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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Classical Review

There aren’t many real stars among instrumentalists in classical music today. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is at the top of the list. In a gala performance with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Wednesday night Ma portrayed Cervantes’ demented hero in Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote as convincingly as any dramatized version. We expect beautiful tone and masterful phrasing from Ma. I wasn’t prepared for his depth of humanity in this piece and overwhelming musical acting, portraying the character’s swoons, groans and palpable longing. The Don’s aching idealism ended with a heartbreaking death scene from Ma.
Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tonight @ Danceworks - 8 p.m.

Wild Space Dance Company ends its season this weekend with multiple performances of Map of Memories, an ambitious conceptual program themed around Milwaukee’s multicultural Jones Island. The program’s dances and images are derived from tales of the Eastern European immigrants who inhabited . . .
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Classical Review

Vincenzo Bellini’s opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets and the Montagues) is the kind of repertory rarity that lifetime opera fans might never encounter. And for good reason. It is not one of the best Bellini scores, nor is it a shining example of Italian opera of its era. So why did Florentine Opera, which only produces three operas each season, feel the need to produce it? The Florentine production, which played for three performances last weekend, was titled Romeo and Juliet. However, the opera is not particularly based on Shakespeare, but rather on Italian novella sources.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Classical Review

The latest collaboration between Present Music and Danceworks was performed last weekend at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center. Six dances by five choreographers were performed to various works performed by the Present Music ensemble. Danceworks’ dancers vary in abilities and maturity. There was a general imbalance to the evening, with seasoned professional musicians playing evolved works for young dancers and choreographers not up to the level of the music making.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Classical Preview

Countless plays, operas and movies have been based on the works of the great Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare (1564-1616), varying from word-for-word adaptations to loose borrowing of plot or characters. Among those who owe a debt to Shakespeare is Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini (1801-35), whose I Capuleti e I Montecchi (The Capulets and Montagues) is based on the Bard’s immortal tale of love and death, Romeo and Juliet (1595), albeit several times removed. The libretto by Felice Romani that Bellini used was a reworking of Shakespeare’s legendary tale as first intended for use as Giulietta e Romeo by the composer Nicola Vaccai; and in doing so, Romani drew upon the 1818 play Giulietta e Romeo by Luigi Scevola!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Classical Preview

This weekend, concertgoers will get a peek into the future with a performance by conductor Edo de Waart, music director designate of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The concert’s first half consists of a work called In Praise of Music by Pennsylvania native Dominick Argento (b. 1927). Typical of many 20th-century composers, his style reflects many influences—tonality, atonality, 12-tone method—but never became “avant-garde,” unlike several of his postwar contemporaries.
Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tonight @ Uihlein Hall - 8:00 PM

One of Charlie Chaplin’s most overtly romantic films, City Lights not only starred and was written by Chaplin, but it was also scored by the enduring silent film actor. Particularly during the film’s storied final scene, the swelling musical accompaniment conveys grand emotions that the down-to-earth characters on . . .
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tonight @ the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music - 7:30 PM

The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Prometheus Trio wraps up its 2007-2008 season tonight night with a final 7:30 p.m. performance. The bill includes classic pieces from Haydn, Clara Chumann and Novak, as well as a newer, 1986 composition from Paul Schoenfield, “Café Music.”
Monday, April 7, 2008

Tonight @ the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music - 7:30 PM

The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Prometheus Trio wraps up its 2007-2008 season tonight and tomorrow night with 7:30 p.m. performances of its latest program. The bill includes classic pieces from Haydn, Clara Chumann and Novak, as well as a newer, 1986 composition from Paul Schoenfield, “Café Music.”
Friday, April 4, 2008

Tonight @ the Pabst Theater - 7:30 PM

The Milwaukee Ballet rings in April at the Pabst Theater with a mixed repertory program as part of its annual “Milwaukee Ballet at the Pabst” series. Consisting of three movements from a trio of young, vibrant, talented choreographers, each commissioned to showcase his or her unique vision. Each section of the 90-minute . . .

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