Archive for the ‘Berlin Times’ Category

A Faust for our Times

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

By Rebecca Schmid “If opera wants to find the connection to ‘great theater’ again, it has to adopt a flexible form that represents new theater’s most valuable qualities,” wrote Kurt Weill in 1929, one year after the Threepenny Opera premiered at Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. A recent visit to that very theater for the Berliner Ensemble […]

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Anna Bolena in Vienna

Monday, April 13th, 2015

When hearing a soprano sing the title role of Donizetti‘s Anna Bolena, it is impossible not to draw comparisons with Maria Callas, who helped ensure the work’s re-entry into the repertoire with a La Scala performance in 1957. And indeed, the star of a revival production at the Vienna State Opera this month has been […]

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A Glimpse at Jost and Aperghis

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

By Rebecca Schmid There has been too much music to keep up with between the Konzerthaus’ Festival Mythos Berlin and the contemporary music festival MärzMusik. At the Konzerthaus, I caught the premiere of Christian Jost’s BerlinSymphonie, an homage to the German capital in all is mercurial energy. The approximately 27-minute work for full orchestra creates […]

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A veteran Maestro and a DSOB Debut

Monday, December 1st, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid Last week at the Philharmonie featured the debut of the young conductor Joshua Weilerstein with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin alongside a guest appearance of Riccardo Chailly with the Berlin Philharmonic. It was an interesting opportunity to consider the qualities that can make or break a leader at the podium. A rumoured candidate […]

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At the Majestic, in Casual Concert

Friday, October 10th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid “This is not a minimalist piece,” announced Cameron Carpenter in onstage discussion of Terry Riley’s At the Royal Majestic, an organ concerto which made its German premiere with the Deutsches-Symphonie Orchester Berlin (DSO) at the Philharmonie on Oct.9. His feet laced up in knee-high converse sneakers, Carpenter proceeded to play an excerpt […]

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Musikfest Berlin takes German Focus

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

By Rebecca Schmid The annual 20th-century music festival Musikfest Berlin (Sept.2-22) this year undertook the ambitious agenda of exploring the evolution of the orchestra from Brahms and Strauss to Lachenmann and Widmann. Intriguing programs have emerged at the Philharmonie, with a roster of guest ensembles ranging from the Munich Philharmonic to the Cleveland Orchestra alongside […]

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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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