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.
September 4, 2011 |
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.
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]
August 28, 2011 |
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.
August 25, 2011 |
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.
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.
July 2, 2011 |
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.
May 30, 2011 |
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.
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.
September 25, 2009 |
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.