Archive for the ‘Berlin Times’ Category

The Red Heifer at the Konzerthaus; Macbeth haunts the Staatsoper

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid A saying goes that where words stop, music begins. Trite as this may sound, The Red Heifer, a one-act opera by Iván Fischer which made its German premiere at the Konzerthaus last week, serves as a powerful example. As a reaction to right-wing politics in modern-day Hungary, Fischer’s home country, the work […]

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Krzysztof Urbanski makes Berlin Philharmonic Debut

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid If Krzysztof Urbanski’s debut with the Berlin Philharmonic late last month should serve as any indication, this is a conductor whom we can expect to hear again soon at the Philharmonie. The young Polish native, quickly on the rise on the both sides of the Atlantic, presided over an all-Czech program on […]

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Strauss and a Touring Organ at the Dresdner Musikfestspiele

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid Richard Strauss was a man of many masks, from his intimate piano songs to the demonic outpourings of his stage works and tone poems. Following a semi-staging of his second opera, Feuersnot, in Dresden, where it premiered in 1901, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig came to the Saxon capital on June 9 to stake […]

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Artists on the Rise at the Deutsche Oper and the Konzerthaus

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid The story of Billy Budd, a Herman Melville story which became the basis for Britten’s now classic opera, revolves around a seaman whose allure is so strong that John Claggart, the Master-at-arms on an 18th century war ship, conspires to eradicate his presence. Fate takes a strange twist when Budd, reduced to […]

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New works at the Jewish Museum; Rameau’s “Castor et Pollux”

Friday, May 16th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid Classical music historiography of the 20th century tends to create neatly delineated periods, with World War Two creating a kind of indelible caesura in all things aesthetic and philosophical. This is particularly true in Germany, where the Nachkriegszeit (post-war period) is defined as a veritable epoch: a time in which the country […]

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“Elisir” in inglese at the Deutsche Oper

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid A new production of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore at the Deutsche Oper turned out to be a very Anglophone evening. Staged by Irina Brook (daughter of the legendary director Peter Brook), the opera starred young American singers Heidi Stober and Dimitri Pittas. And for the first time, the company introduced English subtitles alongside […]

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“Tristan” and “L´Italiana” in Paris

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid While Berlin is famous for its three-house opera system, Paris boasts at least as rich a cultural landscape. Last week, Opéra Garnier revived an Andrei Serban production of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri while Cecilia Bartoli starred in another Rossini opera—Otello—at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. At the Opéra Bastille, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde […]

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The DSOB breaks the Mold with Roussel and Honegger

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid Given the range of works across the classical repertoire, one wonders how the same Brahms and Beethoven warhorses continue to dominate programming, especially in the midst of constant debate about how to keep the art form lively. The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin manages to prove an exception. An evening of Honegger, Franck, Roussel […]

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At the Konzerthaus, a German Premiere and a half-empty Hall

Friday, March 14th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin presented what was announced as a “French evening” on March 12 featuring the German premiere of Dutilleux’s Le temps l’horloge. The RSB has its share of competition between the Berlin Philharmonic, Deutsche-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (another orchestra with broadcast roots), the Staatskapelle and others. But it was a surprise to see […]

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Ritual in the Philharmonie: Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’ and MusicAeterna

Friday, February 28th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid In the final scene of Bach’s St. John Passion, staged by Peter Sellars at the Philharmonie on Feb.27, the members of the Rundfunkchor gather in meditation around a spotlight, the rest of the hall submerged in darkness. The body of Jesus has been quietly removed during a lament of Mary Magdalene, his […]

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