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October 2014
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Author Archive

Show Boat’s Voyage into the Opera House

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When Lyric Opera of Chicago added the music theater piece Show Boat to its schedule in February of 2012, it seemed like a departure to some, a reconciliation to others. Many felt the gesture was long overdue; that is, opera companies should produce American musicals.

Lyric’s production was soon staged by the Houston Grand Opera and the San Francisco Opera. American director Francesca Zambello

Utrecht Early Music Festival on Baroque&Before

A hand carved scroll on a period instrument from the Utrecht Early Music Festival

This week, Baroque&Before offers early music in settings steeped in history and tradition.

Each year, the Utrecht Early Music Festival draws top performers for a season of concerts set in locations that, in some cases, are as old as the music. Specializing in repertoire from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque, the festival hosts nearly 100 concerts, spanning 1,000 years of music in churches and castles throughout the

Esa-Pekka Salonen, iPads, and Turning 50

Esa-Pekka Salonen, c. Benjamin Suomela

He was hailed as a wunderkind when he seized the reigns of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at 34, half the age of other prominent conductors. Many observed that his boyish good looks made him seem even younger, but the people of Los Angeles quickly discovered this much-hyped maestro to be an intense and serious musician.

Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)

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Fans are mourning the loss of American composer Stephen Paulus who died on Sunday at the age of 65. Paulus wrote works for many American artists and ensembles, including Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Singers were particularly drawn to his treatment of the human voice, which garnered commissions from Deborah Voigt, Samuel Ramey, Thomas Hampson

Shostakovich as a “Calling Card”

Atrium

The pairing of performers and compatriot composers is such a satisfying notion (like having a French meal at l’Ecole Le Cordon Bleu Paris) that in a field crowded with artists carving out an identity, it happens a lot. It almost seems cliché for a Russian quartet to focus on Shostakovich – except so many reviewers

Artur Rodzinski, A Fire Breathing Maestro

RodzinskiArtur

Tune in for two fascinating documentaries. Polish-American conductor Artur Rodziński is remembered for his fiery temperament on and off the podium. Stories abound of his having kept a loaded pistol in his pocket. Some rumors, likely apocryphal, go so far as to claim that he once

Impromptu with Marc-André Hamelin and Takács

WFMT's Lisa Flynn chats with Geraldine and Edward

The formidable pianist Marc-André Hamelin joins the Takács Quartet for a concert at Symphony Center on Thursday, October 16. Mr. Hamelin and two of the quartet players stopped by the WFMT studios for a live Impromptu. Mr. Hamelin

A Last-Minute Concerto Hits Home

Walt Disney Concert Hall

“The playing was superb. The audience was large and acutely enthusiastic. A sense of well-being seemed to pervade the hall. Anyone wanting to understand why Disney has been such a success and the L.A. Phil appears an unusually happy orchestra…could find out why with this program.”

Chicago’s Incubator for Opera Singers

Ryan Opera Center bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba as "Don Giovanni"

Richard Ollarsaba, who was the “cover” for Don Giovanni star Mariusz Kwiecien, got the call at 10:00 am: “Mr. Kwiecien will not be able to sing today. You’re on.” He had four hours until curtain.

“The instant I got the call, adrenaline shot through my system, but after the initial shock I immediately went into work mode and the only thing I could tell myself was ‘Just do your job’

Chicago a cappella Impromptu

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Chicago a cappella gave an Impromptu on Tuesday at WFMT, previewing a concert they’re billing as the musical intersections of the world’s faiths, exploring mystical, harmonically mesmerizing, and contemplative sacred vocal traditions. The ethnic basis