“The work of the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson is all about the quest for beauty and the ways in which that quest is doomed to failure, bogging down in mediocrity or kitsch, or, in these works, the trappings of Las Vegas. But the work radiates so much theatricality and glitz and humor that it feels […]
“When it comes to musical performance, the Museum’s tacit mandate is to spotlight all of African American music – which is like trying to put a frame around a living person and call it a portrait. It’s tough to pick ‘African American’ music out of the fabric of American musical history, of which it is […]
“What’s the difference between an opera and a musical? Theories abound. Some say opera is through-sung while musicals include spoken dialogue (although there are many operas with spoken dialogue; think Carmen). Some say opera is unamplified, while musicals are mic’d (except that there are many operas written for amplification, and many musicals that weren’t). But […]
Anne Midgette: “With its emphasis on spectacle and size, Phantom certainly reflects a particular era of musical theater: the stage equivalent of 1980s-style big hair.” Philip Kennicott: “Phantom looks better today than it did when it was new … [it] seemed to me then as it does now a testament to the degradation of theatrical […]
Happy birthday to critic Anne Midgette.
David Gockley has been a leading figure in American opera for four decades. As he prepares to step down from the San Francisco Opera, he shares his thoughts on the field with Anne Midgette.
When she asked followers on social media to suggest works of fiction that did a good job of treating classical music, Midgette “got back a veritable flood of titles: short stories and novels, popular fiction and Nobel Prize-winners, and many books I’d never even heard of. So here you go: your summer fiction reading list, […]
Four operas, two critics: Anne Midgette and Philip Kennicott trade their views on the completed “Ring” cycle in DC.
“What it shows is a waning understanding of, and tolerance for, not differences of opinion – those rage happily on in every paper’s Comments sections – but the role of criticism and the arts in a society where they have less dominance. [The National Post features editor] will be vilified in the arts community for […]
“Great bad singers take our greatest fears and put them on the stage in front of us. Florence Foster Jenkins lives out all of our worst nightmares: getting up in public unprepared, being mocked without knowing it, realizing you have forgotten to get dressed before going out.”
Anne Midgette and Philip Kennicott trade views on the “Ring” at the Washington National Opera
Anne Midgette: “Indeed, with its giants and dwarves and dragons and battles and love duets, it bears marked resemblances to a lot of today’s most popular screen sagas: the political shenanigans of House of Cards, the epic flavor of Game of Thrones, the fairy-tale elements of Lord of the Rings. … (And by the way, […]
“It wasn’t just the illnesses, but the constant alternation between concealment and an excess of revelation that kept so much attention focused on them and away from the music.”
“Pierre-Laurent Aimard did it quietly. Evgeny Kissin did it in a casual remark to a presenter. Piotr Anderszewski, evidently, has done it in an interview with the website Humans of New York … What’s ‘it?’ Time off. Stepping off the treadmill.”
“Classical music, some say, is in decline. I say, over and over, that it isn’t. Classical music is just fine. It’s the institutions that perform it that are having trouble. … Of course, new work has an audience. It just may not be a traditional opera audience.”
Anne Midgette: “I write about music; I have a lot of music in my life. But when it comes to introducing my child to music, I have done a terrible job.”
Anne Midgette tracks the year’s highs and lows in classical music.
Berg's Lulu has returned to the Met, in a generally strong, haunting production by William Kentridge. There is early praise from Anthony Tommasini and Anne Midgette; my review will appear a week from Monday.
Anne Midgette moderates a conversation between five rising african-american opera singers – Alyson Cambridge, Soloman Howard, Kenneth Kellogg, Deborah Nansteel, and Russell Thomas – about the issues they face in their careers in 2015. (The makeup in Otello is not one of them.)
Alex Ross, classical music critic for The New Yorker, writes on his blog: Russell Thomas, speaking to Anne Midgette [here]: "The conversation about blackface is...