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      Carl Grapentine

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      QUIZ – What Fairy Tale Opera Are You?

      Everyone loves a fairy tale, and one of the most magical ways to experience one is at the opera house! Some of the most beloved operas of all time are inspired by fairy tales and other enchanting stories. What fairy tale opera are you? more...

      10 Facts About Bach’s Coffee Opera You Need to Know

      Yup, that's right, J.S. Bach wrote a chamber opera about coffee. And not just coffee, coffee addiction! Here's some facts about Bach's "Coffee Cantata" and how the piece came to be about. more...

      With 3 operas on 1 night, which do you pick?

      When three opera companies in one city all open their seasons on the same night, which opera do you attend? On Saturday, September 26, 2015, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, and Chicago Fringe Opera opened their seasons, performing The Marriage of Figaro, Lucio Silla, and The Turn of the Screw respectively. With two more... more...

      Your Soundtrack for the Supermoon Eclipse

      Tonight we'll experience a serendipitous celestial spectacle: a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse! As you're watching the skies, you need a little night music for the perfect soundtrack. Check out this list of moon music: some are well known classics, others are almost as rare as a supermoon eclipse! more...

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      Terry Riley: 'I haven’t felt nailed down to anything'

      The contemporary composer celebrates his 80th birthday this year and shows no sign of slowing down, with a blowout weekend at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust on tap. Just don’t call him a minimalist

      The American composer-performer Terry Riley has had a year to remember. In the wake of his signing a publishing contract “very late in life” – and thus belatedly entering the repertoire of more musicians – Riley’s rhythmically arresting and sometimes jazzy pieces for two pianists were the basis of this spring’s excellent release by the Zofo duo. Meantime, the Nonesuch label celebrated his 80th birthday by issuing a box set of his opuses, as recorded by the Kronos Quartet (the same group that originally persuaded the composer to re-engage with the string quartet form).

      This weekend in New York, Riley will also help to break in one of Brooklyn’s newest venues: the contemporary-minded National Sawdust. During two evening sets on Saturday, he’ll improvise on piano and synthesizer (in the company of his son, the guitarist Gyan Riley). Sunday brings performances of selections from Riley’s “Abbeyozzud” series of guitar works – and, in the late set, a performance of Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band. (That piece is otherwise known as Side B of the iconic 1969 album A Rainbow in Curved Air.)

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      Not only in New York – how the most powerful man in opera took the Met to the world

      Peter Gelb, general manager of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, has faced controversy, even death threats. But he has also turned the Met into the world’s local opera house by bringing its productions to cinemas around the globe

      Opera is not many people’s idea of a good business model,” laughs Peter Gelb, general manager of New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The statement is such a truism, he says, that he was recently invited by Stanford University to speak about the industry to its postgraduate economics students. “Aside from the costs, complexities and risks of putting it on, they wanted to know how an ageing industry, with a loyal but also ageing customer base, attempts to keep that customer base while simultaneously trying to appeal to a new audience. It is an interesting question, and one not dissimilar to that faced by news organisations at the moment.”

      Related: We took four New Yorkers to The Death of Klinghoffer: what was their verdict?

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      Pelléas et Mélisande review – a brave, deeply affecting achievement

      Britten theatre, London
      English Touring Opera’s scaled-down chamber version of Debussy’s opera is wonderfully done.

      English Touring Opera’s new production of Pelléas et Mélisande fulfils a long-standing ambition on the part of artistic director James Conway to bring Debussy’s only opera into the company’s repertory. Adapting this most elusive of works for small venues, however, brings challenges of its own, and Conway uses a chamber version by Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys that both darkens the orchestral palette and cuts two complete scenes, along with several sections elsewhere. Though sanctioned by Debussy’s publishers, it feels at times as if too much has been trimmed away: Conway at one point restores a passage of dialogue from Maeterlinck’s original play for the purposes of clarification.

      It is, however, quite wonderfully done. Conway is having none of the current fad for redefining the opera in terms of psychopathology or absurdist theatre, and returns it to a symbolist dramaturgy of muted understatement. Costumes suggest the time of composition. The set shows the interior of a dilapidated house, the walls of which are covered with oppressive art nouveau wallpaper. You can feel the emotional stagnation.

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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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      Cantate Domino

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      Nielsen’s Footsteps

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      Schumann: Piano Concerto & Trio

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      Beethoven: Lieder & Bagatelles

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