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Bach beat

Lions and lambs
Composers John Harbison and Peter Lieberson are big presences this spring.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 08, 2010


Interview: Max Raabe

Killer cabaret: bringing Berlin to Boston
"It was so crazy in the '20s, in the Weimar Republic. Everything was so open-minded and wide, and that is why I love that period so much."
By: JEFFREY GANTZ  |  March 02, 2010



Opera Boston presents the world premiere of Madame White Snake; plus the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Boston Philharmonic
"I can no longer stand to let this travesty continue," sings a character in Madame White Snake , the new opera based on an ancient Chinese legend co-commissioned by Opera Boston, which has just presented its world premiere. I'm afraid I shared the sentiment at last Friday's performance.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 03, 2010



The BSO and Boston Baroque at their best
Martin Pearlman's edition of Monteverdi's Vespro della Beate Vergine, with inserted antiphons to suggest an actual service, remains a masterpiece of historical research and inspired guesswork.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 25, 2010


Double trouble

BLO's The Turn of the S crew, Levine's Carter and Simon Boccanegra, Teatro Lirico, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, and more
Boston Lyric Opera's debut Opera Annex production was so good in so many ways, it's painful that one bad idea just about sank it.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 09, 2010


Stopping time

The BSO, Peter Maxwell Davies, BCMS, BMOP, Mark Morris, and Christian Tetzlaff
BSO music director James Levine has returned to Symphony Hall for the first time since October, when back surgery put him out of commission.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 02, 2010


Let's rock

The BSO, the Cantata Singers, Discovery Ensemble, and BCMS
WGBH radio has ended its 58-year tradition of live Friday-afternoon BSO broadcasts, and it doesn't seem that public outcry is going to change that.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 25, 2010


Review: Emanuel Ax at Jordan Hall

Emanuel Ax, live at Jordan Hall on January 8, 2010
I don't want to imply that everybody who's anybody was at Jordan Hall Friday night to hear pianist Emanuel Ax's Celebrity Series recital — but that was Yo-Yo Ma sitting two rows in front of me.
By: JEFFREY GANTZ  |  January 13, 2010


John Harbison plus 10

Picking from a packed concert schedule
Classical music in Boston is so rich, having to pick 10 special events for this winter preview is more like one-tenth of the performances I'm actually looking forward to.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 05, 2010


2009: The year in Classical

Beating the quease
This was a queasy year for classical music.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 04, 2010


Wanting more

The Borromeo and Emerson String Quartets, Dohnányi with the BSO, and Yiddish operetta at Harvard
After its triumphant traversal of the complete Béla Bartók string quartets at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Borromeo Quartet was back for a free 20th- and 21st-century program at Jordan Hall, leading off with an accomplished recent piece by the 24-year-old Egyptian composer Mohammed Fairuz, Lamentation and Satire.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 16, 2009


Open spaces

The BSO's Brahms, Ben Zander's Wagner, Collage New Music, and the BEMF's Handel
In my review of the memorable Brahms performances Sir Simon Rattle led with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the Celebrity Series of Boston last month, I should have mentioned that one decision responsible for the beauty and spaciousness of the orchestral sound was the placement of the first and second violin sections on opposite sides of the stage.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 02, 2009



Simon Rattle and the BPO, Fabio Luisi and the BSO, John Harbison and Emmanuel Music
Simon Rattle and the BPO, Fabio Luisi and the BSO, John Harbison and Emmanuel Music
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  November 18, 2009



BLO's Carmen, the BSO's Beethoven, Emmanuel Music's Haydn and Schoenberg
The Boston Lyric Opera comes maddeningly close to having a good Carmen . (The production continues at the Shubert Theatre through November 17.) Keith Lockhart leads a superb orchestra and chorus and a cast of plausible singers/actors in a compelling if not spine-tingling performance.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  November 12, 2009


Blessings: mixed and otherwise

Boston Baroque’s Amadigi; Opera Boston’s Tancredi; the BSO’s Beethoven; the Borromeo’s Bartók; Brahms from BCMS and BSOCP
By odd coincidence, in recent weeks we’ve had performances of two important operatic rarities, landmark early works a century apart: 30-year-old Handel’s Amadigi (1715) and 20-year-old Rossini’s Tancredi (1813, his 10th opera!).
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 28, 2009


In the swim

Guerilla Opera, von Stade’s farewell, the BSO, Handel and Haydn, the BPO, and that Tosca
My head’s swimming.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 14, 2009


The roar of the crowd

‘Opening Night at Symphony,’ Russell Sherman, the Discovery Ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, and the Bostonians
I wasn’t there, but the opening-night dissatisfaction with the Met’s new Tosca was widely reported.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 13, 2009


Leon Kirchner, 1919–2009

In Memoriam
Craggy, tender, passionate, witty, rough-edged, lyrical, uncompromising, Leon Kirchner's music, so like the man himself, made an indelible impression. Even in his recent appearance at a 90th-birthday tribute concert at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the old fire and wit, the frankness and the refusal to sentimentalize, were there.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  September 23, 2009


Baroque and beyond

Betting on the best this fall
Ten-best lists usually come at the end of the season, but this year the Phoenix has asked its critics to provide a calendar of 10 events that, at least on paper, might wind up on an end-of-season Top 10. Boston, in case you didn't know it, is a great city for classical music, so it's not easy to keep the list short. But here goes.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  September 14, 2009


Midsummer madness

Mark Morris, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood, Mozart in Boston, Meyerbeer at Bard
After a relatively quiet summer, I saw Boston Midsummer Opera's Cosí fan tutte at BU's Tsai Center. Then I raced out to Tanglewood for a Mark Morris program accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax, a BSO matinee with Ma, and all six concerts in the annual Festival of Contemporary Music.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  September 29, 2009


French kiss

What we don't get in Boston
Productions I attended at the Opéra and Opéra Comique would be rare in New York, let alone Boston — though some of the performers would be familiar.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  July 10, 2009

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