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Staking Her Claim on Faith

Staking Her Claim on Faith

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The first song on “Lionheart,” the debut solo album by out lesbian Americana singer H. C. McEntire, gets to the point pretty bluntly. “A Lamb, A Dove” mixes Christian and gay imagery repeatedly. She’s obviously reclaiming the language of the religion, if not its substance, for women who have often been treated […]

The Politics of Desire

The Politics of Desire

BY ELI JACOBSON | Opera does personal drama and emotional conflict very well but intellectual, social, and political concepts are less suitable for musical adaptation. Two operas about a pair of lovers caught in a web of political power and intrigue opened this month. One was an expensive new production of “Tosca,” a standard repertory staple […]

Following in Fellow Travelers’ Footsteps

Following in Fellow Travelers’ Footsteps

BY ELI JACOBSON | On January 12, the Prototype Festival presents the New York premiere of “Fellow Travelers,” an opera with music by Gregory Spears and a libretto by Greg Pierce that debuted at Cincinnati Opera in June 2016. Prototype is bringing the Cincinnati Opera production directed by Kevin Newbury to the Gerald W. Lynch Theater […]

Mostly Met

Mostly Met

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Busy with several choral groups, Kent Tritle conducted the Oratorio Society’s invigorating Carnegie “Messiah” on December 18. The orchestra proved adequate if not exceptional, though trumpeter Scott McIntosh scored alongside Dashon Burton’s lively, well-projected bass-baritone in their marvelous joint aria. This venerable amateur chorus makes an impressive sound, not always flawless […]

Inclusive Hip-Hop from Self-Styled “Boyband”

Inclusive Hip-Hop from Self-Styled “Boyband”

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Brockhampton announced themselves to the American music scene with an amount of hype that a well-funded major label would envy: three albums released within six months, a reality show on the Viceland cable channel, and 12 music videos. They officially have 14 members now, including those who are involved with music production, […]

Potomac Passions

Potomac Passions

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | A November DC weekend embraced three contrasting stories of romantic obsession. Washington National Opera returned to Handel opera after nearly a decade, with the masterpiece “Alcina” (seen November 17), aptly played on the Kennedy Center’s smaller Eisenhower stage. Neil Patel’s simple moon-dominated set was quite fascinating, but there was precious little enchantment […]

Autumn Revivals: New Voices, Old Shows

Autumn Revivals: New Voices, Old Shows

BY ELI JACOBSON | Fresh young talent can breathe life into revivals of older opera productions in the repertory. The fall season at the Metropolitan Opera featured several house debuts in major roles. James Levine returned to conduct a revival of the admired Julie Taymor production of “Die Zauberflöte.” South African soprano Golda Schultz in the […]

Boston, Houston, Manhattan Transfer

Boston, Houston, Manhattan Transfer

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Lincoln Center’s annual White Light Festival kicked off with a pleasing program November 1 at the Rose Theater, focused on a reprise of the Pergolesi “Stabat Mater,” some of the most inspiriting — and certainly influential — music of the 18th century, directed and choreographed by Jessica Lang. First seen at Glimmerglass […]

R.E.M.’s Pinnacle, A Quarter Century On

R.E.M.’s Pinnacle, A Quarter Century On

BY STEVE ERICKSON | At the time “Automatic For the People” came out in 1992, I had abandoned my earlier fandom of R.E.M. — who helped popularize college radio in the ‘80s and pave the way for the commercial success of grunge and indie rock in the ‘90s — because hits like “Stand” and “Shiny […]

Shamir Settles Happily into a New Genre

Shamir Settles Happily into a New Genre

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Genderqueer artist Shamir has made one of the more radical transformations in recent music. He followed up his 2015 debut album, “Ratchet,” which was steeped in ‘80s house music and dance club-oriented beats, with “Hope,” a collection of rock songs self-released as a free download to the website SoundCloud that seemingly consisted […]

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