In her Philadelphia recital debut, Ayane Kozasa transformed the ugly duckling of instruments into the belle of the ball.
Johannes Brahms was a musical genius who never quite polished his rough edges. Hélène Grimaud gave his brawny first Piano Concerto a deeply poetic and thoughtful reading.
Ana Sokolović manages to pack in a broad range of emotions in a brief package, with a bewitching combination of daring modernism and traditional Balkan folk music.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is emerging as an artist of notable imagination and daring. In the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth he was maybe a little too daring.
Verdi’s dramatically clunky Nabucco was a broadly drawn metaphor for Austria’s domination of Italy. Thaddeus Strassberger constructs a play around a play in an effort to mask some of the drama’s weaknesses. Its virtues include a fiery new soprano and a final moment of genuine theatrical magic.
When was the last time you heard a Philadelphia Orchestra concert that included the crumpling of newspaper as a part of the score? Not to mention the audience laughing out loud throughout the performance?
Amid the well-deserved hoopla over Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Christoph von Dohnányi reminded Philadelphia audiences why many musicians venerated an old-fashioned Central European conductor like Wolfgang Sawallisch.
Silent Night is a very effective new opera that could be made even better with some judicious tinkering. The drama exudes a raw energy that doesn't shy away from the harrowing circumstances of war.
The charming British tenor Ian Bostridge and the pitch-perfect Austrian mezzo Angelika Kirchschlager make something of an odd couple. But they found their chemistry toward the end of a recital of Hugo Wolf's delightful Spanish Songs.
Which of today's Curtis students will become tomorrow's stars? In the case of the gifted and intelligent soprano Sarah Shafer, it seems obvious.