Pianomania — Catch it quick…

Take a break before the next wave of schedule craziness hits, and catch a documentary that delves into someone else’s: Pianomania is getting raves in Europe and awards in the US, as it follows Steinway’s chief technician in Vienna as he tries to match specific pianos to world-famous concert pianists and the works they must … Read more

If composers were crops…

The arts, like farmers, are more and more focused on local sustainability nowadays, and the results show similarities beyond rhetoric: smaller entities are flourishing and offering innovative products, and the trend toward nurturing nearby artisans brings good things for all involved. This weekend’s new music offering in Long Beach is a prime example of what … Read more

Music in another form

The arts have always interconnected and influenced one another, whether it’s a result of admiration or friendship (or rivalry) between purveyors of various art forms, or a sort of “contact high” that affects artists in the vicinity of one another. Film, however, has always particularly depended on music for help in telling its tale, from … Read more

Beauty beyond belief

There’s a whole lot of sacred music going on — although the World Festival of Sacred Music has ended its recent run, this week’s calendar is full of high-minded options, and rather than the usual, single Gem, we’ll mention several this time around. Historically, religion has been one of the most powerful driving forces behind … Read more

An opera with at least five morals

You remember Æsop. Most of us know him from the simplified life lessons told to children, ending with “the moral of the story…” He was a slave in 5th-century BCE Greece who devised animal-populated fables that entertain while cleverly offering life lessons in disguise. The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Tortoise and the Hare … Read more

The Don you can’t refuse

Don Giovanni isn’t just an opera character, nor is he just a legendary lover. He’s a force to be reckoned with. This powerful opera, long an audience favorite among Mozart’s works, centers on the overwhelming personality, charisma and… (ahem).. skills of an aristocratic cad who must eventually atone for his almost superhuman passions. The piece … Read more

Smaller-scale Brahms

One-on-one music is a peculiar, if not uncommon, dynamic in classical music: we are more likely to make music in packs. So when pianist Robert Thies announced this concert and its intimate premise, it was clear that he’d hit upon something very special. ‘The Intimate Side of Brahms’ is a concert made mostly of works … Read more

RIP Salvatore Licitra, tenor

We occasionally provide a sort of link round-up of memoria and obituaries when the online press is particularly focused on the loss of one prominent musician. Recent episodes of this have included eminent composers Milton Babbitt and Peter Lieberson, and although we choose the subjects of these round-ups based on ever-evolving criteria, this incident is quite unusual in … Read more

Growth industry in the jungle

Although ‘El Canguro’ is literally translated as ‘the kangaroo’, the title of this new opera refers to a pregnant young woman, and the story tells of a corrupt adoption system that used the creation of life as an economic game.  The topic is best explained with the librettist’s own words: My first exposure to the … Read more

‘Yeomen of the Guard’ in Sierra Madre

– by Elyse Cook (08/27/11) The Yeoman of the Guard is the darkest, and perhaps most emotionally and musically powerful, of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas. Set in the Tower of London the plot revolves around Colonel Fairfax, who is wrongly accused of sorcery by his cousin and sentenced to death. Within an hour of his execution, … Read more

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