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Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Classical Review

Friday evening at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was the debut of conductor Edo de Waart, music director designate, who will begin the post in September of 2009. There was a jittery edge to the performance, understandable from an orchestra eager to play for its new maestro. It was exciting, but not always elegant. I returned Saturday night to hear if the performance would become more settled. In most ways it did.
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Classical Review

Classical music is as much about acoustics and a sympathetic atmosphere as it is about literature and performance. I recently attended a Vienna Philharmonic concert in the famous Musikverein, a marvel of a Viennese concert hall. The warmth and intimacy of that great space leaves most modern halls, such as our Uihlein Hall, feeling vast and cold. What would our very good Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra—and its anonymous and coughing audience in the spacious dark—become in a better space? The sudden burst of spring weather matched the theme of the MSO concert last weekend. Andreas Delfs led Beethoven Symphony No. 6 (“Pastoral”), which began with restraint in its first movement, certainly pastoral in spirit
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Classical Review

Shameless Commerce” was an appropriate title for the annual Early Music Now concert featuring a fundraising auction at intermission. 16th and 17th century vendors’ tunes from London and the English countryside, selling everything from chimney sweeping to oysters, comprised the concert by the ensemble Hesperus at the UW- Milwaukee Zelazo . . .
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Classical Review

Present Music collaborated with Milwaukee Dance Theatre in performances last Thursday through Sunday at the Off-Broadway Theatre, featuring a streamlined production of Antigone. Rather than an adaptation of the Sophocles tragedy, this was a new version with a script by Milwaukee Dance Theatre artistic directors Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson, and incidental music by Eric Segnitz, Greek tragedy is notoriously tricky stuff. Contemporary audiences are not as educated in Greek myth as were educated classes of previous eras. But beyond that, staring back into legendary times and finding relevant ways of presenting the profound universal truths of these dramas is downright intimidating.
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008

Classical Review

Once in a great while someone comes along whose talent leaves you breathless. Swedish soprano Erika Sunngardh’s performance of the title role in Richard Strauss’ opera Salome last weekend at Florentine Opera was nothing short of magnificent in every regard. This opera, based on the play by Oscar Wilde, is the most disturbing in the repertory. Salome, beautiful princess of Judea, falls in love and lust with the captive John the Baptist (Jochanaan).
Classical Review
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008

Classical Review

The snowstorm last week forced a cancelled rehearsal of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and prevented the arrival of the guest soloist, pianist Andreas Haefliger. Conductor Andreas Delfs quickly revised the plans to something the orchestra could do with just one rehearsal. William Schuman’s Symphony No. 5, which the MSO has never before played, and a Mozart piano concerto were scrapped. Instead, the new program included the Overture to Don Giovanni and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1, with Frank Almond stepping in as soloist. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 was retained as originally planned.
Classical Review
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008

Classical Review

The ludicrous production of La Traviata that opened at Skylight Opera last weekend proved that a great Verdi melody is indestructible. This unbelievably misguided venture only works in the final scene, when all its incompetence, bad direction and quarter-baked ideas mercifully recede enough for focus on the bare . . .
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

Classical Review

Present Music has held concerts at Windhover Hall at the Milwaukee Art Museum for a few years. For the first time the ensemble moved music into the galleries of the museum last Saturday evening in an exploration of the relationships between art, architecture and music.
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

Classical Review

Dominick Argento, a wise man and a major American composer, once said to me, “I’m a better person than I could ever be when I listen to Mozart.”
Classical Review
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

Classical Review

It is irresistibly interesting to speculate what goes on in guest conductor rehearsals with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Were ideas persuasively delivered, spoken or unspoken?

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