Archive for the ‘Berlin Times’ Category

“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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Dual Frequencies at the Ultraschall Festival

Friday, January 24th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid Duos—both literal and metaphoric—are the official theme for this year’s Ultraschall Festival for New Music, taking place in Berlin until Jan.31. The event, hosted by the city’s two main classical radio stations, Kulturradio rbb and Deutschlandradio Kultur, is better known for its wide range of offerings than its tight programming. But the […]

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Radiale Vokalnacht

Friday, December 13th, 2013

By Rebecca Schmid Vocal music, in all its forms of expression and social relevance, was the subject of a Radiale Vokalnacht at the Radialsystem on Dec.7. It was an opportunity to catch the vocalist-instrumentalist-composer Shara Worden, otherwise known as My Brightest Diamond, who performed with drummer Earl Harvin and accompaniment from BerlinJazzVocals. After the a […]

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‘Il Trovatore’ at the Staatsoper Berlin

Friday, December 6th, 2013

By Rebecca Schmid While Il Trovatore counts as one of Verdi’s most gripping scores, the libretto’s sprawling tale of love and vengeance is not without dramaturgical challenges. A staging by Philip Stötzl which opened at the Staatsoper Berlin on Nov.29 featured several first encounters with the opera. Anna Netrebko, who attended the premiere of the […]

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East meets West: The National Symphony Orchestra at the Philharmonie

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

By Rebecca Schmid The Taiwan Philharmonic, which also calls itself the National Symphony Orchestra, came to Berlin on Nov.18 as part of the second European tour in its history. With two recent commissions on the program—one by a German composer, the other by an American-trained Taiwanese native—it became clear how global classical music trends have […]

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Swings, Mimes and Flying Meteors: Parsifal in Poznán

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

By Rebecca Schmid Whether Parsifal is a supremacist scripture or a mystic journey, we are used to seeing at least one appearance of the Holy Grail or Spear. Wagner, a man of the theater as much as a composer, left clear indications in his libretto about when and how these objects should be deployed in […]

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To Russia with Love

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

By Rebecca Schmid Vladimir Putin has given the western world much reason for protest over the past year. There is the law banning homosexual “propaganda.” Two members of Pussy Riot still sit behind bars. According to some residents (and ex-residents) of the former Soviet Union, Russia is reverting to a full-blown totalitarian dictatorship. The businessman […]

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