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Classical Review
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
I knew violinist Ilana Setapen was good. I had heard her in recital and in chamber music. But I didn’t realize how wonderfully and exceptionally good she is until hearing her play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Milwaukee Symphony last Saturday night. Setapen is associate concertmaster of the orchestra. I would guess that there are few...
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011

Also: Frankly Music enlivens Schwan Hall

Sometimes a two-hour concert feels like being transported on a long, rich journey. Such was the case at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra on Saturday evening in the vast expanses of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and Act I of Wagner’s Die Walküre...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011

Classical Review

Pianist Garrick Ohlsson is one of the most accomplished and lasting veterans on the concerto circuit. I don’t recall how often I have heard him play over the years, but surely several to many times. His big guy virility at the keyboard and aesthetic grasp have always been impressive. Considering all this, it was surprising that his performance...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
Messiah, Handel’s evergreen oratorio, has become a Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra tradition each December. Large audiences attended five performances last week at three venues. I heard the Friday evening performance at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, the most acoustically pleasing choice. Christian Knapp returned as conductor...
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

Classical Review

The year 2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of two major composers: Frédéric Chopin and Robert Schumann. Perhaps because both are heard so regularly, there were not enormous celebrations. It was good to ponder these two 19th-century giants at a Frankly Music concert last week at the...
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

Classical Review

British sensuality seems like an oxymoron. Nevertheless, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony (1910) is just that, an example of Edwardian passion for a topic always dear to English hearts: the inescapable ocean that surrounds the British Isles, and its resonating, philosophical metaphors of endless journey toward the ever-changing...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Classical Review

Honesty and fairness are my aims as a critic. For the first time in more than 12 years at it, I feel I must admit that I cannot find objectivity in reviewing Frank Almond’s performance of the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Samuel Barber with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last weekend...
Classical Music/Dance
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010
When I think through all the Skylight Opera productions I have seen there over the last 25 years, Gilbert & Sullivan are the high points. H.M.S. Pinafore, which opened last weekend, handsomely adds luster to the G&S tradition at Skylight. Peter Dean Beck’s bi-level ship deck set is gorgeous, rich with wood...