July 23, 1999 |
To the surprise of the audience and Philadelphia Orchestra players alike, conductor Charles Dutoit announced his retirement as Mann music director last night. After intermission, just before a performance of Orff's "Carmina Burana," the elegant Swiss-born maestro stepped to a microphone, noting it was the last Mann concert of the season and of the century. "I made my debut her 20 years ago," Dutoit said, "and conducting this orchestra was like driving a Rolls-Royce, and I had never driven a Rolls-Royce before.
July 17, 1999 |
Authors know it can take pages and pages of sentences before they discover the story they are writing. Musicians, too, can be well into a performance before they find their interpretative voice. Leonidas Kavakos' offering of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major brought this to mind on Thursday night. Stock-still and solemn as a ghost, the violinist stood in front of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. He was so still only his bow arm appeared to move.
July 25, 1991 |
There was a day when a performance of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps in the summer season was a feat of daring talked about for months afterward. Time, the rising tide of virtuosity and the march of musical styles have overtaken that attitude to the point that probably no one gasped when the Philadelphia Orchestra played the work last night at the Mann Music Center. A few gasps might have been in order at the polish of its presentation. Charles Dutoit, in his fifth concert with the orchestra, had programmed a test of orchestral stamina.
July 18, 1991 |
Charles Dutoit made some musical history last night by conducting the first local performance of Leos Janacek's Glagolitic Mass. The performance was the first of two choral evenings at the Mann Music Center in which Dutoit's splendid Montreal Symphony Chorus will have performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Janacek music, written in 1926, has long been considered a 20th century monument, but the language (Slavonic) deters choruses and the need for a superior organ has been cited as a reason the work has not been heard at the Academy of Music.
July 16, 1991 |
She was soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the first appearance of artistic director Charles Dutoit at this series. By choosing night as her theme, she was able to choose an aria from Bellini's La Sonnambula, Nanetta's second act aria from Verdi's Falstaff, and songs by Rachmaninov, Bachelet and Schubert. While singers take a bit to warm to the music, Battle sang her best in her opening aria, Bellini's "Ah, non credea mirarti . . . " The extended scene (the opera's climax)
April 3, 1994 |
Pianist Martha Argerich will close the Philadelphia Orchestra's season at the Mann Music Center on July 28. The acclaimed artist will also appear with the orchestra on Aug. 6 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Upstate New York. This will be her first appearance at the orchestra's summer home. "We're all pretty excited about it," Helen Martin, executive director of the Mann, said. Martin said the concert was officially announced in the center's six-concert series brochure, which has been mailed to subscribers.
July 17, 1990 |
A larger than usual crowd appeared at the Mann Music Center last night, likely to hear Andre Watts play the Emperor Concerto. Or maybe most were not there for the last of Beethoven's concertos but merely to see and hear the distinguished pianist. If for that, then maybe they were not disappointed by the fits and starts, and occasionally heroic but as often slipshod performance of Beethoven that prevailed. It is probable that last night's none-too-successful interpretative ideas - including an eccentrically elasticized adagio and willfully chameleon finale - emanated from Watts.
July 31, 1990 |
Summer madness? Pure bravura? What else could have led Charles Dutoit to program those big, difficult, dense and unfamiliar works to open the final week of the Philadelphia Orchestra's season at the Mann Music Center? His program last night included Karol Szymanowski's Symphonie Concertante and Scriabin's Symphony No. 4, "Poem of ecstasy," both in first readings in the summer series, and more familiar pieces by Strauss and Liszt. Such daring is welcome in any weather, and if the performances were sometimes marked with wide-eyed desperation, the result was a concert memorable for the freshness of its sonorities and its material.
June 26, 1990 |
Charles Dutoit took the podium last night to begin his tenure as music director of the Mann Music Center, but his influence had already been heard. Although he was not joining the Philadelphia Orchestra until the second week of its summer season, his program choices had been heard in the first week, when Hugh Wolff conducted. Dutoit, Swiss-born music director of the Montreal Symphony, has bent his attention to programs, striving for coherence and that elusive balance between the familiar and the novel.
November 9, 1990 |
Charles Dutoit, the Philadelphia Orchestra's summer music director, returned to the Academy of Music last night to begin his winter guest engagements. His program opened boldly with Edgard Varese's Arcana, which Leopold Stokowski and this orchestra introduced to the world 63 years ago, and which, given a few more performances, has the makings of a signature piece for the Philadelphians with Dutoit. The world still doesn't know Arcana well, which is likely one reason it still makes such a dazzling impression; another is its catapulting energy despite its considerable metallic and percussive weight.