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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: The musical Candide, with music by Leonard Bernstein, opened on Broadway on this date in 1956. One of the most dazzling showpieces of the show is Cunegonde's aria/song "Glitter and Be Gay." Many sopranos have recorded it including Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, June Anderson, and a version we featured during the recent membership drive by Natalie Dessay. Who was the original 1956 Cunegonde? Answer >>


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      “Why there aren’t more women on the podiums”

      When conductor Marin Alsop became the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2007, she was the first woman to hold this position with a major American orchestra. She’s also the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, and the first conductor ever to receive a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. I sat down with this trailblazing conductor during rehearsals with the more... more...

      An American Dance Craze Hits Europe

      European music took root in the Americas as the colonies began to expand. But the more enthusiastic cultural exchange arguably occurred on the other side of the Atlantic. Learn more about how early American dance created a craze in Europe. more...

      Thousands Attend Chicago’s 102nd Christmas Tree Lighting

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      Quiz: Match the Composer to His Favorite Food

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      Bejun Mehta/La Nuova Musica review – a countertenor with few peers

      Wigmore Hall, London
      Mehta’s coloratura is perfectly precise but unshowy and he is a relaxed and compelling performer

      The Italian solo cantata, and the ways in which it was taken up and adapted in Germany and Britain in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, provided the substance of countertenor Bejun Mehta’s recital with the ensemble La Nuova Musica. But despite its apparently didactic theme, the evening never threatened to become a dry lesson in baroque musicology; Mehta is far too relaxed and compelling a performer ever to seem remotely academic.

      Cantatas by Alessandro Scarlatti, Vivaldi and Handel provided the spine of his programme; compact intertwinings of recitative and arias that Mehta handled as perfectly natural dramatic shapes, and around which he placed other numbers extracted from larger works. He begun and ended with more Handel: the aria Siete Rose Rugiadose, from a three-movement cantata composed soon after the composer travelled to London in 1710 to begin; and the beautiful little Yet Can I Hear that Dulcet Lay from the late one-act oratorio The Choice of Hercules to end. There were also numbers by Johann Christoph Bach (cousin to Johann Sebastian’s father) and by Melchior Hoffmann, chiming bells and all.

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      1969 interview with Jacqueline du Pre and Daniel Barenboim

      14 January 1969: Edward Greenfield interviews young married couple Jacqueline du Pré and Daniel Barenboim

      Jacqueline du Pré, fortunately cello-less, stumbles over one of the many planks that litter the outer rim of the Round House, Camden Town. She laughs at her clumsiness, a schoolgirl again. We are both there to see her husband, Daniel Barenboim, record one of a series of Beethoven films for television, due to be shown in bicentenary year 1970. She is stealing a few moments from her practising to share what for both of them is still an opportunity for exuberance, not just a job.

      While Barenboim rehearses, we talk. No, It is not quite true that she practises only for concerts. She does not as a rule enjoy it for its own sake (one exception: on summer evenings in the dusk - “a teenage thing”), but as a committed professional she knows there is a lot of hard work needed all the time to keep up sheer physical dexterity. What with flu and a fortnight’s holiday, she has been away from serious practice for three weeks, and that is why she has to go back this evening to practise Bach cello suites in their Bayswater flat, so small that if Danny wants to practise at the same time Jacqueline either has to sit on the bed or go to the lavatory. They are thinking of moving, but sentimentally still like the cramped conditions of a flat where they spent their honeymoon.

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      Xian Zhang makes conducting history as first woman to have titled role at a BBC orchestra

      The Chinese-born artist is to be the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s new principal guest conductor. She talks exclusively to Tom Service

      “Some ladies don’t like to be asked this question,” says Xian Zhang. “But I’m happy to talk about it”. The question is that question, the one that female conductors are always asked, namely: “Why aren’t there more of you?”

      Today it is announced that Zhang is the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s new principal guest conductor, a role which will make her one of the UK’s most prominent female conductors – she’s the first woman to have a titled conducting role with a BBC orchestra – and which means she’s going to be asked about the representation of her gender in the echelons in the conducting profession a great deal.

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      travel feature

      Tour Vienna next May! Join Carl Grapentine in exploring some of his favorite musical sites, attending performances, and sightseeing. Then on to Salzburg!

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      Discover WFMT's Classical Italy next May! Join Peter van de Graaff on this exclusive twelve-day classical music lover's journey to "Bella Italia" next May. Imagine staying in the heart of Venice in a restored old abbey and experiencing Donizetti' opera La favorite at the historic La Fenice Opera House!

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      new releases

      1615: Gabrieli in Venice

      Choir of King’s College KGS-0012

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      Saint-Saens: Violin Concertos

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      Naxos 8.573459

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      Julia Lezhneva Sings Handel

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      Offenbach: Overtures & Ballets

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