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Berlioz

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ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 2008 | By Peter Dobrin INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
A friend and I were having our usual Berlioz argument. His charges involved something about bizarre orchestrations; a strange sense of musical form; and melodies that drifted off, incomplete, into nothingness. I was still waiting for him to get to the bad part. The friend then spat out something about the composer being a crack addict, though here I felt compelled to defend my poor, maligned Berlioz and was glad to have scholarship on my side. It was opium, not cocaine.
NEWS
May 8, 1987 | By TOM DI NARDO, Daily News Classical Music Writer
The concert season's red-hot, and tonight's a scorcher. Soprano Jessye Norman is the guest artist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy today at 2 and tomorrow at 8:30, and Riccardo Muti is back from La Scala to conduct the all-Berlioz program. The lush song cycle "Les Nuits d'Ete" ("Summer Nights") is a ravishing work, and Miss Norman's warmth and fabulous voice is the ideal interpreter of the Gautier love poems. Muti will also conduct the sparkling overture from "The Corsair" and the rare "Grand symphonie funebre et triomphale," originally written for large military band but adapted later for strings and final chorus (The Choral Arts Society will sing this weekend)
ENTERTAINMENT
July 20, 1994 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Berlioz drops his orchestral mask of grandeur in Les Nuits d'Ete (Summer Nights) to write instrumental music of uncommon delicacy, a masterful accompaniment to a vocal line. It is powerful because it is so delicate. The instruments' fragile qualities enable the dark intimacies of the songs themselves to lead us. Frederica von Stade was the Philadelphia Orchestra's splendid partner in this orchestral song cycle Monday at the Mann Music Center. The mezzo- soprano's instrument and intelligence communicated youth and maturity, ease and depth.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 24, 1986 | By TOM DI NARDO, Daily News Classical Music Writer
Hector Berlioz' "Romeo et Juliette" is a dramatic symphony, neither opera nor cantata, with soloists as narrators, the chorus as participants and the orchestra exploding with passion. The work, which was first performed in 1839 (only 15 years after the first symphony with chorus, Beethoven's Ninth), has Wagner-like supreme orchestral moments between the singing. The famous sections are the Love Scene (Berlioz' favorite of all his music) and the mercurial Queen Mab scherzo, elfin music both whispered and swirling.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 23, 1990 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The Philadelphia Orchestra gathered around its table last night four musical titans who would have fumed and grumbled at their placement. Riccardo Muti had placed Cherubini, Berlioz, Wagner and Scriabin at that table in a program that exulted in the complex relationships the composers shared either in reality or in philosophy. What an extraordinary assemblage of musical ideas! In Paris, Berlioz could not stand Cherubini, his nemesis at the Conservatoire, and Cherubini could not understand Berlioz' music.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 18, 2010
"Orphee et Eurydice," Gluck's 1762 landmark opera, is famous for its imaginative scoring and the use of the chorus as a protagonist. He revised it from Italian into French 12 years later, and Berlioz combined and expanded both versions into a rare 1857 rescoring. Opera Company of Philadelphia director Robert Driver and conductor Corrado Rovaris chose the expanded Berlioz version for their season finale, with sets by Philippe Amand . Orphee will be sung by favorite mezzo Ruxandra Donose , with soprano Maureen McKay as his beloved Eurydice.
NEWS
May 30, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The strings bloom early in The Damnation of Faust - in the title character's opening idyll. The tenor part is lovely. But this is Berlioz, this is about the orchestra. Charles Dutoit, whatever frustrations he has expressed off the podium, has led the Philadelphia Orchestra through its most perilous period so far with absolute artistic equanimity. Few other conductors could have presided over Berlioz's multifaceted "dramatic legend in four parts" with as much authority and elegance.
NEWS
July 11, 2011
The opening of this week's Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was available in radio broadcasts for those of us unable to get there. And though the audio-only aspect of radio is far from the experience of being there, microphones don't lie in live broadcasts. Charles Dutoit stepped in for the indisposed James Levine with a modified grab-bag program that included repertoire as far flung as Respighi's tone poem The Pines of Rome , and, more significantly, Act I of Bellini's Norma , starring Academy of Vocal Arts graduate Angela Meade.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 10, 1989 | By Tom Di Nardo, Daily News Classical Music Writer
Charles Dutoit, who will assume the music directorship of the Mann Music Center next year, makes his only summer appearance with the Philadelphia Orchestra tonight at 8. The Swiss-born conductor of the Montreal Symphony will lead two unusual choices for a summer concert: the subtle but aptly chosen "Les Nuits d'Ete" ("Summer Nights") by Berlioz, and Mahler's heavy, brooding Fifth Symphony. Soprano June Anderson will be the soloist in the gorgeous Berlioz set of six ravishing songs.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 26, 1994 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Wolfgang Sawallisch - a man so prompt that if he expects you to phone at a certain minute and you do so, he greets you by name before you've spoken - is learning the hard way about Latin time. Like most of his Mexican interviews last week, his meeting with the Brazilian media yesterday morning started 15 minutes later than planned. And though he kept his courtesy and wit about him, the maestro was not pleased. Monday, the orchestra and staff converged at the Mexico City airport to head to Brazil on the next leg of its Latin American tour, with a few days off before the next performance.
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TRAVEL
October 23, 2011
Connecticut. Hogwarts Weekend in Branford, Oct. 29-30, evokes the magic of Harry Potter with visits to Ollivander's Wand Shop, classes with Hogwarts professors, and a night of magical mayhem at the Patrons, Potions, and Provisions Gala. $25 per person on Saturday; $125 per person for the gala. 203-488-1441; www.blackstonehalloween.org . Maine. Symphony Spooktacular in Portland, Oct. 30, 2:30 p.m., plays Halloween-themed orchestra music, such as Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, and Russell Peck's The Chill of the Orchestra, under conductor Robert Moody.
NEWS
September 4, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
BERLIN - Is the continent big enough for both of them? The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, on overlapping tours of European festivals, crossed paths (almost) at the Dresdner Musikfestpiele, the former performing Friday, the latter arriving Saturday. And it was not for the first time: In the Zurich airport roughly a week ago, the Philadelphians were lined up to leave as the Chicagoans were arriving - on the same chartered plane. Looking over the two tours, one cannot help asking who got what.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 1, 2011
"Whatever financial woes the cash-strapped Philadelphia Orchestra might be having at home, they gave a super performance . . . that glittered and sparkled from beginning to end. . . . This phenomenal orchestra produces a well-balanced sound, seemingly effortlessly. " - Susan Nickalls, Edinburgh Daily News, Aug. 31 " . . . in Lucerne, one could hear precisely which areas Dutoit had worked on with the orchestra and which he had not. . . . Piano Concerto No. 2]
NEWS
August 28, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
LUCERNE, Switzerland - Though ducking an earthquake and a hurricane back home, the Philadelphia Orchestra faced 103-degree heat Friday in Vienna, Austria, then touched down in Switzerland on Saturday only hours after a late-summer blizzard whitened the mountains outside this postcard-perfect city. Yet no distractions kept the ensemble from eliciting unreservedly raucous cheers from the packed hall at the orchestrally rich Lucerne Festival - partly because chief conductor Charles Dutoit had the bells of his dreams.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 25, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
LUCERNE, Switzerland - This is one Philadelphia Orchestra tour that nobody - not the rank-and-file musicians, not the guest soloists, and certainly not the festivals presenting them - is taking for granted, particularly in this picture-postcard city inhabited by the musical gods. The long-planned 13-concert sweep through Europe's most prestigious festivals begins Thursday with the Grafenegg Music Festival outside Vienna, Austria, and ends Sept. 9 in Paris. While the tour was never said to have been in significant danger, everything has been open to question since the orchestra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.
NEWS
July 11, 2011
The opening of this week's Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra was available in radio broadcasts for those of us unable to get there. And though the audio-only aspect of radio is far from the experience of being there, microphones don't lie in live broadcasts. Charles Dutoit stepped in for the indisposed James Levine with a modified grab-bag program that included repertoire as far flung as Respighi's tone poem The Pines of Rome , and, more significantly, Act I of Bellini's Norma , starring Academy of Vocal Arts graduate Angela Meade.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 2, 2011 | By Sam Adams, For The Inquirer
There are two standards for judging Beatles covers. Does the new version do justice to the original? Or does it surpass it, or at least expand the way we hear the root version by extending it into uncharted territory? At the Mann Center on Thursday night, the Philadelphia Orchestra, along with a host of musical guests, passed the first test with aplomb. The second, far loftier mark, they passed only rarely, but then that's a standard that few in the history of recorded music have managed to meet.
NEWS
May 30, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
The strings bloom early in The Damnation of Faust - in the title character's opening idyll. The tenor part is lovely. But this is Berlioz, this is about the orchestra. Charles Dutoit, whatever frustrations he has expressed off the podium, has led the Philadelphia Orchestra through its most perilous period so far with absolute artistic equanimity. Few other conductors could have presided over Berlioz's multifaceted "dramatic legend in four parts" with as much authority and elegance.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 18, 2010
"Orphee et Eurydice," Gluck's 1762 landmark opera, is famous for its imaginative scoring and the use of the chorus as a protagonist. He revised it from Italian into French 12 years later, and Berlioz combined and expanded both versions into a rare 1857 rescoring. Opera Company of Philadelphia director Robert Driver and conductor Corrado Rovaris chose the expanded Berlioz version for their season finale, with sets by Philippe Amand . Orphee will be sung by favorite mezzo Ruxandra Donose , with soprano Maureen McKay as his beloved Eurydice.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 25, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Three of the Big Five orchestras are launching seasons with Berlioz: Alan Gilbert started his New York Philharmonic tenure with the Symphonie Fantastique; the Boston Symphony Orchestra begins its Carnegie Hall series with the Roman Carnival Overture. But only the in-distress Philadelphia Orchestra is playing the intoxicating, rarely heard Te Deum, abetted by the Philadelphia Singers Chorale in repertoire they do best; the grand, newish, ultra-versatile Fred J. Cooper organ; and the sure interpretive hand of chief conductor Charles Dutoit.
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