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Gershwin’s folk opera “Porgy and Bess,” a hybrid work considered difficult to classify at its 1935 premiere, has been subjected to tinkering ever since. The Metropolitan Opera’s new production that opened the season evidently is giving the contemporary audience what they want. Comment
Arts

Anthony Wong’s Forbidden Colors

Arts

Anthony Wong’s Forbidden Colors

From 1988’s “Forbidden Colors,” named for a 1953 novel by gay Japanese writer Yukio Mishima to this year’s “Is It A Crime?,” commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Hong Kong Canto-pop star Anthony Wong Yiu-ming has combined music and activism over his long career. Comment
Arts

Opera Season Gears Up

Arts

Opera Season Gears Up

This Met season has Jules Massenet’s “Manon” near its start and Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” near its close. Both are major works but very different in their treatment of the Abbé Prévost novel and its leading pair of reckless teenage lovers. Comment
Will Crutchfield’s Teatro Nuovo company celebrated its second season in existence by venturing out of Purchase and into Manhattan this summer for two concert performances at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Comment
Arts

Sexuality Voiced Authentically

Arts

Sexuality Voiced Authentically

Swedish singer Tove Lo was a star in the US briefly when her debut single “Habits (Stay High)” got to #3 in 2014. That song, which describes a woman numbing herself with casual sex, drinking, and drugs to get over heartbreak, set up the template for Tove Lo’s persona. Comment
Erich Wolfgang Korngold revolutionized the sound of the Hollywood film score, despite being raised by a dominating conservative music critic father, Julius, to be the next Mozart, Wagner, or Strauss in turn-of-the-century Vienna. Comment
Arts

Summer Nights

Arts

Summer Nights

Those attending summer operatic festivals sometimes have a menu of chamber music or jazz or world music to sample, as well — at the Spoleto USA in Charleston, in Santa Fe, and locally at Bard. Comment
The biannual New York Opera Fest commissions small local companies to mount presentations all over the city every spring. Several this year were linked by the common theme of an oppressed outsider at odds with society. Comment
Arts

A New Thrust from Sleater-Kinney

Arts

A New Thrust from Sleater-Kinney

Twenty-five years into their existence, Sleater-Kinney have already broken up and re-formed once. They’re the most popular group to emerge from the riot grrrl scene of the ‘90s, reaching a much wider audience than feminist punk bands like Bratmobile or Huggy Bear while sharing the same basic politics. Comment
The big news at Glimmerglass this season was the world première of Jeanine Tesori’s “Blue,” dealing with the all-too-timely subject of police violence against African-American men. In veteran director Tazewell Thompson’s libretto, the young activist victim’s father is ironically himself a policeman, complicating the family situation and the narrative. Comment
News

Lil Nas X Breaks Billboard Record

“Old Town Road” is going to ride the charts ‘til it can’t no more. Comment
On a mid-spring weekend, MasterVoices presented a semi-staged concert version of “Lady in the Dark” at featuring Victoria Clark, reviving a 1941 work by Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin, and Moss Hart. Comment
Iain Bell’s “Stonewall” is New York City Opera’s 36th world premiere commission — and it’s a winner. Comment
Arts

Doom Metal That’s Looking Up

Torche’s “Admission” is thick and syrupy as molasses. Although the band usually gets called metal (they’re not thrilled with genre tags), they push rhythm guitar and drums to the front and envelope their music in a layered, trebly wall of noise that comes closer to shoegaze. Comment
Arts

Dido in the Catacombs

Arts

Dido in the Catacombs

The music series “The Angel’s Share,” imaginatively and wittily curated by producer Andrew Ousley, uses an extraordinary venue: the mid-19th century Catacombs cut into Brooklyn’s iconic Green-Wood Cemetery, which affords extraordinary atmosphere plus terrific views of Manhattan. Comment
This has been an unusually busy spring/ summer opera season in Manhattan with the 2019 New York Opera Fest in full swing. The New York City Opera has concurrently presented its annual LGBTQ Pride series. City Opera presented four performances of lesbian composer Laura Kaminsky’s “As One” at Merkin Hall in a co-production with American Opera Projects. Comments (1)
On June 21, New York City Opera presents the premiere of “Stonewall,” a newly commissioned opera by British composer Iain Bell with a libretto by Mark Campbell in a production directed by Leonard Foglia. The production honors the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the 75th anniversary of New York City Opera. Comment
Arts

Brünnhilde for President

Arts

Brünnhilde for President

The Metropolitan Opera concluded its “Ring Cycle” with a “Götterdämmerung,” which consolidated the strengths of its performers for a triumphant finale. Comment
Arts

The Composer Never at Rest

Arts

The Composer Never at Rest

East Village-based classical composer Nico Muhly thinks fast, talks fast, and, more than anything else, works fast — and he is almost always working. Comment
In recent years, a number of contemporary American operas have overcome the usual fate of new operas — one or maybe two productions and then oblivion. None has had the meteoric rise of “As One” — a chamber opera for two singers and a string quartet about the journey of a transgender woman from male to female through 15 songs. Comment
Arts

Schemers and Lovers

Arts

Schemers and Lovers

By comparison to this year’s utterly misfired “Traviata”, Michael Mayer’s Rat Pack-era, Vegas-set “Rigoletto” seemed less offensive — though still there are aspects of the visually neon-lurid story that make no sense. Comment
Arts

And Now the Tale is Queer

Arts

And Now the Tale is Queer

2011: Tyler, the Creator’s debut album “Goblin” becomes the most controversial hip-hop album since Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP.” Comment
Surely the best Mozart revival of the season was the uniformly well-cast “La clemenza di Tito” (seen April 11). Comment
Arts

Echoes, Without Enough Voice

Arts

Echoes, Without Enough Voice

Grayson is stuck in an echo chamber. The non-binary singer is particularly fond of using their voice to create a delay effect, so that they can speak in dialogue with themselves. Comment
Arts

San Francisco Singers at Stonewall

Arts

San Francisco Singers at Stonewall

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, in town because a documentary about the group’s tour of the Deep South played at the Tribeca Film Festival, staged a brief concert outside the Stonewall Inn on the morning of April 30. Comment
Arts

Conquerors and Dreamers

Arts

Conquerors and Dreamers

The Metropolitan Opera’s 2019 “Ring Cycle” seems to improve with each installment. The “Siegfried” matinee on April 13 provided the debut of German tenor Stefan Vinke, who […] Comment
Arts

Chasing a Golden Dream

Arts

Chasing a Golden Dream

The Metropolitan Opera is at the midpoint of Wagner’s mythical tetralogy “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” an epic driven by a ring made of cursed gold that destroys those who try to control it. In Giacomo Meyerbeer’s pastoral opéra-comique “Dinorah, où Le Pardon de Ploërmel” (1859), the Breton goatherd Hoël abandons his fiancée Dinorah at the altar to chase after a trove of ancient gold which is protected by a fatal curse. The first man to touch the gold will die. The jilted Dinorah proceeds to go melodiously mad singing roulades up and down the wild forest mountains of Brittany while chasing her goat Bellah. Comment
The most striking song on The Drums’ “Brutalism” is its most blatantly pissed-off. “626 Bedford Avenue” describes a self-destructive but addictive relationship. As catchy as it is, it’s punctuated by very brief bursts of turntable scratching, and its lyrics are barbed: “Get your head out of your ass and take a good look at yourself… you might be a psychopath/ you might want to check that,” with Jonny Pierce alternately calling the title address “626 stupid avenue.” The upbeat melody makes the bitter tone all the more cutting. Comment
Arts

The Ghost in the Machine

Arts

The Ghost in the Machine

The Metropolitan Opera is bringing the Robert Lepage “Ring” production back for three cycles this spring. This revival features a new cast of Wagnerian stars led by Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde. he press spin is that the Lepage production has been freshened up and redesigned. Things did not, however, begin all that promisingly at the second performance of “Das Rheingold” on March 14t Comment
Arts

Country Matters

Arts

Country Matters

In early March, Les Arts Florissants and William Christie celebrated their 40th anniversary with a return to BAM with “Rameau, maître à danser.” Comment
Arts

Angel-Ho Steps Out Front

Arts

Angel-Ho Steps Out Front

South African producer/ vocalist Angel-Ho likes American pop music enough that she’s posted a remix of Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” re-named “Howling Motorbikes,” on the download site Bandcamp. But her debut album “Death Becomes Her” approaches it with a distance that partially reflects the fact that she’s a trans woman. Comment
Arts

Opéra Très Comique

Arts

Opéra Très Comique

February in New York City is no laughing matter but the Metropolitan Opera thawed our frozen funny bones with two delightful revivals — Donizetti’s bubbly opéra-comique “La Fille du Régiment” and Mozart’s darkly ambiguous dramma giacosa “Don Giovanni.” A raft of role and Met debuts added fresh zing to these revivals. Comment
Arts

Emerging from the Shadows

Arts

Emerging from the Shadows

More than 35 years ago, cult diva and New York treasure Aprile Millo established herself as a throwback Italian-style prima donna of the old school. She evoked not only the vocal style but the presentational theatrics of historical sopranos. Vocal and performance anxiety issues have curtailed Millo’s career to the extent that every appearance is a comeback – no, a return! Comment
Arts

Sunny Next Step from Bob Mould

Arts

Sunny Next Step from Bob Mould

On a first listen, Bob Mould’s latest album, “Sunshine Rock,” falls in line with most of the music he’s been making for decades. It’s full of songs that charge ahead at […] Comment
One of the most anticipated events of the 2018-2019 Metropolitan Opera season was the debut of podium superstar Gustavo Dudamel leading a revival of Verdi’s “Otello.” His conducting […] Comment
Arts

Pop on Her Own Terms

Arts

Pop on Her Own Terms

Remember when songs with production as eccentric or minimal as Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?,” Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” and Clipse’s “Grindin’” could be major hits? Eva Moolchan, a queer woman who works as a one-woman band under the name Sneaks, certainly does. Comment
Arts

Love and Death Italian Style

Arts

Love and Death Italian Style

Francesco Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur” (1902) has always been an opera that critics love to hate while singers, especially veteran divas, covet the musical and dramatic opportunities offered by the juicy leading roles. Like Puccini’s “Tosca”, Cilea’s opera allows a diva to play a diva. Comment
A cast of creatives will stage a multimedia opera about a Tibetan Buddhist saint who began life as a mass murderer before finding redemption in religion. “Mila, Great Sorcerer” — presented at John Jay College on January 12 and 13 as part of the Prototype Festival — combines the centuries-old story of Milarepa with 14th and 15th century animated Tibetan and Himalayan images, culled from the Rubin Museum of Art, to tell a classic story in a new way, according to the director. Comment
Arts

Purely Puccini

I saw the Met’s lavish 1982 Franco Zeffirelli production of “La Bohème” for the 18th time on December 3. If not an epochal event, it was a very good repertory performance. Comment

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