Cher Public

Martyr system

Other than Israel in Egypt and Messiah, Handel’s English oratorios aren’t all that different from his operas—characters under duress trading da capo arias—except for all those choruses. But what choruses! William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants made a much-anticipated appearance at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival Saturday performing Theodora and the always stellar group reveled in that demanding work’s magnificent choruses transforming them into the highpoints of an otherwise oddly unmoving evening.  Read more »

Garden party

Many large opera companies these days host valuable young artist programs dedicated to helping singers negotiate the difficult transition between leaving the conservatory and becoming full-time performing artists. Yet few independent organizations have the resources to do the same; however, the French Early Music ensemble Les Arts Florissants has since 2002 been regularly convening an acclaimed “baroque academy,” and the laureates of its seventh edition arrived at Alice Tully Hall on Thursday with an enchanting entertainment called “In an Italian Garden.”   Read more »

Revival meeting

Ordinarily it might have been surprising to see Alice Tully Hall sold out on a Monday evening in December for Handel’s rare early oratorio La Resurrezione with young singers accompanied by a student orchestra. But, for many in New York and around the world, if the name William Christie appears on a concert or opera program, it’s a must-attend. So since the founding in 2009 of the period-instrument orchestra Juilliard 415 as part of that school’s Historical Performance program Christie’s annual visits to conduct it have become essential events.  Read more »

Oh ciel! Che intendo!

Heaven temporarily relocated to the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées Sunday evening for a concert performance of Rossini’s revered but rarely heard Semiramide featuring conductor Evelino Pidò, a superb cast of singers giving it their all, and the orchestra and chorus of the Opéra de Lyon. And after four hours of tightly woven, beaming bel canto, I am beginning to think it does not get better than this. I wish you had been there.   Read more »

Falling in love, never again

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s opera David et Jonathas, written for a celebration at a Jesuit school in 1688, premiered together with a Latin verse drama, Saul, now lost.

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Deeds of kindness to review

For decades thousands and thousands have attended Handel’s Messiah (usually around Christmas or more appropriately near Easter) making it easily one of the most widely known works of classical music.

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The boy friend

Since its life-changing Atys first arrived in 1989 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (where the Lully returned one last time in 2011), Les Arts Florissants has presented works there which have challenged many perceptions about 17th and 18th century opera.

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