Blog Profile / The Classical Beat

Filed Under:Music / Classical
Posts on Regator:325
Posts / Week:1.3
Archived Since:April 20, 2011

Blog Post Archive

2015: the year in classical music

A look back at the top stories, trends and memorable performances in the field of classical music.Pop goes the orchestra: In December, the country star Taylor Swift gave $50,000 to the Seattle Symphony, in part because of her admiration...Show More Summary

The rarity of black faces, not ‘Otello’ in blackface, should be issue in opera

Last month, New York’s Metropolitan Opera made news with its decision not to put dark makeup on the face of Aleksandrs Antonenko, the tenor singing the titular role in “Otello,” in its opening-night production. “Getting rid of Otello’s blackface was long overdue,” Anthony Tommasini said in the New York Times. Show More Summary

Anne Sofie von Otter has chosen to be a singer who is expressive, not excessive

Anne Sofie von Otter has reached a career level at which she gets to do whatever the heck she wants. Historically, some classical singers — von Otter is a mezzo-soprano — have used this as an excuse to behave badly or indulge in sartorial excesses, but von Otter is using her power as wisely as she has pursued everything else in her career.Read full article >>

Anne Sofie von Otter set to perform in D.C. in November

She doesn’t sell out the Metropolitan Opera, but she has one of the biggest recording careers of any active opera singer. She doesn’t do arena concerts, but she did make an album with Elvis Costello. Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter isn’t a superstar. She just has one of the most successful careers, and the longest, of any classical singer today.Read full article >>

Talking race and “blackface” in opera: the long version

Today’s Washington Post features a conversation between five opera singers about race in opera, motivated by the Metropolitan Opera’s decision to stop using “blackface” in its new production of Verdi’s “Otello.” The following is a less-abridged...Show More Summary

How do African American singers feel about blackface in opera?

Last month, the Metropolitan Opera made news with its decision not to put dark makeup on the face of Aleksandrs Antonenko, the tenor singing the titular role in “Otello,” in its opening-night production. “Getting rid of Otello’s blackface was long overdue,” said Anthony Tommasini in the New York Times. Show More Summary

Glimmerglass season shines with vibrant vocal performances

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Stage direction is the most controversial element of today’s opera world. And stage direction divided opinions about the just-concluded 40th season of the Glimmerglass Festival — fittingly, since the festival is run by a stage director, Francesca Zambello. Read full article >>

Into the woods of musicals’ sounds: Two critics on what sings on stage and screen

The impending opening of “Into the Woods” prompted music critic Anne Midgette and theater critic Nelson Pressley to compare notes on their very different takes on the last major movie of a Sondheim musical, Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd,” and on what makes a movie musical work.Read full article >>

L’affaire Lazic: a pianist and reviewer face off

In 2010, I wrote a review of a recital at the Kennedy Center by the pianist Dejan Lazic. In 2014, he wrote the Washington Post and asked us to take it down. Neither of us expected that our words would have the effect they did. Read full article >>

The verdict(s) on “Klinghoffer:” a review roundup

I am still in the process of reading all of the critical responses that have appeared so far to the “Death of Klinghoffer” at the Metropolitan Opera, and I know more will follow. I am compiling all the links here in part simply as a service to myself, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who is interested in the discussion. Show More Summary

Lindsey, Portillo shine in Washington Concert Opera’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi”

The Wolf Trap Opera deserves a lot of credit. This is not, to be clear, a review of a Wolf Trap production. The show I saw on Sunday, Bellini’s “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” (a.k.a. “Romeo and Juliet”), was presented by the Washington Concert Opera, and an engrossing, melodious presentation it was. Show More Summary

Eric Owens on singers and opera companies: “We need to help them help us.”

I wanted to write about Eric Owens, the bass-baritone, because he seems to be turning up an awful lot of places as artist-in-residence — Glimmerglass, Wolf Trap, and the Washington National Opera. I didn’t realize, however, just howShow More Summary

The NSO’s ‘Fantasia,’ a critic’s guilty pleasure

Putting together a picnic, and sitting on the lawn with friends, sipping warm white wine out of plastic cups, a couple of which inevitably develop hairline cracks from being sat on or squashed in the car on the way over, while a balloon...Show More Summary

The audience of the future responds to “The Magic Flute.”

My review of the Washington National Opera’s “The Magic Flute,” which opened on Saturday night, will appear on line on Sunday, and in print in Monday’s paper. I was, however, accompanied by a friend who was so eager to report that he took notes during the show, returned home and produced an overnight review on the spot. Show More Summary

Music review: A double delight from Anne-Sophie Mutter and the NSO

Concertos are generally presented as highlights of an orchestral concert — they add another dimension to the experience of hearing a large instrumental ensemble. And though it’s rare to hear two works involving a soloist on the same program, the National Symphony Orchestra has been spoiling its audiences lately. Read full article >>

From rising star to grande dame, Martina Arroyo never forgot who she was

When the soprano Martina Arroyo was interviewed by the New York Times in 1968, she had the interviewer over to her place with some friends and her mother for chateaubriand and lasagne. When I interviewed her for The Washington Post this fall, she invited me to a black-tie dinner with a couple of hundred well-heeled New Yorkers. Show More Summary

At Kennedy Center, Marc-Andre Hamelin doesn’t seem to find anything difficult

There’s much mystique about the prodigious brains of artists. Marc-Andre Hamelin is the kind of pianist who bears such conceptions out. He has a phenomenal memory, huge technical ability and a taste for the less-known corners of theShow More Summary

Two critics face off over “War Requiem” as performed by the BSO with Marin Alsop

Anne Midgette: I’ve had a couple of chances this month to weigh in on Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” a work that I admire in theory, but have never managed to love. Britten would have been 100 on Nov. 22, and the “War Requiem” — premiered...Show More Summary

Anne Midgette review: Wagner’s ‘Parsifal’ is a fine fit for NSO’s classical concert staging

To mark one of classical music’s notable bicentennials, Washington’s fall season has gotten underway with a double dose of Wagner. First, there was “Tristan und Isolde” at the Washington National Opera in September, in which the conducting took precedence over the nice, unobjectionable staging. Show More Summary

On the prowl for memories, museumgoers resort to snapshots

They walk through the museum like hunters, like bird-watchers, on the alert for their next sighting, their next capture. They hold their cellphones, their cameras slightly in front of them, curled against their chests or under their chins, poised for the next shot. Show More Summary

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