A difficult, neglected masterpiece by American composer Randall Thompson is brought to life in a magnificent performance. From the swirling, anguished tones of the opening "Lamentations," the music is utterly hypnotic, especially so when rendered with the focused passion of this wonderful band of choristers.
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.