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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


Michael Mazur, 1935 - 2009

Painter, printmaker, teacher, art historian, curator, political/social/arts activist, Red Sox and Celtics fan
"He was so alive ," a friend wrote to me a few days after Michael Mazur died, on August 18.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  August 27, 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


Michael Steinberg, 1928-2009

In Memoriam
Michael Steinberg, who died of cancer last Sunday morning in Minneapolis, was one of the great voices raised in defense of high culture, and Boston was lucky that he was based here for so many years.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  August 03, 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


Springer vs. Nero!

Monteverdi's Poppea opens the Boston Early Music Festival, plus the Cantata Singers, the Discovery Ensemble, and Barbara Cook at the Pops
Two opera productions overlapping at the Calderwood Pavilion exploit exploitation.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  June 10, 2009


Here comes the bride

Opera Boston's Smetana, the BSO's Berlioz, and Dawn Upshaw
It's been a long time since Bostonians had the chance to see the most popular Czech opera, Bedrich Smetana's The Bartered Bride , but Opera Boston followed its electrifying run of Shostakovich's The Nose with this tuneful folk opera and gave it a sweet and very likable production.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 12, 2009


A little history

Yehudi Wyner and John Harbison, Susanna Mälkki with the BSO, Natalia Gutman with the BPO, and BLO's Don Giovanni
Two of Boston's most admired and honored composers (both Pulitzer winners) have just celebrated landmark birthdays: Yehudi Wyner his 80th and John Harbison his 70th.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 28, 2009



Mark Wigglesworth conducts the BSO; Renée Fleming returns to Symphony Hall
Last week's Boston Symphony concert was a snaggle of contradictions. British guest conductor Mark Wigglesworth was substituting for the exciting but erratic Russian maestro Yuri Termirkanov, who'd cancelled all his American appearances.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 21, 2009


Center of gravity

Shi-Yeon Sung and Nelson Freire at the BSO; plus the Schubertiade Music Players and Emmanuel's St. Matthew Passion
If all those young people at last Thursday's BSO concert didn't leave Symphony Hall feeling excited about classical music and eager to come back, then classical music is in even more trouble than I thought.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 14, 2009


Loved these but not those

Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Murray Perahia, Ian Bostridge
Of the great international orchestras, perhaps the one that's most unfairly overlooked is the London Symphony Orchestra. Yet a handful of the very greatest orchestral performances I've ever heard have been with the LSO.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 08, 2009


Mad love

John Harbison's Winter's Tale, Dvorák's Rusalka, Hans Graf with the BSO, Mark Morris's music
The destructive power of jealousy makes a good subject for opera.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 24, 2009



From Don Giovanni’s hell to Haydn’s Creation
Boston Lyric Opera follows up Dvorák’s moonstruck Rusalka, with Christopher Schaldebrand in the title role of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the BSO and much more.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 20, 2009



The BPO celebrates its 30th, and the Cantata Singers continue their Britten year
Back in pre-history (1964), a brilliant young Brit, a cellist (student of Benjamin Britten) and conductor, came to town and shook up the local classical-music scene.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 19, 2009



Alan Gilbert with the BSO, plus Collage New Music, Boston Baroque, and Teatro Lirico d'Europa
Charles Ives's Fourth Symphony is a stunner. And Boston Symphony Orchestra guest conductor Alan Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic's music director designate led a stunning performance.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 17, 2009



Opera Boston doesn't blow The Nose — plus Yannick Nézet-Séguin's BSO debut and the return of Lang Lang
By the time you read this, you've either seen or missed one of Boston's most exciting opera productions, Opera Boston's brilliant version of Shostakovich's The Nose .
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 05, 2009


Beloved of God

Levine's Mozart with the BSO, plus Gabriela Montero and Benjamin Zander with the Boston Philharmonic
One of my most profound musical experiences took place when I was still a graduate student.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 26, 2009


Noble melody

James Levine brings us Verdi's Simon Boccanegra ; plus Christian Tetzlaff and Leif Ove Andsnes
For the first time since James Levine became music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, this acclaimed Verdi specialist conducted the BSO in a Verdi opera.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 03, 2009


Anniversaries and other occasions

Masur's Mendelssohn, Orfeos from Norrington and Levine, the Discovery Ensemble, and the Inauguration 'performance'
Anniversaries, however fabricated, can still be useful. This year commemorates the 200th birthday of Felix Mendelssohn, the 150th birthday of Victor Herbert (both recently celebrated with intensive "orgies" on WHRB), the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death, and the 250th anniversary of Handel's death.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 27, 2009


Ring in the new

Haydn trios, Kirchner's 90th-birthday concert, Cantata Singers' Britten, Teatro Lirico's Aida
If 2009 lives up to the grace and power of some of the concerts that began it, we can look forward to a vintage year.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 20, 2009


Lift every voice!

Classical goodies for 2009
Opera is the big word for 2009.
By: LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 30, 2008

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