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31.10.12

Classical Music Agenda: November 2012

Assuming that cultural life continues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's visit to Washington, here are the ten concerts we most want to hear in the month of November. We had to leave out many worthy choices, but this exercise would not really be any fun if we did not. Keep your eye on the sidebar for many more options.

NATIONAL SYMPHONY:
It is true that Beethoven's Missa Solemnis is a difficult work to love. It is not for nothing that Theodor Adorno observed that "there is, of course, among musicians an underground tradition of critical reserve" about the Missa Solemnis. It is a massive, often unwieldy work that taxes its performers in cruel ways, but unlike the ninth symphony, it does not instantly engender affection. Even so, Christoph Eschenbach has done some wonderful things with large-scale works thus far, and the chance to hear him have a crack at this one is not to be missed, when he leads two performances with the National Symphony Orchestra (November 1 and 3) and the Choral Arts Society of Washington. Soprano Anne Schwanewilms has withdrawn from the vocal quartet because of illness, but soprano Erin Wall should be up to snuff as her replacement. To give the singers a night off, some principal members of the NSO will perform a program of Beethoven's chamber music (November 2, 8 pm), including the lovely wind quintet with Christoph Eschenbach at the piano. Tickets: $10 to $85.


The same weekend, Lang Lang blows into town for a week-long residency with the NSO and Christoph Eschenbach, who has been one of his mentors. The events begin with a solo recital (November 4, 4 pm), where he will play three Mozart sonatas and all four of Chopin's ballades. Lang Lang then partners with Eschenbach for a two-piano recital -- some of my favorite music by Mozart and Schubert (November 7, 8 pm). For its concerts that week, the NSO will play Strauss's Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche and Dvořák's seventh symphony, with Lang Lang playing a different Beethoven piano concerto each night — nos. 2 (November 8), 3 (November 9), and 5 (November 10) — a circus trick of epic proportions. In the midst of it all, Lang Lang takes the stage with one hundred of the best young pianists from the Washington area (November 10, 4 pm). All events take place in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets: $10 to $85.

After a long period of installation and fine-tuning, most of which had to take place in the middle of the night when the Kennedy Center Concert Hall was not in use, that venue will get its new organ. NSO organist William Neil will put the instrument through its paces at an inaugural concert (November 27, 6 pm), in some solo works, a Gabrieli piece with brass, and the Saint-Saëns "Organ-Symphony" with the NSO. Tickets: FREE (tickets are distributed beginning at 5 pm on the day of the performance in the Hall of Nations).


EARLY MUSIC:
We think it would be worthwhile to make the trip up to Baltimore for the concert by Europa Galante this weekend (November 4, 5:30 pm), when violinist Fabio Biondi will lead performances of music by Corelli, Couperin, C.P.E. Bach, and Vivaldi at Shriver Hall. Tickets: $39.

VOICES:
The quartet of women known as Anonymous 4 comes back to the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater this month (November 28, 7:30 pm), to perform love fail, a new work by David Lang based in part on the lais of Marie de France. If Lang's Little Match Girl Passion is any indication, it will be something to hear. Tickets: $38.

We picked this month's recital by soprano Angela Meade for our best of the season preview. Hopefully you bought your tickets then for this concert presented by Washington National Opera in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (November 10, 7:30 pm), because it is now sold out.


available at Amazon
Bach and Beyond, Part 1, J. Koh
CHAMBER MUSIC:
In terms of devotion, that of Ionarts to the Takács Quartet is unparalleled. So, of course, we would not be anywhere else this month when they play at the Library of Congress (November 13, 8 pm), with a program including Schubert's "Rosamunde" Quartet and Britten's first quartet. But wait, there's more: Marc-André Hamelin will join them for Shostakovich's Piano Quintet in G minor, op. 57. Tickets: FREE.

The Library of Congress for the win: the venue and its excellent auditorium will also host the Apollon Musagète Quartet this month (November 16, 8 pm). Our own Jens Laurson labeled this rising young quartet "very promising" when he heard them at the ARD Competition in 2008. The program combines more Haydn -- always welcome -- plus Szymanowski, Suk, and Mendelssohn. Tickets: FREE.

Finally, we have been impressed with the playing of violinist Jennifer Koh, who brings her Bach and Beyond project to the Mansion at Strathmore this month (November 14, 7:30 pm). Tickets: $30.

30.10.12

ETHEL Pokes Fun at Classical Music

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Charles T. Downey, Todd Rundgren and Ethel: Reimagining the ’70s
Washington Post, October 30, 2012

available at Amazon
T. Riley, Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector (inter alia), Kronos Quartet
Did anything good come out of the 1970s? Music of all kinds was composed, and that was the focus of “Tell Me Something Good,” the latest venture off the beaten path for the string quartet known as Ethel. The group is on tour with ’70s rock musician Todd Rundgren, and they appeared at the Clarice Smith Center on Sunday evening.

The ’70s were my first decade on this planet, and none of Rundgren’s songs stuck out in my memories of childhood. Now in his 60s, Rundgren vocalized in a mixture of singing, wheeze and growl, with the high range of his voice often in tatters. Still seeking new sounds, he has reconceived some of his old songs in unusual ways, such as accompanying himself on “Bang the Drum All Day” (from 1983) with a ukulele, and the partnership with Ethel yielded some fun twists, as in the rock-patter piece “The Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song,” originally by Gilbert and Sullivan. [Continue reading]
ADDENDUM:
Some praise crossover experiments like ETHEL’s for introducing other kinds of audiences to classical music, but in this concert too many jokes made at the expense of fussy, boring classical music put the lie to that claim.

Tell Me Something Good
ETHEL and Todd Rundgren
Clarice Smith Center

29.10.12

BSO Musicians Shine in Brahms Double


Conductor Cornelius Meister
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Cornelius Meister, 32, performed a program of Brahms, Mozart, and Richard Strauss Saturday evening at the Music Center at Strathmore. The gem on the program was Brahms's Double Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor, which featured the BSO's own concertmaster, Jay Carney, and principal cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski. Like musical brothers, Carney and Skoraczewski played with focused abandon and seemed to sense each other's musical wishes mainly by feel and rarely by sight, their coordination the result of hundreds of hours of performance and rehearsal sitting across from each other in the orchestra. The string sections of the orchestra had plenty of moments to shine and used the hall's wet acoustic to blend.

Brahms has the soloists play in octaves in their lower ranges in the tender Andante movement. Unison playing, or octaves in this case, can be particularly treacherous, and the the soloists created the unique effect of fusing their instruments into one. Bravo to the BSO for showcasing its own musicians as soloists. The emerging German conductor Cornelius Meister, now music director of the Vienna Radio Symphony, led with broad, sweeping gestures that kept out of the way of the musicians. This worked magically in the Brahms, though it led to disappointing results in Mozart's Symphony No. 35 ("Haffner," D major) and Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, both requiring greater leadership.


Other Reviews:

Grace Jean, Cornelius Meister and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Brilliant Brahms and Mozart (Washington Post, October 29)

Tim Smith, Cornelius Meister leads Baltimore Symphony in program of Mozart, Brahms, Strauss (Baltimore Sun, October 27)
The first movement of the "Haffner," marked Allegro con spirito, lacked overall spirit. More agility and imagination from the lower sections would have been helpful as well, since treating long strings of quick notes uniformly is quite unfashionably un-"HIP." The Andante, taken quite quickly, came off as frumpy, while the orchestra seemed to ignore some interesting gestures from the conductor. The blazingly quick Presto finale missed the mark, with the front rows of sections playing faster than the rows further back, and the musicians relying on their ears instead of using the conductor as a hub. Meister was even more irrelevant in the Strauss tone poem, which required almost double the amount of orchestral players, including a low-impact horn player for Till's boisterous giggle. It was a shame that the musicians would go the extra mile in the Brahms to assist their colleagues in rare roles as soloists, and yet then go on autopilot for the rest of the program. In fairness, the buck stops with the conductor and management. Engaging a young conductor not quite able to give the orchestra the active management it needs was an oversight.

Marin Alsop returns to Baltimore for the next big program with the BSO, pairing Beethoven's fifth symphony with the East Coast premiere of Christopher Rouse's third symphony (November 8 and 11).

Alexandre Tharaud de Retour

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Charles T. Downey, Alexandre Tharaud’s expressive piano at La Maison Française
Washington Post, October 29, 2012

available at Amazon
D. Scarlatti, Sonatas, A. Tharaud
(2011)

available at Amazon
Le Bœuf sur le Toit, A. Tharaud et al.
(2012)
Where some pianists thrill with fanfaronade, Alexandre Tharaud teases out the piano’s delicate side, weaving threads of sound into exquisite lace patterns. The French pianist returned to La Maison Française on Friday night, in the intimate auditorium where he gave his last solo recital here in 2008.

Tharaud’s program opened with five of the 18 sonatas on his superlative Domenico Scarlatti recording, released last year. The Scarlatti sonatas often show up on recitals as flashy encores, but Tharaud reads them more like expressive tableaux, landscapes traced with a few strokes of ink. He has written that he chose from more than 500 such sonatas by Scarlatti by “allowing myself to be guided by my fingers.” The zippier sonatas certainly sat easily under his agile hands, but it was the reclusive melancholy of K. 481 that stood out for its exquisitely shaded shyness. [Continue reading]
Alexandre Tharaud, piano
Music by Scarlatti, Ravel, Chopin, Liszt
La Maison Française

SEE ALSO:
Steve Smith, Fingertips With the Force of Nature (New York Times, October 25)

Marie-Aude Roux, Alexandre Tharaud et les fantômes du cabaret (Le Monde, October 4)

Jens F. Laurson, Original and Happy Freaks: Alexandre Tharaud’s Scarlatti (Ionarts, December 8, 2011)

---, Tharaud: A Case of Perpetual Puppy (Ionarts, December 3, 2011)

Charles T. Downey, Alexandre Tharaud (Washington Post, October 27, 2008)

28.10.12

In Brief: Hurricane Sandy Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio, online video, and other good things in Blogville and Beyond. (After clicking to an audio or video stream, press the "Play" button to start the broadcast.)

  • From the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, hear a rare performance of Niccolò Piccinni's Atys, performed by the Le Cercle de l’Harmonie under violinist Julien Chauvin. [France Musique]

  • A performance of Glinka's A Life for the Czar, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France this summer. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Frédéric Chaslin leads the singers of Les Cris de Paris and the Orchestre National de France in Massenet's La Navarraise (1894) and David Alagna's Le dernier jour d’un condamné (2007), from the Salle Pleyel in Paris. [France Musique]

  • Hear Franz Welser-Möst conduct the Cleveland Orchestra in Bruckner's fifth symphony, recorded last year at Severance Hall. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • From the refectory of the Abbaye de Clairvaux, Mathieu Romano leads the vocal ensemble Aedes in music by Schubert and Philippe Hersant, as part of the Festival Ombres et Lumières. [France Musique]

  • Hear a performance of Haydn's oratorio Die Schöpfung, with Musica Saeculorum and conductor Philipp von Steinaecker, recorded last month in Brixen Cathedral. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • An all-Brahms concert from the Orchestre National de France and Kurt Masur: the second symphony and the first piano concerto with Lars Vogt, from the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. [France Musique]

  • A classic recording of Lully's Phaëton, made by Les Musiciens du Louvre and Marc Minkowski in 1993. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • The Chœur de Radio France and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, under the baton of Vladimir Fedoseyev, in music of Tchaikovsky and Schnittke. [France Musique]

  • You can listen to the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra play two Sibelius symphonies, nos. 4 and 7, plus trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger in Gruber's Aerial. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Here is the second part of a recital by pianist Frank Braley, from the Festival Les Solistes des Serres d’Auteuil, with music by Debussy, Falla, Gershwin, and Philippe Hersant. [France Musique]

  • The Minetti Quartet plays music by Mozart, Schubert, and Mendelssohn, at the Ö1 Musiksalon 2012 in Vienna. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Georg Solti leads a 1975 recording of Bizet's Carmen, with Tatiana Troyanos (Carmen), Plácido Domingo (Don José), José van Dam (Escamillo), and Kiri te Kanawa (Micaëla). [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Listen to a concert by the Ensemble Hémiolia, an all-Handel program with soprano Capucine Meens. [France Musique]

  • Listen to violinist Ilya Gringolts and the SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra of Stuttgart, under the baton of Stéphane Denève, in music of Ravel, Shostakovich, and Strauss. [France Musique]

  • The piano duo of Andreas Grau and Götz Schumacher plays a cool program of music by Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, and George Crumb. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • A recital last month by pianist Julia Kociuban, with music by Haydn, Ligeti, and Schumann, at the Festival Les Solistes des Serres d’Auteuil. [France Musique]

  • From the same festival, another recital by pianist Philippe Bianconi in music of Schumann, Debussy, and Ivan Fedele. [France Musique]

  • Here is a concert by violinists Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijeski and friends, from the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • From the Wiener Konzerthaus, the Belcea Quartet plays music by Brahms and Richard Strauss. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • A heads-up for later in the week: the Bavarian State Opera will broadcast their performance of Jörg Widmann's Babylon from Munich on November 3. [Bayerische Staatsoper]

27.10.12

Ionarts-at-Large: MPhil and Dausgaard in White, Blue, and Orange


A very fine guest conductor, a superb soloist—not as a name, but as a musician (though in this case both)—and an intriguing, intelligent program in white, blue, and orange: Promising stuff for a concert of the Munich Philharmonic. And indeed Thomas Dausgaard and Leif Ove Andsnes in Kurtág, Beethoven, and Dvořák delivered with panache.

Kurtág’s quasi-Piano Concertino …quasi una fantasia… op.27/1, for pianist and groups of musicians strewn about the performing space, was commissioned by and written for the Berlin Philharmonic in 1988. It starts with simple downward scales on the piano, gently accented by percussion that sounds like Santa’s Reindeer resting for a bite of nutritious greens, accompanied by an Elf’s harmonica. Eventually a more agitated drum-tattoo calls the charming cacophonous Presto minaccioso e lamentoso to action. The marimba and dulcimer join with vaguely Hungarian flavors. Then brutally, out of nowhere, timpani and brass unite for a thunderous interruption in form of the Recitativo: Grave, disperato that evokes a war episode as might be found in Shostakovich, but more dramatic, not frenzied, and grimmer even. …quasi una fantasia… ends with the Aria – Adagio molto, as sweet and innocent and haunting as

26.10.12

Concert Program Synesthesia


When you see a concert program, do you associate it with colors? It’s a strange kind of faux-synesthesia, but one I experience in full blown form. I see works and composers on a program and I associate them with colors or color combinations and, to a lesser extent, with shapes, linearity, clearness, and purity. One look and I see whether it fits (according to my perfectly subjective prejudices and tastes, of course).

If I were to devise a concert program, the colors and shapes of the music (or more precisely my impression of the music’s ‘reputation’) would be my primary organizing principle, consciously or not. It’s also my short-cut to judging a program of a concert I might attend, and how much it appeals to me.

It’s an intuitive response that I haven’t yet consciously mapped, but a few elements stand out: Most of Bach is white light, containing all colors and combinable with almost everything else. Romantic composers tend to be heavier, and warm colors; early music—pre baroque—pale, cooler colors, in classical music it varies greatly from composer to composer and from piece to piece. Modern and contemporary music is as unpredictably diverse in this scheme as the compositions themselves.


A specific example from the concert I was at last and will review next, and how it looks like to me:

The Munich Philharmonic (in and of itself tendencies of heavy, brownish-red) conducted by Thomas Dausgaard (lots of white and translucence with individual strands of red and blue) with soloist Leif Ove Andsnes (a chameleon of sorts, who blends in with the music’s colors without adulterating them much, if at all).

György Kurtág: “...quasi una fantasia…” for Piano and Orchestral Groups op.27/1

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.1, op.15

Intermission

Antonin Dvořák: Symphony No.6, op.60


It starts with Kurtág, a sparse white with gray markings, not unlike certain monochromatic Cy Twombley paintings… the more intricate ones among those that look like chalkboards… except inverse and very much on the light side. (Despite the massive, powerful, uber-Shostakovichean third movement of “…quasi una fantasia…”. Touch of Giacometti.

Then Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto, perhaps the epitome of classical Beethoven, a manifestation of clarity, beauty, and cogence. Light blues and dark blues mix in long lines, perhaps on white or very light gray. Simplicity reigns. I imagine something that Barnett Newman might have done, but horizontal.

Dvořák, finally: On paper a considerable break with the scheme so far. Fall colors, leaves turning orange and brown and red. Golden hues shine through (the impression was altered by the performance, which added very pale, long golden filaments). Like one of Mark Rothko’s many paintings in those colors, with very fuzzy edges.

The composition of the program then makes up a painting of sorts itself… a Newman, Rothko, or a Sean Scully which I can subjectively judge at a glance and react to like I might in a museum before such a picture… with a more detailed with the ingredients and their order to follow that glancing impression.


There she blows: Moby-Dick in the Bay Area

Many thanks to Robert R. Reilly for this review from San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House.


On the evening of October 22, 2012, I was at the San Francisco Opera House, which maintains one of the highest standards of production values in America. In its San Francisco premiere, the presentation of composer Jake Heggie’s and librettist Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick confirmed this impression.

To say that mounting Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick as an opera is a daunting task is an understatement of considerable proportions. One has to admire Heggie’s nerve in undertaking it. He, his librettist, the director, and the designer have not completely succeeded for the simple fact that no one could. How do you distill a 600-page novel that poses the question as to whether the order of creation is rational or willfully malign, and that deals with the relationships between freedom and necessity, and between providence and the existence of evil, into a three-hour opera?

To succeed, you would have to have created musically and theatrically something as great as Moby-Dick itself. This Heggie and his colleagues have not done. However, in their striving, they have achieved some theatrically striking moments that are indelibly impressed in my memory, even if the entire effort lacks the final metaphysical coherence that Melville’s text demands.

Heggie certainly made some interesting choices. In Bernard Herrmann’s cantata setting of Moby-Dick, Ahab is a bass and Starbuck a tenor. That seems to make the most dramatic sense. Heggie reverses the order and makes Ahab a tenor and Starbuck a baritone. In the program booklet, Heggie explains that playwright Terrence McNally, who was originally supposed to write the libretto, told him that Ahab should be a heroic tenor… just why exactly he never says. Perhaps this was to propose Ahab as the protagonist, with Moby Dick as the antagonist?

This raises the question: Who or what is Moby Dick, anyway? In his program booklet essay, conductor Patrick Summers makes the astonishing statement that “the unseen whale, of course, is God, the biblical whale of Jonah.” Balderdash. Fortunately Summers is a much better conductor than he is a literary analyst. Better hear from Ahab himself, in the quarter deck scene of the novel, concerning the identity of Moby Dick, since it is his conception of the white whale that drives the drama. He speaks to Starbuck thusly:


All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event – in the living act, the undoubted deed – there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike though the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ‘tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him.

Here we have the metaphysical terms of the drama spelled out explicitly. Ahab is a Manichaean. He believes that the universe is, at least in substantial part, ruled by an evil demiurge, personified in Moby Dick. Providence is malignant. In his severed leg, Ahab has been a victim of its evil. It is, he thinks, a willed evil, and Ahab is going to will it back. Counterpoised to this metaphysical madness is the view of Starbuck, the first mate, who repeatedly tries to remind Ahab that Moby Dick is simply a source of whale oil, and nothing more. To think otherwise, he tells Ahab, is blasphemous. Both the novel and the opera are highly successful in dramatizing these two metaphysical views through the relationship between these two men, though the key quote given above is absent in the opera’s libretto. Of course, the larger lesson is that Ahab’s misshapen view of reality leads not only to his own destruction, but to that of everyone around him.

Unfortunately, in the first act of the opera, the quarterdeck scene is not portrayed with anywhere near the dramatic significance and intensity that it bears in the book. It should be overpowering; it is the point at which Ahab overwhelms his crew with the intensity of his desire for vengeance. We, too, should be overwhelmed. I think this was a misstep on Heggie’s part, though one can sympathize with the problem of not peaking too early in the dramatic action. To his credit, Heggie does build the drama effectively throughout the remainder of the first act, especially in the scene in which Starbuck confronts Ahab about allowing the crew finally to undertake the hunt for a sighted pod of whales and in Starbuck’s contemplated murder of Ahab as he lies sleeping.

However, there were many things that were exactly right and extraordinarily well done in terms of presenting the larger significance of the action. Let us begin with the overture. One of the biggest surprises of the evening was the intimacy of Heggie’s writing. He is particularly adept in his use of winds. Where one might have expected Hovhaness-like soundings of subterranean depths in huge orchestral swells, one received instead a kind of shimmering delicacy. This was counterintuitive and, in its way, enchanting. Though Heggie showed later in the opera that he clearly knows how to depict a storm when one arises, he has written remarkably gentle and reflective music for the magnitude of the subject matter. He is particularly gifted in musically capturing the interior monologues of Ishmael, Starbuck, Ahab, but there is an element of manic madness missing.

What was particularly arresting during the overture were the projected graphics. We first see a depiction of stars in a giant galaxy. All of a sudden, lines begin shooting between these points of light. It seems these points are connected. The apparent randomness of the stars is revealed to be something else. A pattern begins to develop, constellations form, and eventually morph into a giant outline of the ship, Pequod, sailing through the universe. The ship is part of the galaxy and connected to it. It is a part of a larger whole. This strongly suggests an overarching meaning and providence in the universe. It is hard to imagine this point being more effectively presented. It was breathtaking, and almost upstaged the ship on which the curtain rises, though that transition itself was very well handled.



While the opera’s culminating scene of Ahab with Moby Dick was anticlimactic, the death of Ahab was handled with a kind of symmetrical brilliance that directly related to the opening. Ahab diminished into a spot, which was then immediately subsumed back into the graphic projection of the larger stellar universe, with which the overture began: Ahab, who railed against the order of things, turns out to have been part of that order.

There were other unforgettable moments – too many to mention them all, but a few deserve the space: When the cabin boy, Pip, seems to be drowning, soprano Talise Trevigne is suspended by an unseen wire mid stage between the floor and the ceiling, against a back projection of the sea as seen from below. Against this image of being below water, Pip, then makes the desperate motions of attempting to swim to the top. Theatrically, the effect was stunning.

Toward the end of the first act, the scene changes to the deck on which the rendering of the whale oil takes place. As a depiction of hell, I have not seen a more powerful such evocation in any other opera. When the crew embarks on whale hunts, the boats are depicted by projections of their outlines against the steeply raked upstage area. The outlines of the boats move with the action of the waves and, when the boats break apart, the crew members tumble downstage. Finally, in the very last scene, Ishmael, the lone survivor, is floating upon Queequeg’s coffin. His moment of rescue is depicted by the descent of a line at the end of which is a large hook. He steps onto it and is drawn upward. Here is the deus ex machina which, at the very end, suggests that the purpose of the universe may not be malign, after all.

Sometimes, as effective as it was, the overall production left me wondering whether Heggie and his team finally understood the significance of Melville’s message at its deepest level. This was especially so given the overemphasis on the relationship between Ishmael and Queequeg, which is not so emphatically present in the novel. What are we supposed to see in this relationship? An ideal? If so, against what is it contrasted? I was not surprised when I read that almost no one in this production had read Moby-Dick before undertaking this effort.

Throughout, the singing was superb. Playing Ahab, Jay Hunter Morris was every bit a heroic tenor. His voice never flagged through the extraordinary demands of his role. Baritone Morgan Smith was equally effective and touching as Starbuck. One of the best scenes in the opera had him and Morris sing tenderly together about their reminiscences of Nantucket and the domestic bliss awaiting them there. Stephen Costello was an effective Ishmael and partnered well with Jonathan Lemalu, the Samoan bass baritone from New Zealand, as Queequeg. Soprano Trevigne was a very affecting Pip. The choral work was first rate.

It should be added that Heggie writes particularly well for the voice. One of the finest pieces in the opera was the choral lament for the lost Pip. The quartet with Ahab, Starbuck, Queequeg and Ishmael, the latter two up in the rigging, was also impressive. The orchestration was unfailingly attractive, but one wonders how much of this music is truly memorable. Some of it was cinematic; some of it verged on the high-end of the American musical. The production was so theatrically arresting and graphically thrilling that we will have to wait to see how well the music holds up on its own in a recording.

Until then, one can see the opera through Friday, November 2. After that one must await a broadcast by PBS, which is recording this production of Moby-Dick for national telecast.

Final praise to director Leonard Foglia, set designer Robert Brill, lighting designer Gavan Swift, and especially projection designer Elaine J. McCarthy who deserves some kind of Oscar or Tony for her stunning work. Bernard Herrmann chose to write a cantata on Moby Dick rather than an opera because, he thought, “the medium of opera seems too limited.” This imaginative production proves otherwise. RRR


All pictures above and below courtesy San Francisco Opera, © Cory Weaver.

'War Horse' at the Kennedy Center

After huge success in London and a run of almost two years in New York, Nick Stafford's stage adaptation of War Horse has come to the Kennedy Center Opera House, where I saw it on Thursday night. Somewhat incredibly, the story is drawn from Michael Morpurgo's book for young readers, in which the story is told from the view point of the horse. A hunter, part thoroughbred, Joey ends up on a farm raised by a boy named Albert Narracott, for whom the horse fills the absence of the relationship with his troubled father. In 1914, an Austrian archduke is assassinated in far-away Sarajevo, and Joey is bought up by the British cavalry, to fight in the Great War. When Albert gets the chance, he follows Joey to the trenches of the Somme. While I did not care much for Steven Spielberg's saccharine movie version, the play makes the same improbable plot twists seem much less sentimental, skating close to the edge of bathos but somehow avoiding it.

available at Amazon
M. Morpurgo, War Horse
(2012)
One of the things that helps make the play grand enough for the vast setting of the Opera House is the musical fabric that joins it together. Two "song men," Nathan Koci on accordion and singer John Milosich, appear from time to time to link together segments with affectingly simple renditions of folk songs that have the ring of Albert's native Devon. Chorus members broaden this sense of musical nostalgia -- for an age of village bands and common men and women singing together in unaccompanied harmony -- with their own contributions. This part of the musical backdrop far outweighs the incidental score in emotional punch, with its pre-recorded and over-amplified boom (music by Adrian Sutton, assisted by songmaker John Tams and music director Greg Pliska). Scenic backdrops scroll by, projected on a screen like a torn scrap of paper stretched across the stage (sets, costumes, and drawings by Rae Smith), as if in a reader's memory. The violence of the war scenes makes a much greater impact on stage than it did in Spielberg's film, likely because here it is presented as balletic mythography rather than cinematic documentary: that is, the clash of machine guns and tanks against the obsolete cavalry was more devastating as symbolic poetry, wrapped in memory and emotion, than in all its gritty reality. That being said, this play is really not for young children, some of whom were heard in the audience last night: the story is about the horror of WWI, not Black Beauty.

Other Reviews:

Peter Marks, Kennedy Center’s ‘War Horse’ succeeds on a grand stage (Washington Post, October 26)

Ben Brantley, A Boy and His Steed, Far From Humane Society (New York Times, April 14, 2011)

Michael Billington, War Horse (The Guardian, October 18, 2007)

Charles Spencer, War Horse: Horse play is no puppet show (The Telegraph, October 18, 2007)
The acting by humans is fine and moving, but not all that exceptional: the slightly goofy, earnest Albert of Andrew Veenstra, the shrewish but loving mother of Angela Reed, and especially the flawed, blustering father of Todd Cerveris -- a much thornier character in the play than in the movie. Supporting characters make less of an impact, less-defined details along the way, but it is the horses that remain the most emblazoned on one's memory (designed by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones for Handspring Puppet Company). Portrayed by massive, beautifully articulated puppets, the horses are brought to life by a team of at least three -- and sometimes more -- puppeteers (Christopher Mai, Derek Stratton, and Rob Laqui for the star, Joey), making the horses walk, trot, gallop, nuzzle, whinny, stamp, shake their tails, flip their ears. At first, one is amazed by the expressive technique of the thousands of small movements that make this possible, but ultimately one ignores the presence of the puppeteers (who are costumed in ways that make them blend into each scene) and accepts the horses as living creatures. Similar things happen with other delightful puppets, too: a waddling, hissing goose; swallows swung around at the ends of poles; and grim crows that menace the dead. When one of the horses dies and the puppeteers stand and depart solemnly, the sense of life's wonder being extinguished is palpable. It is a most uncanny thing to watch.

This production continues through November 11, a significant date, at the Kennedy Center Opera House.

25.10.12

Latest Docu-Opera from Philippe Béziat

Philippe Béziat made his new documentary Traviata and Us during the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. Including footage of rehearsals and performances, he claims to show how soprano Natalie Dessay "literally becomes Verdi's heroine." Christian Merlin writes about the film in an article (Natalie Dessay, les secrets d'une métamorphose, October 24) for Le Figaro (my translation):
Up to this point there were three ways to film opera: capture a performance live, make a filmed opera in the studio, or make a documentary. Philippe Béziat has invented something else. Traviata et nous is not his first attempt at this. In Pelléas et Mélisande, Le chant des aveugles and in Noces, he had opened the way: neither a simple filming or a documentary, but a true film, with a screenplay and direction, an entirely new work. [...]

Béziat shows us the miracle of the metamorphosis: how, thanks to hard work, the woman Natalie Dessay, perfectly normal, becomes another woman. No need for fiction here, reality speaks. "Even if you do not have the keys, you feel the risks," the director explains. "A person like you and me undergoes a transformation that is beyond her, the camera sees it." A passionate opera lover, Béziat pledges equal love for film and music, two arts immutably linked for him, perhaps because they are both a way of organizing time. It is not by chance that his production company is called Les Films Pelléas.
Embedded above is a taste of Béziat's Pelléas film. Trailer for Traviata et nous here.

24.10.12

Gershwin for the 21st Century

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Charles T. Downey, New York Festival of Song pokes gentle fun at politics in Vocal Arts D.C. show
Washington Post, October 24, 2012

available at Amazon
Gershwin, Of Thee I Sing / Let 'Em Eat Cake, 1987 studio cast recording, M. Tilson Thomas
[MP3]
The chance to hear some gentle fun poked at America’s political obsessions was welcome Monday night, especially as it coincided with the final presidential debate. The occasion was the 25th anniversary of the New York Festival of Song, which gave its annual performance for Vocal Arts D.C. in the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.

To celebrate the milestone, artistic director Steven Blier revived “Mr. Gershwin Goes to Washington,” a 1997 compilation of songs from George and Ira Gershwin’s three politically themed musicals, woven together with updated twists by Laurence Maslon. Alongside a lot of (perhaps too many) Gershwin songs, from “Strike Up the Band,” “Of Thee I Sing,” and “Let ’Em Eat Cake” — plus the Burton Lane song “In Our United State,” included because Ira Gershwin wrote the lyrics — were easy jokes about the 47 percent and binders full of women. [Continue reading]
Mr. Gershwin Goes to Washington
New York Festival of Song
Vocal Arts D.C.
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

SEE ALSO:
Vivien Schweitzer, On a Political Stage, It’s Gershwin by a Landslide (New York Times, October 22)

Emily Cary, Gershwin and politics -- a winning, witty partnership (Washington Examiner, October 20)

23.10.12

Thibault Cauvin at the Phillips

This review is an Ionarts exclusive.

available at Amazon
Bell'Italia, T. Cauvin
In the Phillips Collection Music Room, adorned with prized paintings and warmly awash in a fall Sunday afternoon’s light, French virtuoso guitarist Thibault Cauvin gave a masterful recital in support of his latest album, CITIES, released just three days before. The simple conceit of a global journey, with each programmed work representing a different metropolis, allowed the 27-year-old, faintly Django-mustachioed Cauvin to display his prowess while integrating a wide range of styles within his own unclassifiable sensibility.

Cauvin’s technique embodies the highest level of conservatory training and, as was rather indelicately hyped by the house, competition prize-winning. The soulful sound of his CITIES program drew heavily from jazz and popular music as well as world genres from tango to raga. Every piece had a recognizable groove, though sometimes an irregular one, as in the obsessively resetting rhythms of Rocktypicovin, written for the guitarist, at the precocious age of 12, by his father, Philippe (b. 1952), and now used as his standard encore. At other times Cauvin showboatingly interrupted the beat to work in a playful lick, as with the atmospheric glissandi executed on the instrument’s highest harmonics during Roland Dyens's arrangement of Take the 'A' Train. Likewise, every piece was accessibly tonal or modal, while often enlivened with crunchy dissonances and, possibly, microtones, though persistent tuning problems made it hard to tell which of these were intentional.

Cauvin dazzled with an array of exotic sounds. In mimicking the koto for an arrangement of Minoru Miki’s film score from L’Empire des sens, he uncannily captured the Japanese instrument’s harsh clangs as well as its delicate arpeggios and subtle pitch bends. In Raga du soir by Sébastien Vachez (b. 1973), Cauvin created a village of distinct voices through extreme dynamics and clever muting, along with drumming all over the body of the guitar.

A first-rate soloist, Cauvin delivered a spirited and unified performance that was more entertaining than artistically challenging, despite its international flavor. If the mid-20th-century birth dates next to composers’ names on the program had led any listeners to expect an envelope-pushing new music concert, they would have been disappointed. This enjoyable offering was typical for the Phillips; its genteel Sunday afternoon concerts usually shun the experimentalism embraced by its art exhibitions, though the museum has taken some steps toward the edge with its Leading European Composers series.

Next Sunday's concert at the Phillips Collection is a recital by British pianist Leon McCawley, playing music of Bach, Debussy, Chopin, and others (October 28, 4 pm).

Gregorian Chant Supreme

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Charles T. Downey, Cathedral Choral Society opens 71st season
Washington Post, October 23, 2012

available at Amazon
Duruflé, Complete Choral Works, Choir of Trinity College Cambridge
The Cathedral Choral Society opened its 71st season with a tribute to the flowering of late romantic music in France. This grand program, at Washington National Cathedral on Sunday afternoon, combined the cathedral’s imposing organ, multiple choruses and a vast orchestra, which are not always suited to the cavernous space.

In Maurice Durufle’s evanescent setting of the Latin Requiem Mass, a lush rethinking of the Gregorian chant melodies for the Mass of the Dead, the combined forces murmured and undulated. Durufle was perhaps the most skilled composer of the 20th century at setting Gregorian chant, a body of music that he revered; late in life, he railed against its removal from the Catholic liturgy in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. The composer’s original large orchestration sometimes came close to smothering the chorus, kept intentionally soft, but it made for transporting climaxes in the “Domine Jesu Christe” and “Osanna” sections. [Continue reading]
Cathedral Choral Society
Duruflé, Requiem
Saint-Saëns, Symphony No. 3
Washington National Cathedral

22.10.12

Great Noise Ensemble at the Atlas

Kicking off their residency at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Friday, Washington’s homegrown Great Noise Ensemble delivered an engaging performance that included two world premieres. Though David Vickerman conducted for the evening, the concert bore the mark of Armando Bayolo, who in addition to being one of the premiered composers, is the founding music director of the Great Noise Ensemble and the new curator of new music programming at the Atlas.

The program began with These Inflected Tentacles, a quartet by Jonathan Newman (b. 1972) for marimba, piano, violin, and cello, in its first complete performance. Each of the piece’s four movements was titled with a decontextualized quotation from Charles Darwin’s Insectivorous Plants, in which the scientist luridly recounted his experiments on meat-eating flora. The music seemed too breezy and lighthearted for having supposedly been inspired by descriptions of “experimentation ranging from the curious to the cruel,” as described in Newman’s program note. Since there was really no apparent connection between music and quotes, that was easy to ignore while taking in the piece’s soaring lines and elfishly shifting rhythms. The Great Noise musicians negotiated these adeptly, though at times the performance felt like an effortful mad dash rather than a carefree romp.

Next, a larger ensemble performed John Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony, largely an exercise in moto perpetuo. Its intricately offset rhythms resembled the menacing clangor of machines in a factory, while in other places it more tamely recalled neoclassical, balletic Stravinsky. It would have been interesting to see the choreography that originally went with the piece. Great Noise again ably executed this thorny music, which even when performed correctly, has a sense of barely contained chaos to it. Some of the players, particularly the upper strings seated near the front, were nervous and insecure about their parts, which together with intonation problems, detracted from the performance.


Other Reviews:

Stephen Brookes, Atlas showcases cutting-edge music with ‘Irreverence’ (Washington Post, October 22)
Another premiere wrapped up the program: Sacred Cows, an extravagant song set by Bayolo (b. 1973). Scored for baritone and mezzo-soprano soloists supported by three female backup singers and large ensemble, this unabashedly anti-religious piece was full of the bile often possessed by those who once were militantly religious (as Bayolo admits in his program note) and who have simply reversed the poles of their fundamentalist mindset. To me, both extremes are tiresome, but Bayolo’s cheeky sense of humor made for a piece that was more entertaining than argumentative.

The next new music concert at the Atlas Performing Arts Center will feature the Newspeak Ensemble (November 2, 8 pm).

21.10.12

In Brief: Gala Edition

Here is your regular Sunday selection of links to online audio, online video, and other good things in Blogville and Beyond. (After clicking to an audio or video stream, press the "Play" button to start the broadcast.)

  • Watch the Paavo Järvi conduct the Orchestre de Paris in music by Haydn (Symphony No. 84), Mozart (Piano Concert No. 27, with Menahem Pressler), and Sibelius (Symphony No. 1). [Cité de la Musique]

  • Daniel Barenboim conducts the Berlin Staatskapelle in Bruckner's eighth symphony (the 1890 version, ed. Haas), at London's Royal Festival Hall last April. [France Musique]

  • Simon Rattle conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in Schumann's oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Pianist Daniil Trifonov joins the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, with Nikolaj Znaider conducting, for Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto and Dvořák's seventh symphony. [France Musique]

  • Georg Solti conducts Wagner's Tannhäuser, in a 1960 performance from the Metropolitan Opera, with Hans Hopf, Leonie Rysanek, and Hermann Prey. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Listen to a concert of music by Giacomo Carissimi, performed by the Ensemble Il Canto di Orfeo at the Abbaye de Royaumont last month. [France Musique]

  • Violinist Vilde Frang and pianist Michail Lifits play a recital of Mozart, Brahms, and Prokofiev, at the Kloster Maria Bildhausen. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • From the Opéra National de Bordeaux, Paolo Olmi conducts a performance of Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, featuring Sergei Romanovski, Luciano di Pasquale, and Stéphanie d’Oustrac. [France Musique]

  • Listen to a recital of historical organ music played on the oldest organ in Vienna, from 1642. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Cellist Sol Gabetta joins the Orchestre National de France and guest conductor Marin Alsop for Haydn's first cello concerto, plus music by Barber and Shostakovich, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. [France Musique]

  • Simone Kermes and Sonia Prina join La Sfera Armoniosa for a concert of music by Haydn, Porpora, and Handel at the Internationalen Haydntage 2012. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

  • Hear pianist Nima Sarkechik play a recital of music by Liszt, Debussy, and Geoffroy Drouin in the Orangerie de Bagatelle last month, as part of the Festival Les Solistes des Serres d’Auteuil. [France Musique]

  • Mario del Monaco and Renata Tebaldi lead the cast of a performance of Verdi's Otello, conducted by Herbert von Karajan at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1961. [Österreichischer Rundfunk]

20.10.12

Classical Month in Washington (November)

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Classical Month in Washington is a monthly feature. If there are concerts you would like to see included on our schedule, send your suggestions by e-mail (ionarts at gmail dot com). Happy listening!

November 1, 2012 (Thu)
10 and 11:30 am
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Youth Concert
Wizards and Wands, with Enchantment Theater
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 1, 2012 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven, Missa Solemnis
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 1, 2012 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Midori, violin
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

November 1, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
Joshua Bell (violin) and Sam Haywood (piano)
WPAS
Music Center at Strathmore

November 1, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
Martinez-Urioste-Brey Trio
Music by Beethoven, Arensky, Ravel
Clarice Smith Center

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
10:30 am
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Youth Concert
Wizards and Wands, with Enchantment Theater
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Caroline Calleja, piano
Embassy Series
Embassy of Slovenia

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Puccini, La Bohème
Lyric Opera of Baltimore
Modell Center (Baltimore, Md.)

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Members of National Symphony Orchestra
With Christoph Eschenbach, piano
Music of Beethoven
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
University of Maryland Wind Orchestra
Music by Gabrieli, Adams, Randa
Clarice Smith Center

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Newspeak Ensemble
Atlas Performing Arts Center

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
American Symphony Orchestra
With Leon Botstein, conductor
Music by Brahms, Beethoven
GMU Center for the Arts

November 2, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
With Zuill Bailey, cello
Maryland Hall (Annapolis, Md.)

November 3, 2012 (Sat)
11 am
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Youth Concert
Wizards and Wands, with Enchantment Theater
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 3, 2012 (Sat)
2 pm
Prazak Quartet
Escher String Quartet [FREE]
Library of Congress

November 3, 2012 (Sat)
3 pm
GMU Faculty Recital
Kirkwood Presbyterian Church

November 3, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven, Missa Solemnis
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 3, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
Post-Classical Ensemble: Interpreting Shostakovich
Dumbarton Concerts

November 3, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
With Zuill Bailey, cello
Maryland Hall (Annapolis, Md.)

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
3 pm
Washington Bach Consort
With Elizabeth Futral, soprano
National Presbyterian Church

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
3 pm
Puccini, La Bohème
Lyric Opera of Baltimore
Modell Center (Baltimore, Md.)

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
3 pm
University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra
With Mayron Tsong, piano
Clarice Smith Center

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
4 pm
Lang Lang, piano
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
4 pm
Andrey Baranov, violin
Phillips Collection

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
4 pm
CUA Symphony Orchestra
Music by Nielsen, Vaughan Williams, Beethoven
Sligo Adventist Church (Takoma Park, Md.)

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
4 pm
University Singers, University Chorale, and Women's Chorale
GMU Center for the Arts

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
5:30 pm
Europa Galante
With Fabio Biondi, violin
Music by Corelli, Couperin, C.P.E. Bach, Vivaldi
Shriver Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Post-Classical Ensemble and George Vatchnadze (piano) [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
7 pm
Alessio Bax, piano
Dumbarton Oaks

November 4, 2012 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Ian Swensen (violin) and Kenneth Slowik (harpsichord)
Smithsonian Chamber Music Society
Smithsonian Castle

November 5, 2012 (Mon)
8 pm
TEMPO: Between the Lines [FREE]
Music by Petra Anderson, Margaret Brouwer, Roy Harris
Clarice Smith Center

November 5, 2012 (Mon)
8 pm
Alessio Bax, piano
Dumbarton Oaks

November 6, 2012 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Noontime Cantata: Wir danken dir, Gott, BWV 29 [FREE]
With Andrew Fouts, violin
Washington Bach Consort
Church of the Epiphany

November 7, 2012 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Russell Braun, baritone
Vocal Arts D.C.
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

November 7, 2012 (Wed)
8 pm
Lang Lang and Christoph Eschenbach, pianos
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 8, 2012 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Lang Lang, piano
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 8, 2012 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Aleksey Igudesman (violin) and Hyung-ki Joo (piano)
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

November 8, 2012 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Momenta Quartet [FREE]
Freer Gallery of Art

November 8, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Beethoven, Rouse
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 9, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Great Noise Ensemble
CUA School of Music

November 9, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Lang Lang, piano
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 9, 2012 (Fri)
8:15 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Off the Cuff
Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 (lecture-performance)
Music Center at Strathmore

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
4 pm
Lang Lang: 101 Pianists
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
6 pm
Emerson Quartet
Music by Schumann, Brahms, Shostakovich
National Museum of Natural History

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
7 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Off the Cuff
Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 (lecture-performance)
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Angela Meade, soprano
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Lang Lang, piano
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
David Salness (violin), Evelyn Elsing (cello), and Mayron Tsong (piano) [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
Benjamin Beilman (violin) and Amy Yang (piano)
Candlelight Concert Society
Smith Theater, Howard Community College (Columbia, Md.)

November 10, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
National Philharmonic
With Brian Ganz (piano) and Magdalena Wór (mezzo-soprano)
Music by Prokofiev
Music Center at Strathmore

November 11, 2012 (Sun)
1 pm
UMSO Concerto Competition, Preliminary Round [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

November 11, 2012 (Sun)
3 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Beethoven, Rouse
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 11, 2012 (Sun)
3 pm
UMd Men's and Women's Choruses [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

November 11, 2012 (Sun)
4 pm
Doric String Quartet
Phillips Collection

November 11, 2012 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Michael Lewin, piano [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

November 11, 2012 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Ariel Quartet and Orion Weiss, piano
Pro Musica Hebraica
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

November 12, 2012 (Mon)
5:30 pm
UMd Chamber Music Showcase [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

November 12, 2012 (Mon)
8 pm
Mason Symphonic Band and Percussion Ensemble
GMU Center for the Arts

November 13, 2012 (Tue)
7 pm
UMd Chamber Music Showcase [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

November 13, 2012 (Tue)
8 pm
San Francisco Ballet
Mixed repertory program
Kennedy Center Opera House

November 13, 2012 (Tue)
8 pm
Takács Quartet and Marc-André Hamelin (piano) [FREE]
Library of Congress

November 14, 2012 (Wed)
7:30 pm
San Francisco Ballet
Mixed repertory program
Kennedy Center Opera House

November 14, 2012 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Jennifer Koh, violin
Bach and Beyond, Part 1
Mansion at Strathmore

November 14, 2012 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Jesús Reina (violin) and Edvinas Minkštimas (piano)
Embassy Series
Residence of the European Union Ambassador

November 14, 2012 (Wed)
8 pm
UMd Repertoire Orchestra [FREE]
Music by Schubert, Mahler, Rachmaninoff
Clarice Smith Center

November 15, 2012 (Thu)
1:30 pm
Bach Cantata Series [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

November 15, 2012 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Sergey Khachatryan (violin) and Vasily Petrenko (conductor)
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 4
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 15, 2012 (Thu)
7:30 pm
San Francisco Ballet
Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet
Kennedy Center Opera House

November 15, 2012 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Lehar, The Merry Widow
CUA School of Music

November 15, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Denis Kozhukhin, piano
Music by Dvořák, Brahms
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 15, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
Shanghai Quartet
Music by Schubert, Bartók, Beethoven
Clarice Smith Center

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
7 pm
UMSO Concerto Competition, Final Round [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (piano accompaniment)
Maryland Opera Theater
Clarice Smith Center

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Mozart, Don Giovanni
Peabody Opera
Modell Center (Baltimore, Md.)

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Lehar, The Merry Widow
CUA School of Music

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
San Francisco Ballet
Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet
Kennedy Center Opera House

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Jennifer Casey Cabot (soprano)
With Vera Danchenko-Stern, piano
Embassy of Austria

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Apollon Musagète Quartet [FREE]
Library of Congress

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Vasily Petrenko, conductor (lecture-performance)
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 4
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 16, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Denis Kozhukhin, piano
Music by Dvořák, Brahms
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
1:30 and 7:30 pm
San Francisco Ballet
Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet
Kennedy Center Opera House

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
3 pm
Dmitry Volkov, cello
Baltimore Museum of Art

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Lehar, The Merry Widow
CUA School of Music

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Suspicious Cheese Lords
St. Luke's Episcopal Church (Alexandria, Va.)

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Music by students of Nadia Boulanger
Cantate Chamber Singers
St. Paul's Parish

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Sergey Khachatryan (violin) and Vasily Petrenko (conductor)
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 4
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Denis Kozhukhin, piano
Music by Dvořák, Brahms
Music Center at Strathmore

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
GMU Center for the Arts

November 17, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
Afoot in Vienna
Bowen McCauley Dance
Embassy of Austria

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
1:30 pm
San Francisco Ballet
Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet
Kennedy Center Opera House

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
2 pm
Lehar, The Merry Widow
CUA School of Music

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
2:30 and 4:30 pm
Family Concert and Instrument Petting Zoo
Capital City Symphony
Atlas Performing Arts Center

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
3 pm
Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (piano accompaniment)
Maryland Opera Theater
Clarice Smith Center

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
3 pm
Mozart, Don Giovanni
Peabody Opera
Modell Center (Baltimore, Md.)

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
4 pm
Igor Lovchinsky and Jonathan Coombs, pianos
Phillips Collection

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
5 pm
Washington Chorus
Music by Bernstein
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Washington Saxophone Quartet [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
7 pm
Keyboard Conversation with Jeffrey Siegel
Music of Debussy (with lecture)
GMU Center for the Arts

November 18, 2012 (Sun)
7:30 pm
UMd Chamber Singers and University Chorale
Music by Poulenc, Duruflé, Messiaen
Clarice Smith Center

November 19, 2012 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (piano accompaniment)
Maryland Opera Theater
Clarice Smith Center

November 19, 2012 (Mon)
7:30 pm
American Opera Initiative
Washington National Opera
Three new 20-minute operas
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

November 19, 2012 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Hugues Leclere, piano
Music by Debussy, new music by French composers
CUA School of Music

November 19, 2012 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Sally McLain (violin) and Lisa Emenheiser (piano)
Christ Lutheran Church

November 20, 2012 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Daniel Serafin (baritone) and Jasna Popovic (piano)
Music by persecuted composers
Embassy of Austria

November 20, 2012 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (piano accompaniment)
Maryland Opera Theater
Clarice Smith Center

November 24, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
A Chanticleer Christmas
GMU Center for the Arts

November 24, 2012 (Sat)
8 pm
Philadelphia Brass Quintet and Paul Salerni, composer
Candlelight Concert Society
Smith Theater, Howard Community College (Columbia, Md.)

November 25, 2012 (Sun)
4 pm
Anna Han, piano
Phillips Collection

November 25, 2012 (Sun)
6:30 pm
NGA Orchestra [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

November 26, 2012 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Composition Division Recital
New student compositions
CUA School of Music

November 27, 2012 (Tue)
6 pm
National Symphony Orchestra [FREE]
With William Neil, organ
KC Concert Hall Organ Debut
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 27, 2012 (Tue)
8 pm
Piotr Anderszewski, piano
Tuesday Evening Concert Series
Cabell Hall (Charlottesville, Va.)

November 28, 2012 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Anonymous 4
New work by David Lang
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

November 29, 2012 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Jonathan Biss, piano
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 29, 2012 (Thu)
7 pm
The Nutcracker (through December 23)
Washington Ballet
Warner Theater

November 29, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
La Risonanza [FREE]
Library of Congress

November 29, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater

November 29, 2012 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Mario Venzago (conductor) and Sol Gabetta (cello)
Music by Liszt, Elgar, Franck
Music Center at Strathmore

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
7:30 pm
CUA Women's Chorus
St. Vincent de Paul Chapel, CUA

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Jonathan Biss, piano
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Mario Venzago (conductor) and Sol Gabetta (cello)
Music by Liszt, Elgar, Franck
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Sō Percussion
Atlas Performing Arts Center

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Strauss, Die Fledermaus
Virginia Opera
GMU Center for the Arts

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
8 pm
Menotti, Amahl and the Night Visitors
Mason Opera
GMU Center for the Arts

November 30, 2012 (Fri)
9:30 pm
Acme and yMusic [FREE]
Library of Congress