Andris Nelsons commanded a powerful program of 20th-century Russian music, all of it played and sung sumptuously and compellingly on Tuesday. [continued]
With a nod to history, and an astute ear to giving pleasure, Handel & Haydn Society embarked on its bicentennial season. Sunday’s Symphony Hall audience was well-provided attractions and thrills. [continued]
“And I didn’t even play a note,” NEC President Emeritus Laurence Lesser quipped in response to the applause as he took to the stage to introduce the 31st First Monday at Jordan Hall season. [continued]
We can be grateful to the BU College of Fine Arts for producing Kurt Weill’s and Bertolt Brecht’s, 1933 “sung ballet” Die sieben Todsünden (The Seven Deadly Sins) at the Lane-Bonnie Comley Studio 210. [continued]
Boston Camerata kicked off its 61st season Saturday with a festive “Nueva España: Close Encounters in the New World, 1590-1690” at All Saints’ Church in Ashmont. [continued]
With offerings ranging from the Classical to the contemporary, the Winsor Music Chamber Series launched its 2015-2016 season Sunday evening at St. Paul’s Church, Brookline. [continued]
A Far Cry presided over one of the Gardner Museum’s “Stir” concerts. Given the thematic moniker “Vs.”, it comprised Sport, War, and Politics. [continued]
Boston Lyric Opera’s intriguing new production of La Bohème drew inspiration from French New Wave cinema, updating the action to the days surrounding the violent and calamitous student uprising in Paris in 1968. Continues on October 4th, 7th, 9th and 11th at the Citi Performing Arts CenterSM Shubert Theater. [continued]
The Boston Early Music Festival’s 26th-concert series opened last night at First Lutheran Church, Cambridge with a beautifully conceived and executed recital by soprano Emma Kirkby and lutenist Jakob Lindberg. [continued]
The Boston Symphony Orchestra launched its 135th season with an all-Russian program. Celebrating the start of his second season (and the BSO’s 135th) as the BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons drew a hedonistically opulent sound; the honeymoon between conductor and ensemble abides. [continued]
SeptemberFest, the Longy School’s annual autumn festival showcasing its alumni, students, and faculty, had a special force this year as the school celebrated its first century as a music conservatory. [continued]
Eudaimonia may support Boston-based social service or initiatives, but its initial concert on Sunday at the Medford Unitarian Universalist church also offered an encouraging artistic augury. [continued]
With Gabriel Chodos attempting to wrestle him, Beethoven devolved to a big, shambling, furry thing last Tuesday at Jordan Hall. [continued]
Musica Viva kicked off its 47th season last night in BU’s Tsai Center with “Steven Stucky & European Friends,” where duets and sextets were the order of the night and the East Coast première of Stucky’s Cantus was the impetus. [continued]
Sunday’s ISGM “TransAmericana” concert commemorated the 25th anniversary of Scott Nickrenz’s reign at its head, and the 5th anniversary of A Far Cry’s residency there. [continued]
As the foursome’s changing of the guard reaches completion this year, time and its passing were strongly felt in the works by Schubert, Carter and Debussy performed on Sunday for the Concord Chamber Music Society. [continued]
Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music runs through October 11th at the Huntington Theater Company. My report from last Friday (9/18) finds much to like, but mistiming sporadically led to ennui. [continued]
Soprano Tony Arnold and violinist Movses Pogossian smashingly revealed Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments Wednesday night at BoCo. [continued]
European opera buffs got a chance to see a production by La Scala of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, accompanied by considerably fanfare and hype, when the Franco-German channel Arte did a live, remote broadcast of the work. [continued]
The inimitable Dawn Upshaw and her long-time partner pianist Gilbert Kalish bring a program inspired by folk songs to Jordan Hall next weekend in what constitutes Upshaw’s eighth appearance for the Celebrity Series, though she has not appeared in a CS recital here since 2009. Rarely performed Hungarian pieces by Bartók, Kodály, beloved works by Schubert, a William Bolcom set, and a premier of a work commissioned for the duo by Sheila Silver are on the agenda.
Dawn Upshaw answered a few questions for the Intelligencer.
BMInt: Having become an essential interpreter of new music and art song, do you ever yearn to go back to your high school days as the only girl in the “Singing Rockets?”
DU: Oh my! I’m not sure where that incorrect fact comes from, but the “Singing Rockets” were always a mixed choir! There were plenty of other girls
I’m not aware that you ever played an operatic bad girl. Does that appeal to you as a role against type?
I’m very flattered that you think of me as such a “good” girl. In the best of roles, there is enough depth of character that we can see and empathize with the character’s struggle in trying to make good choices over poor ones. No one is perfect, not even Anne Trulove. I find my work most gratifying when working with a good director who understands the challenges that are an inherent part of human nature. [continued…]
With an apology to the Classicists among the BMInt readers it’s probably safe to assert that for most of us, brushing up our Euripides through a lively musical entertainment seems preferable to witnessing a period staging in an amphitheater. Christoph Willibald Gluck must have thought so too, when he penned his tragédie en musique, Iphigénie en Tauride (Iphigenia in Tauris), for the Paris Opera in 1779.
The lively and surprisingly advanced French opera in four acts, gets a free concert performance (with English surtitles) on October 7th at 7:30 with New England Conservatory’s top singers and the NEC Philharmonia, conducted by Stephen Lord, and directed by NEC’s Opera Studies chair, Joshua Major. Readers can expect an excellent show from this crowd.
According to Major, it contains “all the elements that continue to fascinate audiences to this day, in tabloids and soap operas as well as award-winning novels, plays, and films: unhappy families, mistaken identity, dream visions, murder, and stormy weather. And in the end, how else can a high priestess keep her dignity and sanity intact—after four acts full of twists and turns—but with the help of her goddess?”
Major added: [continued…]
Boston University’s Fringe Festival has an excellent and long record of producing new or rarely performed significant works in the opera and theater repertoire. Since 2002, William Lumpkin, Director of the Opera Institute, and School of Theatre Director Jim Petosa have presided over 20 rich and diverse productions which “seek to intertwine the dramatic content of an opera with the musical aspect of a score.”
This year’s festival kicks off at the Lane- Comley Studio 210 with Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins, October 2nd–4th. Widely considered among Weill’s masterpieces, the opera tells of two immigrant sisters who embark on a seven-year odyssey through seven vice-laden cities, as they try to earn money and build a family home in Louisiana. Berthold Brecht was the ironic librettist. [continued…]
Over the last five years Emmanuel Music’s Artistic Director Ryan Turner has left his imprint with SRO performances of The Great Gatsby and A Little Night Music, as well as, more predictably, the company’s first St. John Passion in many years. Throughout this season, titled Bach Reimagined, the master provides the programming inspiration, beginning October 3rd with Bach Rearranged, comprising Mahler’s, Stravinsky’s, and the Swingle Singers’ takes.
Emmanuel Music also continues its 46-year Bach cantata series in a liturgical setting and carries on with the second year of its Mendelssohn/Wolf Chamber Series, which includes collaborations with the Lydian and the Arneis Quartets.
The Intelligencer had questions for Turner.
BMInt: Tell us about the way things change and the way they stay the same—like the cantatas. [continued…]
The weekend after next, Boston Camerata offers its multicultural celebration “Nueva España: Close Encounters in the New World,” exploring the meld of Spanish Baroque music with indigenous American cultures and African rhythms. All Saints’ Ashmont at 3pm on Saturday October 3rd and Trinity Church, Copley Square on Sunday October 4th will resound with guitar, maracas, tambourine and Caribbean singers complementing the grandeur of cathedral voices, organ, and sackbuts. This Latin American Baroque program calls attention to the meetingplaces of light and beauty which arose in those terrible centuries of the Age of Exploration in the New World, emphasizing fruitful exchanges among American cultures, the Spanish, and Africans.
Camerata is joined by the Trinity Choristers, Boston City Singers, and the Haitian women’s choir Les Fleurs des Caraïbes. We spoke recently with Camerata artistic director Anne Azéma.
BMInt: Buenos dias; ¿cómo estás? Or as I usually ask, Wassup¿
Anne Azéma: Je vais très bien, merci.
We’re used to hearing you in French and in English. What led to this “Nueva España” season start? [continued…]
As the semi-millennial observances of the Protestant Reformation approach, Boston’s First Lutheran Church has announced a series of “Bach” Vespers services beginning next Saturday evening; these will also celebrate the composer who stands at the pinnacle of the Reformation’s remarkable influence on the history of music. Under Bálint Karosi, Organist and Minister of Music, the First Lutheran choir, soloists and period orchestra will weave the Bach cantata liturgically appropriate for the day and motets from the Florilegium Portense and Leipziger Gesangbuch into a Vespers format typical of 18th-century Lutheran practice. As in the services Bach led as Cantor of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, the cantatas will occur as part of the service. The Vespers also occasion new looks at Martin Luther’s theology and the high regard for Luther’s teachings Bach immortally expressed in music. This extensive article explores the question of how we should regard some of Luther’s better forgotten animosities during this anniversary celebration; in addition, we salute Karosi, who has been called to be cantor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in NYC. [continued…]
The timing could hardly be better for a plug: Marcus Thompson is named one of but 13 MIT Institute Professors just as his Boston Chamber Music Society begins its season. We could not be happier for him; we’ve known Thompson and BCMS forever, it seems. He has written for BMInt and, more important, played essential roles in local musical life.
BCMS plays Sanders Theater Sunday at 7:30, Haydn Piano Trio in C Major Hob. XV:21, Beethoven String Trio in G Major, Op. 9 no. 1, and the Strauss Piano Quartet in C Minor. Thompson will be onstage with his viola and his smile. We plan to strew rose petals.
“Since the first announcement of my appointment, last June, the nicest thing after hearing from so many friends and supporters is for once not to hear from anyone, ‘oh, is there music at MIT?’ The music faculty I joined in 1973 was augmented by theater arts in the mid-1980s at the suggestion of Dean Nan Friedlaender while I was serving as department head. The addition of several splendid appointments in theater and dance made us into what we are now: music and theater arts. Our classes, ensembles and programs are routinely overenrolled, especially now since they can be counted in our ‘learning by doing’ MIT culture toward fulfilling the arts and humanities requirement. I remained truly surprised and humbled at being honored for advocating for excellence! How hard can that be?” [continued…]
Over the September 25th -27th weekend, Longy will kick off its yearlong 100-event centennial celebration with “SeptemberFest: Honoring the Past, Illuminating the Future”. It takes place at Pickman Hall, with “1915: Paris & Boston”, an evening harking back to 1915 and moonily featuring Fauré’s La lune blanche luit dans les bois and Clair de lune op. 46 no. 2; Debussy’s Beau soir; and Saint-Saëns’s Le lever de la lune. Details of the SeptemberFest offerings, including names of the faculty and student performers, are here. All concerts are free, but tickets are recommended.
French oboist Georges Longy, young virtuoso and Paris Conservatory graduate, had been principal chair at the BSO for 15 years (half his stint there) when he founded the Longy School, in the fall of 1915, bringing his “new, holistic model for comprehensive training in musicianship and performance to Boston, modeled after the French conservatoire.” Famous NYTimes critic Olin Downes wrote that “Longy probably influenced the musical life of Boston more than any other one man”. [Others might point to Lowell Mason, John Sullivan Dwight or H.L.Higginson] A century later, the Longy School of Music of Bard College respects its eponym’s principle of “providing a rigorous, versatile music education that meets the needs of all students in a personal and practical way”.
Longy President Karen Zorn spoke with BMInt recently. We discussed SeptemberFest, whether the founder’s méthode has really survived unchanged over 100 years, and other matters. [continued…]more news & features →