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Classical Music/Dance
Monday, May 4, 2009

Classical Review

Renée Fleming is without question the opera diva of the day. She appeared in a gala concert at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Thursday evening, celebrating the long tenure of her old friend Andreas Delfs as music director. Richard Strauss' lush and poignant Four Last Songs especially suit Fleming's voice...
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Classical Review

Two little known and innovative Vivaldi violin concertos (so obscure that orchestra parts previously did not exist) were featured on the season finale of Frankly Music last Monday at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Series director Frank Almond played the solo line with sparing vibrato, used primarily only on long notes as a color device. At its best it was rhythmically sizzling, edgy and exciting, and appropriate on the period violin he plays. I think Almond
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Classical Review

More than in any other music, Brahms is the sound of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the era of Andreas Delfs, which ends in June. A favorite of Delfs, Brahms' Symphony No. 4 returned one more time in the concert I heard on Saturday evening.The lush, warm sound of the orchestra-the sound that Delfs built-is at its apex in Brahms. The tempo of the first movement was a little...
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Classical Review

Mozart's The MagicFlute is a fantastical product of the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment. Besides high-minded ideals, it is full of humor and a vast array of character types. Unfortunately, these diverse aspects struggled to come together in the Florentine Opera production of last weekend. The basic elements of music, direction and design all were less than fully realized. Joseph Rescigno's conducting could have...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Carl Orff's secular oratorio Carmina Burana is an obvious audience favorite. It is also clear that Andreas Delfs has a strong personal connection to this colorful music. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance he led in 2005, with minimal costumes and staging, was the best overall performance I have ever heard of it. The MSO performance last weekend, conducted by Delfs, was not quite as engrossing, but had...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Classical Review

It had been a few months since Andreas Delfs was last on the podium at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. As he nears the end of his long tenure as music director, he has enduring affection and good will from the audience, obvious in the smiles and applause that greeted him. Beyond musical accomplishments, Delfs has been a good public...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Baroque opera needs an especially inventive director to relate to contemporary audiences. John La Bouchardière presented a deeply witty staging of Handel's Semele at Florentine Opera last weekend, a run of three performances at the Pabst Theater. The production combined stylized period movement with video projection. The scenery, a recreation of designs by Giuseppe Di Iorio, became a vital part of the direction...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Feb. 23, 2009

Classical Review

Present Music continued its exploration of untried classical concert venues last Saturday evening at Discovery World's Pilot House. A lovely space, with a panoramic view of the lake and shore, the carpeted room has little natural resonance. This did not matter much since the entire concert was amplified. Attendees also had the chance to tour museum exhibits before and after the concert, with a few music installations...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Feb. 23, 2009

Classical Review

Few of us have ever encountered a lute quartet. The chance to remedy that void came last Saturday evening at Early Music Now in a concert held at Cathedral Church of All Saints on Juneau Avenue. The Venere Lute Quartet presented a varied program of 16th century original music for this instrumentation, and since the repertory is slight, also arrangements of music of the period. Despite the snow, there was a sizable audience of music...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009

Classical Review

Lukas Foss, composer and music director of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra 1981-86, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 86. By an odd coincidence of programming planned months ago, Foss' Ode for Orchestra was performed by MSO last weekend. It became a tribute to him. The Ode was composed in 1944 by the German-born Foss, who settled permanently in the United States in 1937. Originally conceived as a memorial for war dead, the music is understandably anguished and...