Anne Midgette: "My keenest experience of the Kennedy Center Honors this year had to do with the marginalization of the high arts. This is not usually my position: I have no problem celebrating the artistry of popular culture, placing Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” above the level of many works of contemporary art music or recognizing the quality […]
Anne Midgette: "This kind of conceptual kinship, an inspiration of approach, is the only real link between a painting and the work of music it inspires. Yet the idea that music can convey something literal, and that conveying it will make the resulting piece more “accessible,” is widespread, and pernicious."
"Argerich’s is a story about someone with superhuman gifts trying to find a way to live a normal life. Many musicians live a life of monkish order, focusing on the discipline of music. Argerich, by contrast, has seemed to go out of her way to be disorganized. She’s so given to canceling performances, sometimes at […]
“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.