August 15, 2017

in: Reviews

Thrills and No Spills from PCMF

by

Portland Chamber Music Festival gave solid and often downright thrilling performances of Mendelssohn, Davidovsky and Elgar on Sunday.    [continued]

August 14, 2017

in: Reviews

A Long Night and Day and Night at Tanglewood

by

This long review will recount my mad dash through five concerts in 30 hours, beginning on Saturday at 6 p.m. with the Prelude Concert at Ozawa Hall.    [continued]

August 14, 2017

in: Reviews

Take the A+ Train

by

The Harlem Quartet returned to Maverick Concerts on Sunday with substantial programming and playing.    [continued]

August 13, 2017

in: Reviews

Chamber Delights in the State o’ Maine

by

An engaging, eclectic mix opened the 24th season of the Portland Chamber Music Festival  Thursday .    [continued]

August 13, 2017

in: Reviews

NEXUS Doesn’t Perplexus

by

The Maverick audience ate up the what these virtuoso advocates of Stephen Reich brought to various styles.    [continued]

August 12, 2017

in: Reviews

Berkshire Modernism Samplers, Cont.

by

Tanglewood FCM day two filled Ozawa Hall with seven intriguing pieces, curated by Kathryn Bates.    [continued]

August 12, 2017

in: Reviews

Enjoyable Diversity on Romantic Walcker

by

Kevin Birch’s solid Methuen recital on Wednesday might have been truly memorable if invested with a bit of derring-do.    [continued]

August 12, 2017

in: Reviews

Electrification in Koussi’s Shed

by

The BSO, Gil Shaham, and Alisa Weilerstein devoured Dvořák, Brahms, and Stravinsky under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero yesterday at Tanglewood.    [continued]

August 12, 2017

in: Reviews

Mana Tokuno’s Mixed Lot

by

The second half of pianist Mana Tokuno’s Thursday night recital closing the Foundation of Chinese Performing Arts Summer Festival at Walnut Hill School was awash in lovely hues and shades a la française.    [continued]

August 11, 2017

in: Reviews

FCM: Sounds, Furies, and Fun

by

In an 1806-word opening salvo including references to Nabokov and Aristotle, the philospher-author evokes last night’s first Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music event.    [continued]

August 9, 2017

in: Reviews

The Force With Eric Lu

by

At Walnut Hill School on Sunday evening, the pianist punctuated beauty with clatter.    [continued]

August 9, 2017

in: Reviews

Emersons Adventure Minus One

by

Three members of the Emerson Quartet played Mozart’s Divertimento, KV 563 at Wellfleet’s Congregational Church Monday before Jon Nakamatsu joined them in the Brahms’s Quartet in G Minor, Op 25.    [continued]

August 7, 2017

in: Reviews

Dover Soul Returns to Maverick

by

The Dover Quartet came from Chicago to Woodstock with a fine unanimity of ensemble and a highly interesting novelty.    [continued]

August 4, 2017

in: Reviews

Landmarks Orchestra Hatches Beethoven

by

After some top-drawer filler from the master, a convincing Ninth Symphony showed all was just right on the Esplanade Thursday night.    [continued]

August 4, 2017

in: Reviews

Korsantia’s Musical Masonry

by

Alexander Korsantia’s piano recital Tuesday evening at Walnut Hill School’s Kreiter Hall showed lapidary and stirring power.    [continued]

August 3, 2017

in: Reviews

Lisztian Lightning from Han Chen

by

Pianist Han Chen’s all-Liszt recital Monday evening at Walnut Hill School contained multitudes, and, while astonishing, may also have been much of a muchness.    [continued]

August 2, 2017

in: Reviews

Stellar Beethoven and Impressive Walton Wow

by

Beethoven’s familiar Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61 and William Walton’s rare but choice Belshazzar’s Feast shared the stage at Sunday’s Koussevitzky Music Shed concert.    [continued]

July 31, 2017

in: Reviews

Trio Molto con Brio

by

The Danish threesome brought style and intensity to Mozart, Smetana and Shostakovich at Maverick on Sunday.    [continued]

July 30, 2017

in: Reviews

Artur Haftman’s Attack of Beauty

by

Maybe only Murray Perahia 40-plus years ago was as ear-opening as Artur Haftman in his recital Friday night in the Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts 26th Annual Music Festival at Walnut Hill.    [continued]

July 30, 2017

in: Reviews

Dutoit Delivers Thrills

by

Saturday night’s concert of Ravel, Stravinsky, and Berlioz capped a thrilling week’s Tanglewood residency for Charles Dutoit.    [continued]

July 29, 2017

in: Reviews

Go! To Glimmerglass

by

From a farflung correspondent we hear that the Glimmerglass Opera production of The Gershwins© Porgy and Bess is very much worth the drive.    [continued]

more reviews →

August 14, 2017

in: News & Features

Forget La Scala, Head to the Isle of Pittsfield

by

The composer.

Following on its acclaimed inaugural season of Madama Butterfly, Berkshire Opera Festival fully stages three performances of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos August 26th, 29th, and September 1st at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, in German with projected English translations. Tickets range from $20 to $98. In the eternal quest to quench our curiosity, BMInt chatted up co-founders Jonathon Loy and Brian Garman, whose bios are here; for a vivid sense of place and vibe and ambition, see last year’s preview.

BMInt: What challenges have you faced building a new opera company from the ground up, especially in a culture-rich area like the Berkshires?

BG and JL: Two major challenges (the two biggest, in fact) facing any company regardless of location are raising money and building audience. Being in the Berkshires poses its own set of challenges, of course, because the arts are so active here. Everyone is, in a certain sense, competing for the same dollars, and our audiences have a lot of options for things to do on a summer evening. But there are many opera lovers in the Berkshires, as well as many people whom we’re introducing to opera for the first time. The overwhelmingly positive response [our review here] to our Madama Butterfly last summer tells us that we’re in exactly the right place. [continued…]

August 7, 2017

in: News & Features

BLMO Teaches the World To Sing in …

by

Antonín Leopold Dvořák

“Anthems of the World,” Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s free Esplanade concert on Wednesday, celebrates multicultural musical outpourings: ‘Finlandia’ symbolizes Finnish independence. Dvořák’s urging for American composers to borrow from native sources led Amy Cheney Beach  to comply with her Gaelic Symphony. Gustavo Dudamel has raised Márquez’s ‘Danzón No. 2’ to popularity as one characteristic of all orchestral dances. The young musicians of Zumix feature in the Landmarks-commissioned ‘Aleppo Songs’ from Gonzalo Grau. Finally, Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony expansively transports us to Bohemia. Rain date: August 10.

Conductor Christopher Wilkins goes on to tell readers:

If it sounds like an anthem, that is because it was meant to. Sibelius wrote Finland Awakens for a covert political demonstration in Helsinki in 1899 in a series of short tableaux on Finnish history. That title proved not-covert-enough for the Czarist Russian government exerting its harsh hold over Finland at the time. So Sibelius changed the title several times over the course of the year—Happy Feelings at the awakening of Finnish Spring; A Scandinavian Choral March; Nocturne—before settling on Finlandia. But his Finnish compatriots knew what it was about. [continued…]

July 30, 2017

in: News & Features

The Redeeming Ninth

by

The weather gods have ordered rescheduling.

Tonight (August 3rd) at the Hatch Shell.

The augury of the weather gods seeming providential, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, soloists, and chorus will resound across the Boston Esplanade with the glory of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. At 7pm August 2nd, music director Christopher Wilkins lead the early-19th-century journey from darkness to light, affirming Beethoven’s belief in music’s power to redeem suffering humanity. Preceding the Ninth at the free concert will come the composer’s music to Goethe’s play ‘Egmont,’ about resistance to tyranny, and the sweetly lyrical Romance in F Major for violin and orchestra, with soloist Adrian Anantawan.

BLMO conductor Wilkins, local boy gone on to wide-ranging conductorial fame, shares his extensive background notes with BMInt readers:

For expressive range, communicative power, and sheer aura, no work commands attention as Beethoven’s Ninth does. The purity and force of its two-hundred-year-old vision still brings solace to our world. It was performed last month at the G-20 summit in Hamburg because, according to Angela Merkel, it is “a hymn to humanity, peace, and international understanding.” [continued…]

July 20, 2017

in: News & Features

Summer Opera To Lighten Moods

by

Gaetano Donizetti

Will you partake of this potion? Is it a con? All will be revealed as the Boston Midsummer Opera (BMO) presents Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Elixir of Love) for its 12th season. The show runs on July 26, 28 and 30, at the Mainstage Theater of the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown.

How will the penniless peasant Nemorino and the bewitching but fickle Adina find the key to love? Can Nemorino win her heart only by buying a magical elixir?

Nemorino (Eric Barry) is head over heels for Adina (Joanna Mongiardo), but to no avail. When she promises to marry Sargent Belcore (Keith Phares), Nemorino seeks out a love potion from a traveling quack, Dr. Dulcamara (Jason Budd), with which he hopes to turn her head even though it smells suspiciously like cheap bordeaux. When Giannetta (Erica Petrocelli) and the village girls start to pay him some attention, he becomes convinced it works. Adina is mad with jealousy—so can it be that she loves him after all?

The Elixir of Love will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. There is a pre-opera talk one hour before each performance. Noted director Antonio Ocampo-Guzman will stage the production and nationally acclaimed conductor Susan Davenny Wyner will lead the BMO orchestra. The design team includes Stephen Dobay, (sets), John Cuff, (lighting), and Elisabetta Polito (costumes).

BMInt: Susan Davenny Wyner has inerrant taste in bringing to summer audiences examples of lightish opera that is perfect for the weather and our wishes to smile rather than furrow our brows. [continued…]

July 17, 2017

in: News & Features

This Esplanade Orchestra Eschews Pop

by

Soprano Sonja Tengblad

Conductor Christopher Wilkins will preside, as the Boston Landmarks Orchestra launches its 11th consecutive season of free concerts on the Esplanade this Wednesday, July 19 at 7 pm with a lively mix: Ralph Vaughan Williams’s English Folk Song Suite, Delius’s Summer Evening, Peggy Stuart Coolidge’s The Blue Planet, Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (with of soprano Sonja DuToit Tengblad), Verdi’s “Winter” and “Summer” from I vespri siciliani, and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

BMInt asked Wilkins:

How much does the programming change from year to year?

Wilkins: We continue to play a combination of great works and more recent ones, and there is a great variety in our repertoire. Each season features several premieres, most designed to invite community participation. We look to create a mix that appeals broadly, including to people for whom classical music is not a part of their regular diet. So yes, some tried-and-true, but never business-as-usual. [continued…]

July 12, 2017

in: News & Features

Yellow Barn Opens Wide Its Doors

by

Seth Knopp

Yellow is the color of the sun, daisies, corn. Yellow equates with hope, happiness, lucidity. It signifies energy, optimism, enlightenment — and remembrance. There’s a yellow barn in Putney, Vermont that’s home to a summer chamber music school and festival. Putney has proven fertile ground for apple orchards and progressive thinking since the 1840s: witness the Bible Communist movement, Putney School’s animal husbandry approach to college prep, and Landmark College’s unique niche for the learning disabled. Yellow Barn, an egalitarian community of students and professionals gathered to mine the rich heritage of chamber works from Baroque to Brooklyn, fits right in with Putney’s Yankee grit and edgy determination. Chugging steadfastly towards 50 since its founding as an artists’ retreat by NEC cellist David Wells in 1969, Yellow Barn ‘just growed’ from the Wells’ farmhouse summer jams into an ideally intimate environment for creative music and contemporary expression.

First, the people: Seth Knopp, artistic director since 1998, is a pianist and educator at Peabody Institute and founder of The Peabody Trio. Knopp wrote in a recent YB manifesto: [continued…]

July 10, 2017

in: News & Features

Dramatizing Shostakovich

by

The young Dmitri

The Emerson String Quartet will collaborate with seven actors in a new theatrical realization, “Shostakovich and The Black Monk: A Russian Fantasy” at the Seiji Ozawa Hall on Wednesday, July 19th at 8 PM. Co-commissioned by Tanglewood Music Festival, the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival and Princeton University Concerts, the concept premiered at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival on last month. James Glossman, wrote and directed this timely and interesting discourse on the suppressive influence on culture in Stalin’s Russia. A fantasy based on Shostakovich’s 50-year obsession with creating an opera from Anton Chekhov’s short story, “The Black Monk,” this musical play treats the composer’s life-long struggle for freedom and sanity against his own demons. Described by James Glossman as a “Valentine to the human spirit,” it reflects on the sarcastic Russian reactions which often inspired Shostakovich.

The writer-adapter and the founding violinist from the quartet both responded to our questions.

BMInt: Phil, how did this project come about?

Philip Setzer: Chekhov wrote, “When a person is born, he can embark on only one of three roads in life: if you go to the right, the wolves will eat you; if you go left, you’ll eat the wolves; if you go straight, you’ll eat yourself.”  This is a perfect description of the life of Dmitri Shostakovich, as well as the character Kovrin in Chekhov’s story, “The Black Monk.” [continued…]

July 3, 2017

in: News & Features

Newport Festival Ends Era

by

One year shy of its 50th anniversary, the Newport Music Festival has disclosed that the family behind its operation since 1975 will cease to be involved following the conclusion of this season.

Artistic Director Mark Malkovich IV, and his 85-year-old mother, Joan Malkovich, an invisible but potent force in the office, recently announced their retirements a year before the celebratory anniversary season that they had been enthusiastically touting only a couple of weeks earlier.

While he was not the founder of the enterprise, paterfamilias Mark Malkovich III transformed it to an international extravaganza. Papers of record such as the New York Times and the Boston Globe took frequent note of the imaginative programming of unjustly neglected romantic chamber music in robber-baronial venues, and celebrated the debuts of both young and legendary artists anointed by M3. [continued…]

more news & features →