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ENTERTAINMENT
October 24, 1993 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Giuseppe Verdi's Stiffelio was a problem to the composer. It was lacerated by censors, and Verdi ultimately broke up the piece like firewood, with parts being used by the composer in an ill-fated opera, Aroldo. But, fortunately, Verdi did not destroy his Stiffelio manuscript. That was found in the 1980s among his papers in his home at Sant'Agata, Italy. Scholars developed a performing edition, and this 1850 opera has begun to make the rounds of European opera houses. The Metropolitan Opera's first production Thursday confirmed the beauty of the music but also the creakiness of Francesco Maria Piave's libretto.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 12, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
NEW YORK - How grand does the Metropolitan Opera have to be? The question arises when a featherweight comedy such as Donizetti's The Elixir of Love appears in the ultra-beady spotlight that comes with a new production starring the house's hottest soprano, Anna Netrebko, plus the season's first high-def movie-theater simulcast Saturday. When Luciano Pavarotti was singing this opera, one of his specialties, the grandeur took care of itself, given what a unique force he was at the box office.
NEWS
April 18, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
Will a seismic movement on the podium of the Metropolitan Opera have reverberations in Philadelphia? Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been frequently seen as a prime candidate to succeed James Levine, whose shift to music director emeritus after a four-decade tenure was announced Thursday in New York by the Met. But apart from whether the Met actually offers the job to Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra...
NEWS
June 3, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
If global classical-music prominence were a horse race, Yannick Nézet-Séguin - with the just-announced Met appointment, in tandem with his continuing tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra - would easily be out in front among his particularly charismatic peers. At 41, Nézet-Séguin is part of a generation of what some call "rock star" conductors who emerged late in the last decade, headed by the meteoric Gustavo Dudamel, 35, now music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (he's also the basis of the  Mozart in the Jungle  TV character played by Gael García Bernal)
NEWS
June 3, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
How can Yannick hold both jobs at once? What makes him a good fit for the job? Will he stay committed to Philadelphia? Consolidating his young but flowering career, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will assume the podium of the Metropolitan Opera in New York while remaining music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Nézet-Séguin, 41, will phase in his Met duties gradually, becoming music director-designate in the 2017-18 season with two productions, and music director in 2020-21 leading five, the opera company announced Thursday.
BUSINESS
September 22, 2015 | By Diane Mastrull, Inquirer Staff Writer
One of the more delicious offerings at conjoined South Philadelphia eateries Francoluigi's Pizzeria and the High Note Cafe is owner Frank "Franco" Borda's operatic voice. How fitting. What has played out on that corner of 13th and Tasker in the last 33 years for the restaurateur/real estate investor/amateur singer has all the makings of an opera. There's been hope, dashed dreams, laughter, betrayal, perseverance, frustration, and love - of life, the community, and the business that Borda blames for making him bald.
NEWS
June 5, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
So it finally happened: After years of speculation, the Metropolitan Opera appointed Yannick Nézet-Séguin to replace James Levine as music director. Naturally, the opera world wants to know what that will look like. And they want to know now - although he doesn't fully take on the position until 2020-21 and opera companies work four years in advance. Nonetheless, in a Thursday-morning video interview from Osaka after a Philadelphia Orchestra tour concert, he says he'll be working with the Met as early as this fall.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 8, 2014 | By Tirdad Derakhshani, Inquirer Staff Writer
Let's sing two Soprano Kristine Opolais got to bed at 5 a.m. Saturday after performing her first Madama Butterfly for the Metropolitan Opera. Just 21/2 hours later, she was awakened by Met general manager Peter Gelb : Could she take over a simulcast performance of Puccini's La Boheme that afternoon? Opolais said no - but five minutes later she changed her mind, and on Saturday, she became the first singer in the Met's 131-year history to make two major-role debuts within a day. She was seen by 4,000 people live and 200,000-plus viewers around the world.
NEWS
November 2, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
T he other day at the Metropolitan Opera, Philadelphia tenor Stephen Costello was about to sing his second-act aria in a Rigoletto rehearsal when Plácido Domingo walked in, just to watch. "Which wasn't intimidating at all," Costello said with molto irony. But the elder tenor-turned-baritone later ran into Costello in the Met cafeteria - a little hard to imagine - praised him to the skies, suggested he investigate a certain kind of phrasing favored by Enrico Caruso. "He's like this grandfather . . . he just makes you feel so good," Costello said.
NEWS
June 3, 2016
By David Patrick Stearns FOR THE INQUIRER The time in Osaka was 11 p.m. Thursday as Yannick Nézet-Séguin faced a live video interview to announce his Metropolitan Opera appointment to a still-waking-up United States. On the Philadelphia Orchestra's current tour of the Far East, he had an early concert time - 7 p.m. - but a substantial program anchored by the Brahms Symphony No. 2 . No wonder he sounded more weary than ecstatic when he said, at 10 a.m. East Coast time, "I can't recall a day in my life when I've been more joyful.
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 23, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
PRINCETON - The gale-like force of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes goes beyond the famous orchestral interludes evoking the opera's seaside weather. Few theater pieces of any sort reveal fishing-village sociology with such detailed psychology. And it's there that the Princeton Festival's current production of Peter Grimes , one of the few seen outside major opera houses, shows that expensive stars and scenery aren't necessary. This Peter Grimes , which is repeated Thursday and Sunday, is unquestionably worth traveling for, but not for any of the trappings one is used to at, say, the Metropolitan Opera.
NEWS
June 5, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
So it finally happened: After years of speculation, the Metropolitan Opera appointed Yannick Nézet-Séguin to replace James Levine as music director. Naturally, the opera world wants to know what that will look like. And they want to know now - although he doesn't fully take on the position until 2020-21 and opera companies work four years in advance. Nonetheless, in a Thursday-morning video interview from Osaka after a Philadelphia Orchestra tour concert, he says he'll be working with the Met as early as this fall.
NEWS
June 3, 2016
By David Patrick Stearns FOR THE INQUIRER The time in Osaka was 11 p.m. Thursday as Yannick Nézet-Séguin faced a live video interview to announce his Metropolitan Opera appointment to a still-waking-up United States. On the Philadelphia Orchestra's current tour of the Far East, he had an early concert time - 7 p.m. - but a substantial program anchored by the Brahms Symphony No. 2 . No wonder he sounded more weary than ecstatic when he said, at 10 a.m. East Coast time, "I can't recall a day in my life when I've been more joyful.
NEWS
June 3, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
If global classical-music prominence were a horse race, Yannick Nézet-Séguin - with the just-announced Met appointment, in tandem with his continuing tenure with the Philadelphia Orchestra - would easily be out in front among his particularly charismatic peers. At 41, Nézet-Séguin is part of a generation of what some call "rock star" conductors who emerged late in the last decade, headed by the meteoric Gustavo Dudamel, 35, now music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (he's also the basis of the  Mozart in the Jungle  TV character played by Gael García Bernal)
NEWS
June 3, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
How can Yannick hold both jobs at once? What makes him a good fit for the job? Will he stay committed to Philadelphia? Consolidating his young but flowering career, Yannick Nézet-Séguin will assume the podium of the Metropolitan Opera in New York while remaining music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Nézet-Séguin, 41, will phase in his Met duties gradually, becoming music director-designate in the 2017-18 season with two productions, and music director in 2020-21 leading five, the opera company announced Thursday.
NEWS
April 18, 2016 | By Peter Dobrin, Music Critic
Will a seismic movement on the podium of the Metropolitan Opera have reverberations in Philadelphia? Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been frequently seen as a prime candidate to succeed James Levine, whose shift to music director emeritus after a four-decade tenure was announced Thursday in New York by the Met. But apart from whether the Met actually offers the job to Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra...
NEWS
April 15, 2016 | By John Timpane, STAFF WRITER
James Levine, leader of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City since 1976, has announced his retirement, according to a statement from the opera company. The statement said Levine would retire after the current season because of health reasons. Levine, 72, was to have conducted a series of concerts in Philadelphia in February - his first such appearances here in 20 years - but had to cancel them. He has been battling Parkinson's disease and seeking to adjust his medications so he could continue to conduct.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 6, 2016 | By Howard Gensler
A LARGE group of people who create books for children and teenagers are hoping to send a message to adults in North Carolina. Nearly 270 authors and illustrators have signed a letter calling on the state to repeal a new law preventing specific anti-discrimination rules for LGBT people for public accommodations and restroom use. The letter, which was posted on the School Library Journal website, said the 269 signees are "disappointed and angered by...
NEWS
April 1, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, MUSIC CRITIC
NEW YORK - The joint is jumping, but not necessarily in ways that originally made Ella Fitzgerald famous decades ago. Harlem's Apollo Theater remains a hub of African American musical culture - but the venue also strenuously adapts itself. There's digital foosball one week, with a giant playing table on the main floor - and then Opera Philadelphia arrives this Friday and Sunday for Charlie Parker's Yardbird , the Apollo's first foray into opera. "Experimentation and emerging artists are part of our DNA," says Mikki Shepard, executive producer.
NEWS
March 30, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
Kathryn Baily Westman, 95, of Narberth, an opera singer and voice teacher to generations of Philadelphia area music students, died Thursday, March 24, of a pulmonary embolism at Lankenau Medical Center. Mrs. Westman was known for her beautiful soprano voice, her service to the tiny Montgomery County borough of Narberth, and her love of life, her family said. Her musical career began early in the family home on Dudley Avenue. Her mother, Mildred W. Baily, was a teacher of piano and voice who held musical evenings in which her children participated.
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