Native Resistance Recalled In Opera Of Canadian West

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – In choosing Louis Riel, a rebel of the Canadian Métis people, as the subject of their 1967 opera, composer Harry Somers and libettist Mavor Moore hit on a dramatic topic that’s so Canadian it bleeds maple syrup.

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Mannes Celebrates Training Musicians Through A Century

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By Anne E. Johnson

NEW YORK – With a centenary concert at Carnegie Hall on April 25, the Mannes School of Music will honor its bountiful history and its founders, David Mannes and Clara Damrosch Mannes. The school’s lineage and its vision will resound.

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Melancholy Trios, Where Piano Rules And Strings Serve

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Two works from Rachmaninoff’s youth – played by pianist Daniil Trifonov, violinist Gidon Kremer, and cellist Giedré Dirvanauskaité – display a bravura pull to the piano and an uncertainty with strings.

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Poignancy In Tune As Fleming Closes A Marschallin Era

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By James L. Paulk

NEW YORK – In Robert Carsen’s new production of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier at the Metropolitan Opera, soprano Renée Fleming takes her final turns in a role she has virtually owned for two decades, and shows why.

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This Orchestra’s Tradition Is To Buck Tradition

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By Kyle MacMillan

LOUISVILLE, KY. – Striving for a place among the world’s most interesting orchestras, Louisville Orchestra music director Teddy Abrams
presides over the second edition of the Festival of American Music, April 15-29.

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Wolfgang Rihm Weaves Reflective, Poetic Requiem

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By J.J. Van Vlasselaer

LUCERNE – Requiem-Strophen takes us on the journey of the mystery of death and how it turns life into our reality. The Easter Festival concert, led by Mariss Jansons, opened with Rihm’s memorial to Pierre Boulez, who died Jan. 5, 2016.

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In Reykjavík Fest, LA Phil Samples Stylistic Mash-Up

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By Richard S. Ginell

LOS ANGELES – The main events in the Reykjavík Festival sold out months in advance – partly because of LA Phil’s conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen, but mainly because Iceland’s rock band Sigur Rós was on the bill.

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Anton Coppola, Feted At Age 100, Still The Maestro

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By John Fleming

TAMPA – Conductors tend to be durable, but maestro and composer Anton Coppola, still active, hit the century mark on March 21. Four days later, Opera Tampa honored the ageless Coppola at a two-hour concert – which he conducted!

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Comic Sorochintsy: Pigs On Stilts In Ukrainian Village

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – The Komische Oper production of Mussorgsky’s Fair at Sorochintsy, directed by Barrie Kosky, explores young love, superstition and alcoholism. It pulls out all the stops in a dream banquet featuring porcine humans.

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Around the U.S.

Uchida Points Up Composer’s Other Gift: The Clarinet

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By George Loomis

NEW YORK – When Mitsuko Uchida plays a new work for piano at Carnegie Hall, you can bet the composer will want to be there, and the German Jörg Widmann proved to be no exception. He also brought his clarinet along to team up.

New ‘Miniatures’ Pack Program For Spirited Orchestra

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By Esteban Meneses

NAPLES, Fla. – Andrey Boreyko will lead the Naples Philharmonic in three diverse “miniature” world premieres by Nicholas Jacobson-Larson, Giya Kancheli, and Gabriel Prokofiev, in honor of the late art collector Olga Hirshhorn.

French Quartet’s Beethoven Probes To Intricate Core

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By Perry Tannenbaum

SAVANNAH – The Quatuor Ébène delivered revelatory performances of Beethoven’s early Quartet Op. 18. No. 6, and the middle-period Serioso Quartet during the French ensemble’s U.S. tour stop at the Savannah Music Fest.

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Around Canada

Oddly Enough, Schafer Non-opera Makes Good Opera

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Armed with a quasi-Wagnerian ethos, R. Murray Schafer’s massive, twelve-part cycle called Patria dwarfs Wagner’s Ring. Now Soundstreams has fashioned Odditorium from four excerpts, with a part for singing head.

Eloquent Sextet Stretches Bounds Of Vocal Art

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By David Gordon Duke

VANCOUVER – The ensemble Nordic Voices presented works by a trio of living Norwegian composers, including Lasse Thoresen (right), plus music by Goffredo Petrassi and György Ligeti. The performances were magisterial.

In Deft Schumann, Pianist Shows His Star Power At 21

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By Colin Eatock

TORONTO – Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki has grown into a tall young man. He perches precariously on the edge of the bench and doesn’t quite know what to do with his knees. Fortunately, he knows exactly what to do with his hands.

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International

Death In Venice: Cast Is Ripe, But Staging Is Green

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – In Graham Vick’s new staging of Benjamin
Britten’s final opera, it was hard to reconcile Deutsche Oper Berlin’s high musical standards with a production that seemed to spurn any sense of Apollonian beauty.

Scartazzini Opera Fails To Shock In Berlin Premiere

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By Rebecca Schmid

BERLIN – Deutsche Oper Berlin’s production of Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini’s Edward II has a scandalous veneer in weaving the tale of the doomed 14th century British king and his gay lover. The audience takes it all in stride.

Music From Japan: Sounds Are Novel, Style International

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By Susan Brodie

NEW YORK – Yuta Bandoh’s sensuous Seesaw for violin, piano, and spatially-placed string trio had its world premiere among works by seven others in a weekend devoted to new directions in Japanese contemporary music.

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Issues in the Arts

New Light On Nazi Rule In Orchestras Of Vienna, Berlin

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By Paul E. Robinson

BOOK REVIEW – The Political Orchestra by Fritz Trümpi provides important new information and a broader context for understanding how the two greatest orchestras in the German-speaking world were affected by politics.

Hear, Hear! New Halls Diverge In Acoustic Designs

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By Nancy Malitz

When it comes to concert hall acoustics, controlled comparisons are difficult, but the temptation was irresistible on a Chicago Symphony tour of new halls in Paris, Hamburg and Aalborg, Denmark, followed by two old gems.

Critics, Gathered In Charleston, Honor A Leader

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By John W. Lambert

IN MEMORIAM – Robert Paul Commanday, who died in 2015 at the age of 93, was fondly remembered in Charleston, S.C., where the Music Critics Association of North America heard a tribute to his guiding force in a transitional age.

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Disc and Stream

Renée Fleming Explores South, North, And Bjork

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By Richard S. Ginell

DIGITAL REVIEW – The American soprano once again stretches the ears of her fans. She joins the Royal Stockholm
Philharmonic on a trek from Samuel Barber’s familiar Knoxville to music of distant northern climes.

Happily Never After? Turandot Ending Enigmatic

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – In the Luciano Berio version, as Turandot and Calaf leave together, minus the triumphal outburst, the audience is left to wonder whether such flawed human beings could ever find contentment.

Juilliard Quartet’s Perdurable Mann For All Seasons

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By Paul E. Robinson

DIGITAL REVIEW – Robert Mann had it all. Endurance. Discipline. Love of music. He led the Juilliard String Quartet for 51 years and some 6,000 performances. At 96, the violinist looks back on a life that seems almost impossible.

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MCANA Hosted Blogs

John Adams on Record – Part Two

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
Here is Part Two of my updated, expanded, 70th birthday discographical survey of John Adams’s music, …

John Adams On Record – Part One

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By Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West
 
My most vivid memory of John Adams was way back near the beginning of his career, …

Susan Brodie - Toi Toi Toi

A Paris Opera 2017-18 Season to Enchant

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By Susan Brodie: Toi Toi Toi!
“Laissez-vous porter”–let yourself be carried away–is the motto of the Paris Opera’s 2017-18 season, and the upcoming program provides …

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