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The top 10 classical shows of 2017

[unable to retrieve full-text content] The top 10 classical shows of 2017 The GuardianFull coverage

Aldeburgh Festival releases 2018 line-up

This year’s Aldeburgh Festival has been curated by Artists in Residence violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, conductor John Wilson and flautist Claire Chase, and will take place from 8 to 24 June. Its focus this year will be on Britten, America and the centenary of Bernstein. The opening weekend features the world premiere of a new orchestration by Colin Matthews of Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo with tenor Robert Murray, as well as Four Sea Interludes from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, of which Bernstein conducted the American premiere in 1946 and then included it again in his last concert. The weekend will also feature individuals connected to the two composers, including Aaron Copland, whose ballet Billy the Kid will be performed. Conductor John Wilson will be leading his orchestra in both popular and less well-known Broadway hits by Bernstein including excerpts from West Side Story, On the Town, Candide, Peter Pan, Wonderful Town, Trouble in Tahiti and 1600 Pennyslvania Aven..

40-year-old Spic Macay is reacquainting India with Indian music and culture

At the beginning of every academic year, experienced volunteers conduct orientation sessions in schools, colleges and universities. “The design of such an event is simple. The volunteer, or group of volunteers, first screens our introduction video to the audience, and then conducts a session, in either a talk or a discussion format, to bring out the conceptual and organisational basis of Spic Macay to the new students. Interested students are invited to join us for our regular meetings, where they are inducted for one or more volunteer duties,” Akshay explains. The journey of a Spic Macay volunteer begins with an open heart and a mind ready to learn from experiences. The larger purpose the organisation seeks to address is to incorporate the abstract, subtle, and mystical aspects of our cultural heritage in curriculums, and bring in the habit of introspection and self-enquiry. Not everything has been a breeze for the team. From tackling primary problems of acceptance, especially in inst..

A Rough Night at the Opera

Composer John Adams and librettist/director Peter Sellars have made a name for themselves as the lefties of the opera world. Their previous works, Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and Doctor Atomic, have made them controversial figures at times. And their topical, contemporary handling of opera can come as a shock to those who consider it a cultural form so lofty it still seems as if top hats and diamond tiaras should be worn in order to witness it. I include myself in that group. In 1991, their treatment of the Palestinian cause in The Death of Klinghoffer, which dramatizes the 1985 hijacking of the passenger ship the Achilli Lauro by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, got them into trouble. In the view of many outraged critics and citizens, their evenhanded approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could only mean antisemitism and the glorification of terrorists. To this day, opera companies are scared to stage it. New York’s Metropolitan Opera announced a new produ..

Keep it classical: A tour of the stunning Vienna Opera House

In German, it's called the Wiener Staatsoper. In English, it's Vienna State Opera. This is one of world's most legendary opera houses. and with 1,709 seats, and room for 567 more standing, it's also one of the largest. It houses 350 performances every year, making it one of the busiest too. Fabled composers such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss have been conductors during the Staatsoper's long history. When the former was running the big show, it was called the Vienna Court Opera, or more accurately, the Wiener Hofoper, and the country at the time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled by Emperor Franz Joseph I. Despite vising this incredible city several times, I only recently toured this famous building. It was well worth it. Here's how it looks. 29Behold the grandeur of the Vienna State Opera HouseThe Magic FluteConstruction started in 1861 and took eight years. As you'd expect of such a now-famous building, it was instantly beloved b..

Irish National Opera launches tonight

Irish National Opera (INO) opens its debut 2018 season tonight at Dublin’s National Concert Hall, with performances from leading Irish singers including Orla Boylan, Claudia Boyle and Sharon Carty, accompanied by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. They will present seven operas this year, five of which are new productions. Artistic Director Fergus Sheil is focusing on a mix of classical operas and contemporary works. The season will tour across 13 venues in Ireland and London’s Barbican Centre, and Sheil hopes to build new audiences in Ireland and beyond. The company is born out of a renewed commitment to opera from the Irish Arts Council, who has dramatically increased their funding of this area of music. The opening production is Thomas Adès’s chamber opera Powder Her Face, in collaboration with Northern Ireland Opera. Following this will be the INO’s first major production – Patrick Mason’s new staging of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Summer will see performances at the Galway ..

How a classical musician turned 400-year-old French songs into a modern hit

Emi Ferguson is a Juilliard-trained flutist — a career that requires many hours and years of practice. But her most recent album, “Amour Cruel,” is vocal music, and when she recorded it, she had never sung in public. It’s based on 400-year-old French songs, adapted from manuscripts Ferguson stumbled across in the Juilliard library. And as a classical crossover album it landed her on the Billboard charts. Classical music is very particular about its categories. Any classical purist will tell you that the teen singer Jackie Evancho or the pop-opera group Il Divo are not “real” classical artists. Hence the designation “classical crossover,” which for the past 25 years has striven to ensure that the Billboard classical charts are not sullied with the offerings of mere “Britain’s Got Talent” winners and movie-soundtrack composers. Classical crossover projects, you see, lack the high seriousness and the artistic standing of sanctified classical music tradition. They also sell more copies. As..

Wainwright loves opera, Shakespeare, and speaking his mind

Rufus Wainwright always pushes boundaries. The singer/songwriter has penned pop albums, operas, cover albums and more. With delicate piano and a swoon-worthy tenor, Wainwright has transcended genre and expectation at every turn. His debut self-titled album was critically acclaimed, and the singer’s career hasn’t slowed down since. While his work invokes a certain mystery and intimacy, he is far from quiet. He’s outspoken about his strained relationship with his father (the two have written songs about each other), being gay and the current political climate. On Wednesday, he’ll talk to the Center Theater for a special “evening with” performance. Before the show, the Jackson Hole Daily spoke to him about his opera, Shakespeare and an artist’s role in the world. Q: Tell me about the opera you’ve been working on. When will the world see it? A: It’s finished. “Hadrian” is premiering fall of this year in Toronto. I’m ready to slowly return to the real world. Q: Were you stuck in your own he..

Rising opera talent discovers connection to celebrated Italian singer from small NSW town

The cane fields of the Clarence River valley on the NSW north coast seem an unlikely place to cultivate opera singers, but the small island of Harwood has produced two divas. Michelle Ryan is a rising opera talent who has recently discovered she is related to celebrated Italian opera singer Margherita Grandi. "She's my grandfather's first cousin and we know her as Maggie Gard. But I didn't know much more than that," Ms Ryan said. In her fourth year at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Ms Ryan fell in love with opera and decided to google her mysterious cousin. She found an audio recording of Grandi singing a famous duet for a movie called The Tales of Hoffman. "She actually had a phenomenal voice … and I thought 'She actually did really well'," Ms Ryan said. Opera career did not match talentMost of what Ms Ryan has learnt about the little known Australian diva comes from another distant cousin. Hilda Hardy, from nearby Maclean, has been gathering evidence o..

Tokyo Metro to trial playing classical music on Hibiya Line

Starting Monday, Tokyo Metro Co. will experiment with playing background music on their trains in a bid to provide a more comfortable travel experience for passengers. The background music will be played on the recently introduced 13000 series trains on the Hibiya Line, for a limited number of trains that run between Naka-Meguro and Kita-Senju, the subway operator said. A selection of classical music, including popular pieces such as “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy as well as relaxation music conducted by a composer named Mitsuhiro, will be heard on the trains. The 13000 series trains, which entered service in March last year, boast a high-quality stereo system. Although the upgraded system was initially intended for special events and automated speaker checks, a recent event sparked an idea to utilize the speakers on regular train services as well, a Tokyo Metro official said. “A train conductor played some classical music (which is usually used for speaker checks) by accident durin..

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