April 27, 2014 |
'Good girl, bad girl," explained mezzo-soprano Susan Graham when she arrived on the Perelman Theater stage for the second half of her recital. At first, her hair was up and the gown was an off-white dress. Second half, hair was down, the gown off-black and slinky. In effect, Graham's rescheduled recital on Thursday, presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, had many of the add-ons that many recitals lack - glamour, humor, repertoire that was high art (and not so high), plus playful audience dialogue.
December 20, 2013 |
Maybe the red dress made the difference. In her U.S. recital debut Tuesday at the Perelman Theater, soprano Ailyn Perez was in somewhat uncertain form, seeming to fall into the trap of thinking more about the sound of her voice than about what she was saying with it. Even the best singers do that, but you hear it more with Perez because she typically establishes such a personal relationship with her audience. Most such moments were in the first half of a mixed program of opera arias, art songs, and, as encores, pop standards.
October 23, 2013 |
Composer Ned Rorem has always seemed to exist in his own well-furnished sphere, writing music regardless of current fashion, saying exactly what he thinks (right as he's thinking it), and striking stances that are effortlessly provocative and contrary. He may even give you an argument about his 90th birthday Wednesday. " Other people turn 90," said the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rorem, who will be celebrated at a tribute concert Wednesday at the Curtis Institute, where he was on the faculty until recent years.
March 8, 2013 |
Stephanie Blythe has always been an enterprising recitalist, and her ascendance into Wagneriana at the Metropolitan Opera hasn't changed that a bit. Hearing her huge voice in the Kimmel Center's smallish Perelman Theater on Tuesday was a unique thrill. In earlier recitals presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, she had brought Eileen Farrell's seamlessness and Marilyn Horne's depth of tone; now her own voice is one future singers will be measured against, in part because she does such unexpected things with it. Like talking.
March 1, 2012 |
At the Metropolitan Opera, Eric Owens has the voice of an angry Wagnerian - namely, evil Alberich in Wagner's "Ring" cycle - though back home in a Tuesday recital presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, his soul belonged to smaller, subtler art songs, as it has so often over the years. The program contained some of Owens' repertoire standbys - Hugo Wolf's darker-than-dark Michelangelo Lieder and Maurice Ravel's crowd-pleasing Don Quichotte à Dulcinée - which he has sung under circumstances so low-profile as to not be worth the considerable preparation.
March 17, 2008 |
There are two sides to Dianne Reeves: the slickly produced pop-fusion that critics keep at arm's length, and the uncluttered combo jazz of her most recent recordings, A Little Moonlight (2003) and the soundtrack to Good Night, and Good Luck (2005). These days, in live settings, the Grammy-winning vocalist has found a way to unite the two - call them Anita Baker and Sarah Vaughan - by hiring young jazz players who can swing, groove, and everything in between. At Zellerbach Theatre in the Annenberg Center on Saturday, she led an impeccable four-piece band and offered a taste of her forthcoming album, When You Know.
April 18, 2005 |
In this month of starry collaborations in Philadelphia, we've seen how such events can be like airplanes refueling in mid-flight: Fun to witness but too temporary to achieve substantial artistic fusion. In contrast to the Martha Argerich/Nelson Freire concert or the Steven Isserlis/Stephen Hough recital, singers Dame Felicity Lott and Angelika Kirchschlager arrived at the Kimmel Center Friday night courtesy of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, with an intricate recital of 34 German art songs titled "Women's Lives and Loves: Frauenliebe und Leben x 2. " It was far more than a balance of egos and stage time.
March 11, 2005 |
Rare is the compact disc cover that draws you to a recording like the classic album art of years past. But there's something alluring about the distressed-looking 5-by-5 1/2-inch Digipak cover to the eponymous debut from A Girl Called Eddy, the nom de pop of Jersey Shore native and former Philly resident Erin Moran. We see an out-of-focus city skyline in the background, and the worn impression of a slab of vinyl encircling a side-profile shot of Moran, whose raven hair and parka obscure her sympathetic visage.
February 1, 2003 |
The ultimate test of what constitutes a Philadelphia Orchestra concert was heard in Week Three of the Schumann Festival last night at the Kimmel Center. The full orchestra was on hand only for Schumann's 20-minute Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Op. 52. There was no orchestra at all in the first and more substantial half of the concert, only music director Wolfgang Sawallisch on piano and baritone Thomas Hampson singing a collection of art songs by both Schumanns (Robert and his wife, Clara, who sometimes composed)
August 6, 2002 |
Of all the myths surrounding the rock-and-roll creative process, the one that least applies to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' acclaimed By the Way comes under the heading "divine inspiration. " "I'm sure people in bands have experienced some kind of superhuman burst of songwriting," guitarist John Frusciante said last month, as he sat in a candlelit trailer on Ellis Island, where the Chili Peppers performed at a concert for families and businesses affected by the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack.