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NEWS
November 7, 1990
If Philadelphia's cultural institutions are forever troubled, they also seem to be forever resilient. This thought occurred to us Monday night in the midst of the Opera Company of Philadelphia's delightful production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. The sets were beautiful, the performers seemed to be having a ball up on the stage, and the audience filling the Academy of Music - from the students in highest balconies to the black-tie set in the parquet - was having a wonderful time.
NEWS
September 25, 1998 | by Tom Di Nardo, Daily News Classical Music Writer
I got rhythm I got music I got Ira Who could ask for anything more? Those simple, slightly amended phrases are a signature of George Gershwin's remarkable life. Between his birth - 100 years ago tomorrow - and his death from a brain tumor at 38, he left an astounding musical legacy. Reams have been written about how he would have transformed American music even further if he had lived as long (until 86) as his lyricist brother Ira, but we must be content with a mere six "classical" pieces, the grand opera "Porgy and Bess," and hundreds of beloved songs, mostly from shows and films.
NEWS
January 21, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Before the dawn, in a barely civilized netherworld where animals and humans change into one another, Wolf-in-Skins begins. The new theater piece, opening Friday at Temple University's Conwell Dance Theater, revives ancient legends in a modern hybrid of dance and opera. Violent witchery is a frequent plot point. Characters' names have the barbaric, guttural sound of old Welsh. "Grotesque monstrosities juxtaposed with the pure and holy" is how choreographer Christopher Williams describes his fascination with the mythology that drew him to create the first installment of what is projected to become a six-part saga.
NEWS
May 6, 1994 | For The Inquirer / JOAN FAIRMAN KANES
Grand opera in elementary school? Well, it was opera, of sorts, and it was grand, definitely. Fourth graders - including (from left) Erin Hogan, Kalya Soldatenko and Rachel Pederson - at Ardmore Avenue Elementary in Lansdowne (with help from their teachers) wrote and produced an opera titled "6 Kids With an Attitude," then performed it this week. The school was selected by the Metropolitan Opera Guild Education Department to participate in the Creating Original Opera Program.
NEWS
December 15, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Grand opera and Parisian society mirrored each other in the middle of the 19th century. Opulence, extravagance, excess were the emblems of the age. Parisians in styles reflecting those emblems flocked to hear opera performed on the same scale. Composers created what the listeners expected, including a ballet in each grand opera about two hours after the opening curtain, to allow the truly social elite to arrive late and still see the dance. They created operas on a huge scale - William Tell, La Vestale, Le Prophete, Don Carlos - to deal with panoramic subjects.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 20, 1992 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Carmen, the siren last seen at the Pennsylvania Opera Theater a season ago, will slink back into town to open the Opera Company of Philadelphia's new season at the Academy of Music on Nov. 9. At the Opera Company, insiders say that they are excited about Denyce Graves, the mezzo-soprano who'll play the seductress. Graves, who has been impressing audiences in Washington and San Francisco, sings Carmen to the Don Jose of Vinson Cole, a tenor whose singing has frequently been admired here.
NEWS
November 16, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The mysteries of the creative process don't necessarily become clearer with age. In fact, the more composer Margaret Garwood talks about her multi-decade road to this week's premiere of her latest opera, The Scarlet Letter , the more she seems like a somewhat hesitant servant of an impractically grand stage work that chose her. "I assure you, this is my last one. You'd be crazy to start a new opera at 83, don't you think?" the compact, stylish Garwood said before a rehearsal at the Academy of Vocal Arts - itself not a typical place for new operas to be born.
NEWS
November 1, 1989 | By William B. Collins, Inquirer Theater Critic
The first 15 minutes of The Lisbon Traviata sound like six months of Opera News. References are made to Montserrat Caballe, Beverly Sills, Brigitte Nielsen, Renata Tebaldi, Dame Janet Baker, Eleanor Steber, Christa Ludwig, Renata Scotto, Jessye Norman and other illustrious divas. There is a purpose in bringing them up. They are cited only to compare them invidiously with Maria Callas - La Divina! - whose cult in death rivals Judy Garland's. Nobody in grand opera, but nobody, measures up to the all-time standard set by the driven, doomed Callas.
LIVING
September 30, 1999 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
A Californian who has headed Stuttgart Opera for the last decade has been named to the top post of the San Francisco Opera, it was announced Tuesday. Pamela Rosenberg will succeed general director Lotfi Mansouri, who steps down in July 2000 after 12 years running the prestigious house. Rosenberg will take over a 77-year-old company that produces 11 annual productions, on a combined operating budget of $50 million. Its reputation for grand opera - and for adventurous premieres - puts it in the forefront of U.S. houses.
NEWS
September 16, 1993 | By Cheryl Squadrito, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
When tenor Walter Rinaldi bursts into song, heads turn, walls shake, and, most important to him, people smile. Most people know Rinaldi as the Towne House's singing maitre d', who serenades the diners with an a cappella song or two. But few probably know of Rinaldi's operatic accomplishments since he arrived in the United States on Christmas Eve, 1969, from Isorella, Italy - population 1,800. Rinaldi has performed on opera stages in New York City, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Milan and Rome, and twice this summer at Rose Tree Park in Media.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 2013 | By Nick Cristiano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Like Elvis, Paul Thorn grew up in Tupelo, Miss. In fact, he still lives there. And as he tells it, this most entertaining of roots-rockers and the King of Rock and Roll have at least one other thing in common: Both drew from the musical traditions of black and white churches. "My dad being a Pentecostal minister, we went to both churches, because we were open to everybody," Thorn, 49, says from Beaumont, Texas. "The thing that I got from the church experience is the same Elvis did: When he'd go to black churches he'd sing with a rhythm-and-blues style of gospel, and when you'd go across town to the white churches, they'd sing more of country-western style.
NEWS
January 21, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Before the dawn, in a barely civilized netherworld where animals and humans change into one another, Wolf-in-Skins begins. The new theater piece, opening Friday at Temple University's Conwell Dance Theater, revives ancient legends in a modern hybrid of dance and opera. Violent witchery is a frequent plot point. Characters' names have the barbaric, guttural sound of old Welsh. "Grotesque monstrosities juxtaposed with the pure and holy" is how choreographer Christopher Williams describes his fascination with the mythology that drew him to create the first installment of what is projected to become a six-part saga.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 24, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Composers in residence aren't uncommon in symphony orchestras or unknown in opera companies. Yet the shape and form of a two-composer-in-residence program being announced Thursday by the Opera Company of Philadelphia has enough working parts to be what general director David B. Devan calls a "landmark investment in the future of opera. " "For opera to remain vital we need to have a contemporary voice and contemporary sensibility that we, as living people, can connect with as our own," said Devan.
NEWS
November 16, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The mysteries of the creative process don't necessarily become clearer with age. In fact, the more composer Margaret Garwood talks about her multi-decade road to this week's premiere of her latest opera, The Scarlet Letter , the more she seems like a somewhat hesitant servant of an impractically grand stage work that chose her. "I assure you, this is my last one. You'd be crazy to start a new opera at 83, don't you think?" the compact, stylish Garwood said before a rehearsal at the Academy of Vocal Arts - itself not a typical place for new operas to be born.
NEWS
September 15, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The irreverent old nickname for this sleepy Victorian-era camp-meeting site - Ocean Grave - was anything but true Saturday. Lines of people snaked around the Great Auditorium for Destination: Opera, a weekend festival that could change the complexion of this area of the Jersey Shore. Inside the vast, buzzing auditorium, a TV light-and-camera crew that spends cold-weather months at the Metropolitan Opera was preparing to shoot a high-def video of the Verdi Requiem performed by the resurrected New Jersey State Opera, an organization that's been battling uphill for so long that one board member looked at the near-full main floor and inquired, "These are paid admissions?"
NEWS
February 12, 2008 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The odds - and some vehement bloggers - were against the success of Cyrano, the new operatic version of Edmund Rostand's play given its East Coast premiere Friday by Opera Company of Philadelphia. The story of the poetic but unattractive musketeer who ghostwrites letters to the woman he secretly loves has never been out of favor, though Franco Alfano's opera has tired out the franchise a bit. This latest version is by David DiChiera, who is a veteran Detroit impresario, not an established composer; also, he enlisted an orchestrator - standard practice on Broadway but Strike One in opera.
NEWS
September 13, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Operatic world premieres are times of anxious desperation. All the best-planned workshops, rehearsals and carefully chosen collaborators won't assure that anything so monstrous as a newly born grand opera will arrive in optimum condition. Such is the case with Margaret Garner, the Richard Danielpour/Toni Morrison saga of an escaped Kentucky slave in pre-Civil War America that was co-commissioned by Opera Company of Philadelphia. Eighteen months after its local premiere at the Academy of Music, what might be called the 2.0 version is receiving its own cheers, rightly so, in a less handsome but more intelligent production that opened Monday at the New York City Opera, stage directed by Tazewell Thompson with singers familiar to Philadelphia but not to this opera.
NEWS
April 3, 2006 | By Froma Harrop
The mystery of the nightclub slobs may have been solved. It was a Saturday night at New York's fabled Algonquin Hotel. People were entering the Oak Room for a cabaret performance in the intimate space where smart cosmopolitans had gathered over the decades. When Cole Porter walked the Earth, the assemblage would have sparkled in evening wear. We don't expect that level of formality anymore. There was one stunning creature - an 80ish woman, whose neck was wrapped in pearls or a good facsimile.
NEWS
May 3, 2005 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The Opera Company of Philadelphia's biggest challenge of the season wasn't anything so grand as A?da, but Johann Strauss' featherweight Die Fledermaus, if only because of its many variables. Will the language be German, English or a mixture? Is the leading character tenor or baritone? What version of dialogue (there are many) and how many topical references will be used? Grand opera can often communicate from behind a glass case of convention, but Fledermaus requires the more interventionist spirit of a Broadway revival, which means the cast has to personalize the material with the kind of decisions opera companies aren't always good at making.
NEWS
January 11, 2002 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
ROMEO CASCARINO, a Philadelphia-born composer, died Monday after a long illness. He was 79 and lived in Norristown. Cascarino's career included composing, teaching, performing, conducting, orchestrating and arranging. He received two Guggenheim Fellowships in composition, the Benjamin Award for Tranquil Music and the Orpheus Award. He held an honorary doctorate from Combs College of Music, where he was head of the composition department until his retirement in 1990. The composer worked for more than 20 years on his grand opera, "William Penn," a three-act, five-scene work whose final act celebrated the Indian treaty and founding of Philadelphia.
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