THE CLASSICAL TRAVELER | A Fresh Take on Verdi at Austin Opera
“This opera setting was not the wisest of choices for Verdi,” stage director Leon Major rightly points out in his program note for this production.
THE CLASSICAL TRAVELER | A Music Man on a Mission
Tucson, Arizona | I caught up with conductor Roger McMurrin recently in Tucson, Arizona. In a few weeks time he was scheduled to make a return visit to Bishkek, Kyrgystan for a series of concerts, but home these days is Kiev, Ukraine where he has been making music and preaching the Gospel for the past 22 years...
THE CLASSICAL TRAVELER | Gounod: Faust (DVD Review)
One might be forgiven for thinking that the strong Canadian presence in this performance is the key to its success. Baritone Russell Braun and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin are both in top form. And director Des McAnuff, formerly the artistic director of the Stratford Festival, has produced a fresh and powerful interpretation of Gounod’s perennial favourite.
THE CLASSICAL TRAVELER | Inaugural SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival in Dallas Celebrates Bernstein
The Dallas Symphony (DSO) has come up with an exciting extension of its spring season –an annual three-week long festival called SOLUNA. In the words of the conductor’s daughter Anna Sophia van Zweden, the Director of Festival Advancement – there’s a title for you! –
THE CLASSICAL TRAVELER | André Previn and Elgar Well-Served in Texas (Review)
Review: André Previn premieres his Double Concerto for Violin and Violoncello in Austin, Texas.
CD REVIEW | Angela Hewitt Steps Inside the Mind of Liszt
Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has played so much Bach and played it so well she has become known as one of the great Bach players of her time. In fact, her Bach reputation is so great that it is often assumed that she plays little else. Nothing could be further from the truth and this new CD provides conclusive evidence...
CD REVIEW | Isabelle Faust: Historically Informed Late Schumann
Schumann: Violin Concerto: Isabelle Faust, violin. Jean-Guihen-Queyras, cello. Alexander Melnikov, piano. Freiburger Barockorchester/Pablo Heras-Casado. Harmonia Mundi
THE CLASSICAL TRAVELER | San Antonio Symphony and Lang-Lessing Excel in Strauss Festival Programme
San Antonio, Texas | Even part-time Texans like myself (my wife and I have been living part of each year in Austin since 2005) tend to forget that San Antonio is the second largest city in Texas. Houston is No. 1 with about 2.1 million people, but San Antonio is not far behind at 1.3 million. In the latest census, Dallas came in at 1.2 million. Actually, the Dallas-Ft.Worth Metroplex is over 2 million. That said, San Antonio is still one of the largest cities in Texas and growing rapidly...
CD REVIEW | Jurowski Conducts Shostakovich
Just over a month ago the London Philharmonic and its music director Vladimir Jurowski gave a concert in Roy Thomson Hall that elicited rave reviews. The major work on the program was the Symphony No. 8 by Shostakovich. Clearly, Jurowski had a special affinity for the music of this composer. Here they are again, on a new CD on the orchestra’s own label, and again playing symphonic music by Shostakovich. And again it would be appropriate to reach for the superlatives.
CD REVIEW | Anne-Sophie Mutter Strikes a Balance With Dvořák Violin Concerto
Very few recordings I’ve heard in recent months have given me as much pleasure as this one. While Dvořák is one of my favourite composers, the Violin Concerto has always seemed to me more impressive on paper (score) than in live performance or on a recording...