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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Yesterday was Yo-Yo Ma's 60th birthday, and he was the subject of the quiz. Here's another one today. Yo-Yo Ma's recordings, which number close to 100 (!), have won 18 Grammy Awards. What is the name of his brand new disc? It was our featured New Release last week. Answer >>


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      Thousands Attend Chicago’s 102nd Christmas Tree Lighting

      Thousands gathered on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 to celebrate the 102nd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Previously staged in Daley Plaza, the city’s Christmas tree can now be seen at the west entrance of the park, across from the Michigan Avenue and Madison Street intersection. This year’s tree, a 63-foot Colorado blue more... more...

      Quiz: Match the Composer to His Favorite Food

      Some composers ate to live, others lived to eat. Can you match the composer to his favorite food? more...

      Vote: What’s Your Favorite Piano Concerto?

      WFMT is celebrating great piano concertos, and we need your help! Vote for your favorites. Then middays starting December 7th, Lisa Flynn will play your 10 favorite piano concertos based on your votes, paired with a piano concerto you might not know. more...

      Recipes Composed by Classical Composers

      Did you know that some of your favorite composers composed recipes as well? Here are a few culinary masterpieces composed by Rossini, Verdi, Ned Rorem, Puccini, and Janáček. more...

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      Mignon review - sad, elegant score handled with great sensitivity

      Cadogan Hall, London
      One of the most popular operas of the 19th century is updated to Weimar Berlin, though 21st-century tastes may still find it a little coy

      Ambroise Thomas’s Mignon was one of the most popular operas of the 19th century, clocking up more than 1,000 performances in Paris alone in the decades immediately following its 1866 premiere at the Opéra Comique. Based on Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, it deals with burgeoning sexuality in a transient world. The waif-like heroine Mignon has unspoken feelings for the feckless Wilhelm, which ripen into love, jealousy and a growing awareness of her own femininity when she is faced with his attraction to the promiscuous actress Philine. Twenty-first-century taste is apt to find it coy, and some may now question its conservative stance on gender, but the score has a sad, elegant beauty that remains immensely appealing.

      Harry Fehr’s striking staging for New Sussex Opera reimagines the work in terms of the hedonism and existential uncertainties of Weimar Republic Berlin, where Mignon’s boyish persona, defensively adopted as a response to childhood trauma, is taken for granted by a society that ignores her underlying heartbreak, and where she can only find genuine solace in her relationship with the half-crazed tramp Lothario, who, by a twist of fate, proves to be her long-absent father.

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      Lightning-fast pianist Lubomyr Melnyk: 'When I play I turn into an eagle flying'

      The world’s first – and possibly last – ‘continuous’ pianist has finally found the wider audience for his transcendental, frighteningly quick performances

      It was in Tokyo that I first encountered Lubomyr Melnyk. I wasn’t sure if it was just the jetlag making me delirious or whether I was in a trance. On stage, a Rasputin-like figure was bent over the piano, hands rippling across the keys at lightning speed. The music was bittersweet and meditative, peaceful and chaotic – a never-ending stream of notes to get lost in. I was gripped by its emotion. Nope, definitely not the jetlag.

      Related: Lubomyr Melnyk: Rivers and Streams review – world's fastest pianist will make your heart tingle

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      Gounod: La Colombe CD review: a charming rarity well served by Elder


      (Opera Rara, two CDs)

      With Mark Elder installed as artistic director, Opera Rara continues to burrow away in the byways of the 19th-century French and Italian repertoires, and its latest offering is a slight but charming opéra comique by Gounod.

      La Colombe (The Dove) was composed in 1860, a couple of years after Gounod completed his most enduringly popular stage work, Faust. Based on a story by the 17th-century fabulist La Fontaine, which itself can be traced back to a Sanskrit source, it’s a modest four-hander about a wealthy countess, Sylvie, who is desperate to gain possession of a dove belonging to one of her young admirers, the penniless Horace, so that she can compete with one of her rivals, who owns a talking parrot. Horace steadfastly refuses to sell his bird, but eventually he is forced to contemplate killing it to provide dinner for the countess. At the meal the countess is horrified to discover the sacrifice he’s prepared to make for her, but all ends happily when it’s revealed that the bird they have eaten is in fact her rival’s parrot.

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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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      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

      Schubert: String Quintet

      Azica ACD-71304

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      Music of George Bristow

      New World Records 80768-2

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      Music of Stacy Garrop

      Cedille CDR 90000 160

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      Valentina Lisitsa: Nuances

      Decca 478 8435

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      Stephen Hough: Scriabin & Janacek

      Hyperion CDA-67895

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