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      Carl's Morning Quiz

      Carl Grapentine

      Carl's Morning Quiz: Anton Bruckner was born on this date in 1824. Best remembered for his massive symphonies and his masses for choir and orchestra, Bruckner was a gentle and devout man. He was most comfortable living in the St. Florian Abbey where he was the organist and a teacher. But he was a musical disciple of another composer of a much different temperament. Bruckner dedicated his 7th Symphony to this composer upon hearing of his death. Who was Bruckner's idol? Answer >>


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      30 Performances in Chicago You Don’t Want to Miss this Fall

      Though summer is winding down and the colder months are coming, at least we have the beginning of the 2015-16 performing arts season to look forward to! While every season brings great performances, this season is particularly special since several organizations are celebrating milestone anniversaries. The Steppenwolf Theatre turns 40, the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians turns more... more...

      QUIZ: Guess the Composer by Their Facial Hair

      Think you know classical composers? Can you guess them by their facial hair? more...

      Your High School Musical Memories

      Heading back to school means auditions are coming up, rehearsals will be starting soon, and before you know it, you’ll be practicing music for a holiday concert even though it’s not even officially fall. For many, one of the best parts of heading back to school is performing with school ensembles. We asked four organizations more... more...

      10 Operas About Poisonous and Medicinal Plants

      As everyone is poised for the corpse plant at the Chicago Botanic Garden to bloom, why not enjoy some music about poisonous and medicinal plants? Operas would be a lot less interesting if poison didn’t seep its way into their plots. Check out this list of 10 operas about poisonous and medicinal plants, taken largely from the research more... more...

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      How Hitchcock became Notorious at the opera

      An opera adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 thriller Notorious draws not only on Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant, but also on Wagner, a domineering foul-mouthed mother and Slavov Žižek. Peter Conrad meets its stellar cast and composer

      The opera house in Gothenburg, on the rocky west coast of Sweden, sits docked like a galleon in the harbour. On its facade, a banner advertises cheer for the impending long, dark Scandinavian winter: Gershwin’s Crazy for You, billed as “en feel-good Musikal”. But the company’s most important current project – a new opera based on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 thriller Notorious – is more likely to perturb, frighten and creepily excite its audiences (which is another way of making them feel good). Notorious was composed by Hans Gefors for Nina Stemme, whom he describes as “our great Swedish dramatic soprano”, acclaimed everywhere for her blazing performances as Wagner’s superwomen. Coincidentally, the opera commemorates another national heroine: the Hitchcock film starred Ingrid Bergman, whose centenary it is this year, so her ghost too has been on the prowl in the theatre, where Gershwin’s spangled tap dancers collide in the corridors with the cast of solidly built and funereally attired Wagnerian singers cast in Keith Warner’s production.

      Hitchcock’s title refers to the loose-living Alicia (Bergman), whose father is a convicted Nazi spy. Under the influence of the American agent Devlin (Cary Grant), she makes amends for his crimes by agreeing to infiltrate the Brazilian lair of some German scientists who are working on an atom bomb, and as proof of her commitment to the mission, she marries their leader, Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains). Devlin, by now in love with her, is disgusted; so is Alex’s domineering mother, played by the glacial Leopoldine Konstantin – imagine Mrs Bates from Psycho in her pre-mummified state. When Alicia’s deception is discovered, Alex and his mother slowly poison her. Devlin overcomes his jealous rage and miraculously rescues her, and the Nazis turn on the duped Alex as his mother gasps in dismay.

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      Imogen Holst interview: from the archive, 5 September 1960

      Like her father, Gustav, the composer and conductor Imogen Holst has many talents

      Daughter of the renaissance

      Talking to Imogen Holst, co-director of the Aldeburgh Festival, it is easy to understand what gives the festival its special flavour of drama, mixed with a sort of domestic intimacy.

      For in a sense this is Imogen Holst herself: romantic and practical, dramatic and simple, visionary yet businesslike. She has a capacity to make people want to do things for her and, above all, the desire to bring out the music she believes is in all of us.

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      Alice Coote/English Concert/Bicket – a confused meditation on Handel's sexual ambiguities

      Royal Albert Hall, London
      Despite flashes of Coote’s characteristic brilliance, it wasn’t clear what this one-woman show exploring Handel’s gender-bending arias was trying to say

      Being Both was the title of Alice Coote’s performance at this summer’s Brighton festival, where she explored the gender-bending arias of Handel’s operas and oratorios in a kind of one-woman show, with the help of stage director Susannah Waters, conductor Harry Bicket and the English Concert. It was adapted for this late-night Prom, but the premise remained elusive.

      Related: Alice Coote: My life as a man

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      Steinway & Sons 30051

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      Brahms: Piano Concertos

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4899 (2 CDs)

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      Chant for Peace

      Deutsche Grammophon 479 4709

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      Bach: Goldberg Variations

      Ondine ODE 1273-2

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      The New Goldberg Variations

      Alfi Records 15002

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