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      14 of Opera’s Most Memorable Musical Kisses

      Opera would hardly be opera without a good love story. And what's a good love story without a kiss? Check out this list of memorable musical kisses in opera, and tell us your favorites in the comments! more...

      QUIZ: Match the Film to the Score

      How well do you know movie music? Listen to the excerpts from the following famous film scores, and see if you can match the music to the correct movie. more...

      Classical Music’s Most Memorable Moments on Sesame Street

      Whether teaching the ABCs or addressing decidedly more grown-up topics, Sesame Street has expanded children's minds and hearts since its debut nearly fifty years ago. Many musicians have visited Sesame Street, introducing people of all ages to great music. There have been many inspiring musical moments on Sesame Street, but here are some of WFMT's favorites! more...

      These Photoshopped Pictures of Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde Will Make You Literally LOL

      Christine Goerke has set the world on fire with what the Wall Street Journal described as her “big, blazing soprano.” Recently she’s set the internet ablaze not with her voice, but with her sense of humor. When Goerke posted a production photo from the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Siegfried, in which she plays the role more... more...

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      English National Opera board ignores proper debate at its peril | Letters

      I applaud Mark Wigglesworth’s eloquent article (G2, 11 February) calling for a new, innovative approach to resolving the problems bedevilling English National Opera. In my 12 years as an arts editor of the Observer, we covered endless crises involving Britain’s major arts organisations, all of which were settled after widespread and open debate embracing the companies and their boards, the Arts Council, the press, the unions, even the government. Grandees were called in to broker deals and knock sense into recalcitrant heads. By contrast, the lack of proper debate in official circles about the current ENO affair is startling.

      An online petition, Save English National Opera, has already secured more than 5,000 signatories, many of whom – directors of opera companies, performers, music critics, loyal ENO supporters et al – suggest viable alternatives to the brutal business plan put forward by the company’s CEO, Cressida Pollock, which would leave the company so weakened that it could no longer play any useful part in Britain’s cultural life. To compound the problem, the ENO board has cowered behind her skirts while, extraordinarily, Arts Council England has not come up with a comment of any kind. If the CEO and the board continue to ignore the warnings expressed in the petition and elsewhere, they do so at their peril.

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      Total Immersion: Andriessen review – a joyous, uplifting experience

      Barbican, London
      Compelling performances by the BBCSO of two UK premieres, La Commedia and Mysteriën, highlighted Louis Andriessen’s fresh and economical approach

      The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s two days of concerts devoted to Louis Andriessen’s music included two major UK premieres. La Commedia, Andriessen’s most recent stage work (a new one will be premiered at the Holland festival in June), is a typically wide-ranging and culturally allusive riff on Dante’s Divine Comedy. The piece, like its predecessors, blurs the boundary between concert hall and opera house: sometimes it resembles a series of dramatic tableaux, other times it’s more like a collection of secular cantatas.

      Whatever the designation, it was a joyous, uplifting experience. The Barbican performance, conducted with wonderful clarity by Martyn Brabbins, was a concert staging. Directed by Kenneth Richardson, it dispensed with the film by Hal Hartley that was shot for the 2008 Amsterdam stage premiere and which was also packaged with the CD version two years ago. That allowed Andriessen’s magpie-like score, ransacking three centuries of musical history, to be relished fully, and we could grasp the texts in three languages more easily. As in the Amsterdam premiere, the soprano Claron McFadden was Beatrice, and the mezzo Cristina Zavalloni performed Dante; the Lucifer here was baritone Andrew Sauvageau, while Synergy Vocals supplied the chorus and the Finchley Children’s Music Group delivered the charmingly mocking coda.

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      Gould Piano Trio/Elias Quartet review – rigour and fire in revolutionary Beethoven

      The composer’s early works brought out the best in the Gould Trio in this absorbing five-day Beethoven festival

      Beethoven: Music in Revolution was the ambitious title given to this five-day festival, curated and performed by the Gould Piano Trio and friends. It offered an absorbing historical perspective on a composer who subverted rules, pushed boundaries and used shock tactics, as well as capturing his rigour and passion.

      The Gould Trio’s recital of Op 1 No 3, and Op 11 with clarinettist Robert Plane, achieved a perfect balance of structural exactitude and lyricism. Pianist Benjamin Frith brought the same depth of understanding to a sequence of late Bagatelles and the Sonata Op 109. Frith shaped phrasing with Mozartean clarity while exploiting the drama of the music, in which Beethoven toys with expectation and surprise. On the following evening, Frith anchored a fine performance of the Op 16 Quintet, with the same wind players then gracing Beethoven’s Septet.

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      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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      new releases

      Haydn: Symphonies 78-81

      Decca 478 8837

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      Klara Min: Scriabin

      Steinway & Sons 30045

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      Nicholas McCarthy: Solo

      Warner Classics 0825646052400

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      Blackbird: The Beatles Album

      Mercury Classics B0024425-02

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      collectif 9: Volksmobiles

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