parking lot behind the existing dormitory on Gainsborough Street and immediately adjacent to the classroom building located at 241 St. Botolph Street, directly across from Northeastern University’s Matthews Arena. [continued…]

April 30, 2015

in: News & Features

Juventas in Motion

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bicycle-faye

Puppetry by Faye Dupras

BMInt has recognized the value of Juventas New Music Ensemble’s performances across many disciplines with more than a dozen rave reviews. The Intelligencer has also registered great pleasures in the accomplishments of conductor and Artistic Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. Therefore we point to our readers Juventas’s Music in Motion, a journey through 100 years of music interpreted through theatrical puppetry, featuring established works from the last 100 years alongside three world premieres and a pre-show one-act comic opera. Performances take place on May 5th & 6th at A.R.T.’s Oberon, at 7:30 PM. More details are here.

BMInt communicated with Juventas Artistic Director Lidiya Yankovskaya and Puppet Showplace’s Roxanna Myhrum about the production.

Is the “100 years of music” rubric referring to something concrete? [continued…]

April 28, 2015

in: News & Features

Victims’ Perspectives on the Rake

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Raimondi as the Don

Raimondi as the Don

Boston Lyric Opera’s five-day run of Don Giovanni opens at the Schubert Theater on Friday in what General and Artistic director Esther Nelson describes as a new perspective, “Audiences see Don Giovanni from the point of view of his conquests. The machismo sometimes celebrated in other productions is definitely a liability here. And the talented, beautiful, young cast, along with the production design, propels a 230-year-old opera right to the heart of today’s important social issues.”

Helmed by a female-led creative team and starring Australian baritone Duncan Rock in his U.S. lead-role debut as the Rake, the production also features International Opera Awards finalist Jennifer Johnson Cano stars as Donna Elvira.

Stage director Emma Griffin envisioned the new production as “powered by two key women in Giovanni’s life, Donna Anna, whom he attempts to seduce and whose father he kills in a duel; and Donna Elvira, whom Griffin sees as Giovanni’s match.”

Griffin talked with BMInt about her work, as did Cano. [continued…]

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