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Carl's Morning Quiz
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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...
Think you know classical composers? Can you guess them by their facial hair? more...
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...
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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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.Continue reading...
Like her father, Gustav, the composer and conductor Imogen Holst has many talents
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.Continue reading...
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 manContinue reading...
The first group of what is expected to be some 10,000 migrants is greeted by crowds in Munich after an arduous journey through Hungary and Austria.
Council leaders call on central government to provide more resources to help them house extra refugees the UK is planning to accept.
The goal of seven-day GP opening is unachievable in this Parliament and risks destabilising services, the Royal College of GPs says.
On this edition of Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review with Joel Weisman, our panel of...
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a $500 million property tax hike—one of...
The good news for the Chicago Cubs: they have one of the best records in baseball. The...
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Join Bill McGlaughlin for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Budapest, Vienna and Prague!
Wagner, Liszt & Brahms
Steinway & Sons 30051
Brahms: Piano Concertos
Deutsche Grammophon 479 4899 (2 CDs)
Chant for Peace
Deutsche Grammophon 479 4709
Bach: Goldberg Variations
Ondine ODE 1273-2
The New Goldberg Variations
Alfi Records 15002