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Classical News & Reviews

The latest news in New York City classical music. From Carnegie Hall to the Metropolitan Opera, from the New York Philharmonic to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, find previews, reviews and commentary here at ZEALnyc.

ICE; photo: Armen Elliott.

Review: A Mozart-less Evening Turns to ICE with ‘Grand Pianola Music’

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, August 6, 2018 The Mostly Mozart Festival’s recent presentation of the International Contemporary Ensemble at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College was a welcome respite from the summer’s punishing mugginess. Entitled “Grand Pianola ...

Review: Adès Conducts Adès and Tetzlaff Is ‘Heart-Stopping’ in Sibelius with the BSO at Tanglewood

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, July 24, 2018 I have heard it said that composers should never conduct their own music. Nonetheless, I’ve always envied those that got to see great composers like Stravinsky and Copland conduct their own music, even if their conducting skills were ...

Review: Mostly Mozart Brings a Visually and Aurally Stunning ‘Creation’ to Life

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, July 23, 2018 Mostly Mozart Festival’s recent presentation of Barcelona-based La Fura dels Baus’s and conductor Laurence Equilbey’s version of the Haydn oratorio The Creation is one of my favorite types of creations. Multimedia iterations of ...

Getting the Band Back Together

Review: The Amiable Schlock of 'Gettin' the Band Back Together'

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 14, 2018 Sometimes shows come to Broadway that automatically get the online theater wags sharpening their knives. Before a show has even played its first preview, the theaterati start taking bets on when it will close, and polishing off their “What ...

Moulin Rouge

Review: 'Moulin Rouge' Gets a Lavish Pre-Broadway Tryout in Boston

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018 Before the 1980s, Boston was a major out-of-town stop for plays and musicals before they went to Broadway. The economics of such tryouts have changed drastically, as has the standard model for developing new plays and musicals, and Boston’...

Hudson Valley museums

Art Break: Just a Short Journey North, The Hudson Valley ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018 The Hudson Valley has a special place in the heart of Art Break. So many of our favorite artists spent their summers in the region with friends and family, working on projects, and enjoying the beautiful landscape, just ...

Newport Jazz Festival Showcases Women Artists and Emerging Talents

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, August 10, 2018 This year’s Newport Jazz Festival highlighted an incredibly diverse selection of women performers and women ensemble groups. The festival’s founder George Wein, in his newsletter “Notes from the Wein Machine” (March, 2018), was very direct in his statement ...

Beloved; photo: Kait Ebinger

Review: A Young Woman's Quest for Love and Passion in ...

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, August 9, 2018 Discovering how life works is what resonates the most in Lisa Langseth’s one-woman show Beloved, starring Ellinor DiLorenzo and directed by Kathy Curtiss. The play begins with the character Katarina rummaging around her grandmother’s cottage, putting things ...

Before We're Gone

Review: 'Before We're Gone' Tackles Big Themes at 13th Street ...

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, August 6, 2018 Before We're Gone ended it's run at 13th Street Repertory Theatre on August 5 with hopes of moving uptown and, with caveats, it deserves another chance to be seen. It is a small play, made for a small stage in ...

ICE; photo: Armen Elliott.

Review: A Mozart-less Evening Turns to ICE with 'Grand Pianola ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, August 6, 2018 The Mostly Mozart Festival's recent presentation of the International Contemporary Ensemble at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College was a welcome respite from the summer's punishing mugginess. Entitled "Grand Pianola Music," after the John Adams piece ...

Florence Griswold Museum

Art Break: A Reverse Commute Uncovers Museum Gold in Connecticut

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, August 6, 2018 Here at Art Break, we’ve often complained that people don’t realize how much art is available to see outside New York City. Case in point: the great state of Connecticut. Never been? Well, you’re missing ...

Jazz Notes Intel: 'West Side Story' Reimagined With Bobby Sanabria’...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, August 3, 2018 Last year marked the 60th birthday of composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein’s classic Broadway show West Side Story, famously made into a 10 Academy Award-winning movie version in 1961 starring among others the Puerto Rico-born actress Rita Moreno. This year ...

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever at the Irish Rep

Review: ‘On a Clear Day’ Almost Shines at the Irish ...

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 3, 2018 After the disastrous 2011 Broadway revisal of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, it was looking like we might never see that show in New York City again. Peter Parnell’s ridiculous, gender-switching libretto, combined with Michael Mayer’...

Review: Bernstein’s Ever-Controversial ‘MASS’ Receives a Galvanizing Performance at Mostly Mozart

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, July 20, 2018 It’s genuinely startling how much critical passion Leonard Bernstein’s Mass can still stir up, almost a full half-century after it debuted in 1971 to celebrate the opening of the Kennedy Center. In anticipation of the Mostly Mozart ...

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Join the NYO

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, July 12, 2018 Since 2013, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States (NYO-USA) has drawn young musicians ages 16-19 from all over the country and Puerto Rico for a two-week residency at SUNY Purchase and a performance at Carnegie Hall, before ...

Tanglewood 2018

The Legacy of Leonard Bernstein Will Be Celebrated This Summer at Tanglewood

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, June 5, 2018 New York City has been enjoying a season bursting with Leonard Bernstein, as befitting his hundredth birthday, with everything from rare performances of art songs to various interpretations of the great “Kaddish” Symphony. Now consider Leonard ...

Pretty Yende and the Met Orchestra

Soprano Pretty Yende Joins Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the MET Orchestra at Carnegie

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, May 30, 2018 Pretty Yende and the MET Orchestra return to Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. for the last in its series of three concerts there this season, each led by a different conductor. Following on the heels of conductors Mirga ...

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

Violinist James Ehnes Prepares to Play a “Turkish” Treat with the MET Orchestra at Carnegie

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 25, 2018 The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra continues their series of appearances at Carnegie Hall in a exciting upcoming concert on Wednesday, May 30 at 8:00 p.m featuring Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, the “Turkish,” with soloist James ...

Yuja Wang in recital at Carnegie Hall is a force of nature

Review: Yuja Wang Is a Force of Nature, Whirling Into Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 21, 2018 Yuja Wang, whose career began in 2007 as a last-minute replacement for Martha Argerich with the Boston Symphony, and in 2017 was named Musical America‘s Artist of the Year, has been announced as Carnegie Hall’s ...

Bernstein at Symphony Space

Wall to Wall Bernstein at Symphony Space on Saturday – and It’s Free!

ZEALnyc, May 15, 2018 One of New York City’s most enduring performance hosting venues just happens to have started out as a food hall (the Astor Market) in 1915, was a short-lived ice skating rink (the Crystal Palace), and eventually evolved into the iconic performing space and film center ...

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

Out of the Pit and Into the Spotlight — the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Kicks Off Its End-of-Season Series at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 10, 2018 The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is one of the world’s finest orchestras, and their highly anticipated appearances at Carnegie Hall are a highlight of the season. Unleashed from the pit of the opera house and taking center stage, it is a ...

Bavarian Radio Symphony

Review: Mariss Jansons Leads the Bavarian Radio Symphony in a ‘Riveting’ Mahler’s 7th at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 8, 2018 The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra reinforced their stature as one of the finest ensembles in the world in a riveting performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 in E Minor. Under the revered baton of Mariss Jansons, their chief ...

Daniil Trifonov

Review: Trifonov Transcends In ‘Decades’ at Zankel Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 7, 2018 Daniil Trifonov and his monumental Perspectives recital at Zankel Hall on Friday night is the stuff legends are made of. Calling the recital “Decades,” the 27 year old Russian virtuoso, already renowned for dazzling Liszt and ...

Leif Ove Andsnes

Review: Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes Rises Above an Unruly Audience and an Ungracious Acoustical Setting

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, May 4, 2018 Leif Ove Andsnes deserves an apology for the unsupportive behavior of the New York audience at the start of his recital at David Geffen Hall which concludes his artist-in-residency at the New York Philharmonic this season. Alas, amidst a stream of ...

Boston Lyric Opera

Boston Lyric Opera’s Upcoming Bernstein Double-Bill Is All About Transforming an Ice Rink Into a 1950s Nightclub

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, May 3, 2018 This spring the Boston Lyric Opera brings its season to a close with a premiere pairing of two Leonard Bernstein one-act operas: Trouble in Tahiti (1952) and Arias and Barcarolles (1988). The music itself is enough to grab your attention with the ...

The Oratorio Society of New York

The Underground Railroad and Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Provide Inspiration for World Premieres at Carnegie With the Oratorio Society of NY

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, May 1, 2018 The Oratorio Society of New York, one of the city’s finest choruses and one of its oldest cultural institutions, brings its 145th season to a close on Monday, May 7, 2018, at Carnegie Hall, with two world premieres: an oratorio about the ...

Edward Gardner

Review: Gardner Guides the New York Philharmonic In a Passionate Performance

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 30, 2018 Making his conducting debut with the New York Philharmonic last week, British maestro Edward Gardner, currently chief conductor of Norway’s Bergen Philharmonic, is clearly on the rise. Also this season, he makes his first appearances with ...

Oratorio Society of New York

The Oratorio Society of New York Maintains Its Relevance With Two World Premieres at Carnegie Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 26, 2018 Founded in 1873, the Oratorio Society of New York is celebrating its 145th season as one of New York City’s longest enduring musical institutions. Having made Carnegie Hall its home since the hall was inaugurated in 1891, and anchored by a ...

Lawrence Brownlee

Review: Tenor Lawrence Brownlee Addresses the Black Male Experience In ‘Cycles of My Being’ at Zankel Hall

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 26, 2018 Lawrence Brownlee, one of the busiest singers around, in demand for bel canto opera roles all over the world, has a commanding stage presence, flawless intonation, and crystal-clear diction. The son of a church choir director, music is in his ...

Grand Rapids Symphony

Review: Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie In Fine Form Under the Baton of Marcelo Lehninger

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, April 23, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony, one of Michigan’s more prominent performing arts organizations, has spent the last several years increasing its visibility around the country. They made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2005, and unlike many more ...

Andrei Ioniță

Review: With Jaw-Dropping Technique, Cellist Andrei Ioniță Dazzles at Zankel Hall

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, April 23, 2018 Andrei Ioniță, a Romanian cellist who won first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015, dazzled the audience at his April 19 Zankel Hall recital from the instant he started playing. His opening piece, Pietro Antonio ...

Candide

Review: A ‘Candide’ That’s The Life of the Party, But Still Loses Sight of Its Origins

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, April 20, 2018 Carnegie Hall’s “One-Night-Only Benefit Concert in Celebration of the Bernstein Centennial” took the form of selections from the concert version of Candide currently licensed by the Leonard Bernstein Office, performed by a ...

Grand Rapids Symphony At Carnegie

Grand Rapids Symphony Brings More Than Great Music to Carnegie

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, April 17, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony at Carnegie arrives in New York this week for its first Carnegie Hall appearance in thirteen years with 85 players, a 135-member chorus, the world-renowned pianist Nelson Freire and its dynamic conductor Marcelo ...

Amadeus: Live

Review: The Drama of Mozart’s Music (and Life) Fills Geffen Hall In NY Philharmonic’s ‘Amadeus: Live’

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 The New York Philharmonic’s April 14 screening of Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning movie Amadeus, with the musical score performed live, Amadeus: Live, was bittersweet; Forman died the day before, at eighty-six. Conductor Richard ...

Marcelo Lehninger

From Rio With Love — Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie With Music Director Marcelo Lehninger

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 20 for the second time in the orchestra’s 88-year history. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary there in 2005, the orchestra returns with the 140-member ...

Ecstatic Music Festival

Ecstatic Music Festival Features Diverse Programming and Collaborative Performances

By Leonard Bopp, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival, now in its eighth year, presents collaborative performances from a broad, diverse range of musical groups. As Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos notes, “since Kaufman Music ...

Four Nations Ensemble

Review: Collegial Camaraderie Highlights the Voyage of the Four Nations Ensemble at Merkin

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, April 11, 2018 Taking off from Watteau’s ambiguous, evocative painting L’Embarquement pour Cythère, the Four Nations Ensemble came up with an ambiguous, evocative and, in the end, deeply stirring program of French music ranging over the ...

Friction Quartet

Review: Vietnam War-Inspired Programming Results In the Sublime to the Questionable

By Christopher Johnson, March 26, 2018 No one could have anticipated that the climactic event in Carnegie Hall’s months-long festival (with Friction Quartet) The ’60s: The Years that Changed America would coincide with the March for Our Lives, one of the biggest protests since the Vietnam War ...

Miller Theatre

Pop-Up Concerts Return To The Miller Theatre — Just In Time for Cocktails

ZEALnyc, March 23, 2018 Planning ways to connect with friends and colleagues can often be challenging, but what if you could find a way to combine socializing while hearing a cutting-edge concert and also enjoying a drink? All for free? Impossible? No. The Miller Theater at Columbia University ...

A Quiet Place

Review: Curtis Opera Theatre Brings a Newly Revised ‘A Quiet Place’ to Kaye Playhouse

By Christopher Johnson, Contributing Writer, March 16, 2018 Let’s not beat about the bush: A Quiet Place, Leonard Bernstein’s second opera, is a frustrating thing, brimming over with musical ideas of great interest and occasional beauty, but saddled with an unpleasant, implausible cast of ...

The Threepenny Opera

BLO’s ‘Threepenny Opera’ Is As Timely As Ever Through Its Creatives’ Vision

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, March 8, 2018 The Boston Lyric Opera is bringing back to stage writer Bertolt Brecht’s and composer Kurt Weill’s 1928 classic The Threepenny Opera, exposing a theme that has never really gone out of style. Topically, in fact, the subject matter is right ...

Anne-Sophie Mutter

Review: Anne-Sophie Mutter Triumphs Through Technique and Keen Interpretive Powers

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, March 6, 2018 Anne-Sophie Mutter takes command. Those straggling late-comers? Let them shuffle in — she begins her performance as if they aren’t there, immediately seizing control of the room and setting the tone. Those (alas, seemingly inevitable) ...

Elektra

Review: The Metropolitan Opera Revives Its Compelling ‘Elektra,’ And Comes Very Close to Success

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, March 1, 2018 The House of Atreus fell apart again tonight, as the Metropolitan Opera revived its crisp Patrice Chéreau production of Elektra with the American soprano (New York’s own to be specific) Christine Goerke making an anticipated New York debut as ...

Vienna Philharmonic

Review: Dudamel Leads the Stellar Vienna Philharmonic With Humble Authority at Carnegie

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, February 27, 2018 Sunday’s appearance at Carnegie Hall by the venerated Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel provided art and artistry of numerous contrasts. First, the pairing of this great European ensemble, an institution with roots ...

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