Cher Public


Barge and in charge

del_trediciSome things, like hearing an evening of chamber music on a barge in the East River, sound better on paper than they actually are. And some things work exactly the opposite way: for example, the composer David del Tredici. Bargemusic presented soprano Courtenay Budd in a program of two song cycles from the 1990s by the iconoclastic composer Saturday night as part of their Here and Now series.

Neo-Romantic is not the most fashionable moniker for a composer these days, and art song is a tricky territory for composers with unabashedly traditional or sentimental leanings (Leonard Bernstein’s Arias and Barcaroles comes to mind.) But del Tredici gives us music that is direct and honest but remains in the realm of tasteful and new.  Read more »

Joie de mourir

carmelites_juilliardJuilliard Opera presented an under-ripe yet moving performance of Poulenc’s masterpiece Dialogues des Carmelites on Wednesday. Promising young singers surmounted a dodgy production and stiff musical direction with intelligent singing and contagious enthusiasm. Read more »

What not to wear

The Met’s premiere production of Verdi’s Attila is terrible. Are you surprised?


Attila is like a self-conscious stroll down Rodeo Drive – or even worse, to the Mall of America – reducing an opera about ruthless tyranny brought down by ruthless vengeance to a quaint and insipid fashion show.

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chi mai?

maiThis month Deutsche Grammophon will scrape the bottom of the barrel and present a new recording of Leoncavallo’s genre-bending “symphonic poem for tenor and orchestra”  La Nuit de Mai, studded with stars Plácido Domingo and Lang Lang.

Dark horse Alberto Veronesi conducts — indeed, the same Muti-maned steed who was recently announced to succeed Eve Queler as music director of the Opera Orchestra of New York in 2011.

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Some day her prince will come

I checked back in on the Met’s revival of Ariadne auf Naxos yesterday, after a messy first night one week ago that left much to the imagination. Tenor Lance Ryan had been sick that night, and the cover who took his place was not much healthier, throwing the whole cast into a panic mode that made higher artistic values almost out of the question. Last night’s show was leaps and bounds forward, both musically and theatrically – a win for Strauss aficionados and an excellent save for the company.

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I would like a waffle

La Cieca preens proudly  to present a peerless pair of protégés (left to right) Squirrel and Maury D’Annato. The bromancers attended (or one should say “took in”) last night’s Ariadne auf Naxos at the Met, and as of early this afternoon they were still deconstructing.

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Warhorses and Lullabies

Diana Damrau joined James Levine and the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon for one of Levine’s typically overloaded – er, generous – orchestral feasts. But this deeply involving marathon of German warhorses rewarded those who would submit to its somber, festive intensity.

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Ophelia’s Posies

There’s something happening at Zankel Hall. Lieder recitals are not what they used to be. Christine Schäfer threw us for a loop Wednesday night in a recital program juxtaposing just two composers – George Crumb and Henry Purcell – who have what, exactly, in common?

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