Cher Public

Doommates

LamarThe aesthetic vision of M. Lamar’s Funeral Doom Spiritual was undeniable.  Read more »

That is the explanation of the crime

anatomyDavid Lang’s recent vocal music has been an exercise in extreme austerity. the loser, premiered last year at BAM, saw Rod Gilfry standing nearly motionless on a platform high above an almost entirely empty opera house—empty on purpose, not as a result of the poor ticket sales of contemporary opera—narrating a story in concert black, the score using oblique musical gestures to tell a story with a meaning so cloaked in deadpan ironies as to be totally ambiguous.  Read more »

Sea, no evil

breakingYears ago, then-Times critic Steve Smith made an impulsive prediction on twitter: “I’ve spotted Missy Mazzoli at the Met for From the House of the Dead. One day I’ll be here to hear her. Bank on it.”  Read more »

anna_nicole

Hooterdämmerung

Is there anything more essentially operatic than the suffering of women?

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whisper

Veil song

I was led through a small labyrinth of white curtains, sheer like veils, to a row of seven chairs jutting in between the stage risers.

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Mode and moderne

Wednesday afternoon, Pocket Orchestra New York’s new PONYmobile presented a guerrilla performance of sorts in a most unlikely space, the XES Lounge in Manhattan, where designer Joel Yapching‘s BOOK homme debuted its Spring/Summer 2012 collection to the strains of Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. 

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Ariadne auf budget

Since it’s put on in lavish productions at the biggest houses, sung by the biggest stars, since it wrings such a rich sound out of such a small band, and since the musical, formal and literary ambitions of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s great meta-opera are so very grand, it might be easy to forget that Ariadne auf Naxos is actually a chamber opera that just happens to demand a singer or two with bulletproof pipes. 

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Dan Sharp-Ears

I had every reason to think I’d love the New York Phil’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen as much as I did their staging of Le Grand Macabre with the same creative team.

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“Ghosts” of honor

John Corigliano‘s first and second symphonies won the Grawemeyer and the Pulitzer, respectively; the premiere of his Third Symphony wasn’t even reviewed by the Times. His score for The Red Violin won an Oscar™; his score for Edge of Darkness ended up on the cutting room floor. Is there an American composer at once more decorated and dismissed? Ghosts of Versailles is another case in point. It’s difficult to imagine an organization committing more resources to a commission than this luxuriously cast, lavishly produced performance, but the Met’s latest revival got the axe in favor of the now-infamous Leonard Slatkin […]

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Jewfro meets tone row

“I just saw a woman upstairs,” said poet/translator Richard Howard, “wearing a very large pair of sunglasses that made her look for all the world like a great dragonfly.” “Upstairs” was the balcony at the Met; at the time, I was taking Howard’s lecture on the subject of frivolity in literature, and so when I spotted him at the Lulu intermission I went up to say hi and grin vapidly, which is what I tend to do when I run into a dazzlingly smart person. “And as she was sort of flitting about,” he continued, “she saw me standing there, […]

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