January 23, 2014 |
No matter how much conductor Claudio Abbado was idolized as the grand old man of the orchestral world, no matter how deep his performances of Bruckner symphonies before his death Monday at 80, he maintained an elegant, sometimes opaque, veneer. After a long Bruckner symphony, Abbado was seen on camera, assiduously composing himself and assuming his public face before taking an aristocratic bow. The public wouldn't guess what it took to do what he did. In recent years, those bows often included buckets of flower petals tossed on him and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra by audiences that couldn't stop expressing affection for what he had wrought.
December 15, 2012
Lisa Della Casa, 93, who swept up crowds at opera houses of the last century with an elegant and radiant style that established her as one of the finest sopranos of her generation, died Monday in the northern Swiss town of Muensterlingen. After more than 400 performances at the Vienna State Opera, where her interpretations of many great roles, particularly those from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss, won her wide acclaim and appreciation, Ms. Della Casa left the opera world in 1974, apparently weary of the music business.
November 10, 2012 |
Opinions can be confoundingly divided between those who hear Metropolitan Opera performances at Lincoln Center and audiences at the high-def movie-theater simulcasts. Obviously, cameras rightly favor the singers over the sometimes questionable productions around them. But in the case of The Tempest , which will be beamed to six area movie theaters Saturday, the division may well be a question of urban tastes vs. others'. Or how many fools you're willing to suffer. The opera in question, which premiered in London in 2004, was created by Thomas Adès, who has been compared in stature to the great Benjamin Britten, often deservedly so. That's a lot of artistic equity, particularly in New York, where foreign composers can still be favored over domestic ones.
December 1, 2011 |
Rob LaScala, whose flagship restaurant is the casual, family-friendly LaScala's at Seventh and Chestnut Streets, is launching side-by-side Italian concepts a few blocks away. Earlier this year, he bought the adjoining Old City restau-clubs Paradigm and Dolce. The Paradigm side has opened as Rocchino's (239 Chestnut St., 215-238-6900), a smart-looking spot, named after his mother's side of the family, with brick walls, a curved bar with moderately priced beers and wines, booths and table seating, and a mammoth, colorfully tiled coal-fired oven that fires up pizzas, pastas, and the like; it's billed as a rustic small-plater, but portions, especially pastas, are decent.
October 31, 2011 |
Leonard Louis Lavender, the opera cabbie of the Main Line, wants to demonstrate how he got his idea of "service with a show," so he ushers me into the backseat. There's more legroom there, and it's the spot where his mystery passenger had ridden six years earlier. "I was to pick the client up at 4:30 in the morning at the Conshohocken Marriott," he says. "She had to go to the airport. " He nudges a CD into the dashboard player, and the music begins softly: a soulful Italian accordion, a bed of strings, a harp, then the unmistakable tenor of Luciano Pavarotti.
October 6, 2011 |
Julian Rodescu, 58, who parlayed a busy vocal career and a deep love of music into a day job helping young musicians reach the next career level, died Saturday. A large man with a tender heart and gentle mien, Mr. Rodescu was a familiar sight around Broad and Locust Streets, where he would often settle in with a cell phone to conduct business as artistic director of Astral Artists, an organization providing professional development for promising classical talent. He had assisted the two-decade-old group in its early days, and assumed the role of artistic director in 2009.
September 6, 2011
Salvatore Licitra, 43, a tenor known in his Italian homeland as the "new Pavarotti" for his potent voice and considerable stamina, died Monday after spending nine days in a coma following a motorscooter accident in Sicily. Catania's Garibaldi Hospital, announcing the death, said he never regained consciousness after sustaining severe head and chest injuries in the Aug. 27 accident. The hospital said Mr. Licitra's family agreed to make his organs available for transplant. "His passing in the fullness of his career hurts," the La Scala opera house wrote in its announcement of the death.
April 30, 2010 |
If there's a gift to be had from the Metropolitan Opera's wildly checkered season, it's the lack of consensus on any given event. Operagoers don't know whom to believe anymore - they have to believe themselves. So even though Rossini's Armida was limp on every front when heard on April 19 in the opera house, the HD cameras might well work some sort of wizardry for the finale of the Met's movie-theater simulcasts at 1 p.m. Saturday in seven area locations. The production might have been the ultimate star vehicle for Renee Fleming, 51, if her voice still suited the music.
March 26, 2009 |
When Stuart Neill's name flashed across movie theater screens worldwide during a December global simulcast from the opening night of La Scala opera house in Milan, those who had heard him over 15 years in every conceivable Philadelphia venue were likely to ask two contradictory questions: What on earth is he doing at La Scala? Then, upon hearing his fully matured Verdi tenor voice: Why hasn't he been there all along? "It's interesting, isn't it?" the 44-year-old tenor says in a voice packed with understatement - the sort not likely to be heard from him in Verdi's hell-defying Requiem on Sunday with the Mendelssohn Club at the Kimmel Center.
December 8, 2008 |
Drama, passion at the opera, intrigue, betrayal, a star-crossed moment, a king topples, a star rises - a chorus swells. And that was before the curtain went up yesterday at the storied annual opening of the La Scala opera house in Milan. Because when the curtain rose, the lead tenor in Guiseppe Verdi's masterpiece, Don Carlo, was not the famous Guiseppe Filianoti, the singer listed in the program. No! It was Stuart Neill, who, until his marriage ended a few years ago, lived in Haddonfield, a graduate of the Academy of the Vocal Arts, and a regular performer in concerts around the world and the region.