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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2013
"Falstaff," the last of Giuseppe Verdi's operas, is a marvel. From the first notes, the musical inventiveness never stops. And, thanks in large measure to the libretto Arrigo Boito fashioned from Shakespeare, the opera is a continual theatrical delight, with many a delicious character and comic situations that still deliver. To wrap up its season, Wolf Trap Opera offers an exhilarating production of this gem. If you haven't been yet -- and, especially, if you are one of those folks who has never warmed to "Falstaff" (the piece rarely sets box offices ablaze)
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 3, 2014
The first public hearing in 143 years of Franco Faccio's “Amleto,” presented Thursday night by Baltimore Concert Opera in the elegant ballroom of the Engineers Club, offered rewards and frustrations. A more meaningful judgment on whether conductor Anthony Barrese's decade-plus effort to unearth this forgotten score was well worth it will be possible for those who get to hear the fully staged production he leads later this month at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque. That performance will have a crucial ingredient missing here - an orchestra.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2014
That an opera inspired by Shakespeare's "Hamlet" should have suffered a tragic fate has a certain irony. Whether Franco Faccio's "Amleto" deserved it is another matter. This week, Baltimore Concert Opera will make a fresh case for the piece, which has gone unheard since 1871. "I think the music is gorgeous, sweeping and melodic," says Anthony Barrese, the Chicago-based conductor who unearthed "Amleto" and will lead the performance. "But, at this point, I have no objectivity at all. " Barrese has spent more than a decade trying to put Faccio's forgotten work back in the spotlight.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2014
That an opera inspired by Shakespeare's "Hamlet" should have suffered a tragic fate has a certain irony. Whether Franco Faccio's "Amleto" deserved it is another matter. This week, Baltimore Concert Opera will make a fresh case for the piece, which has gone unheard since 1871. "I think the music is gorgeous, sweeping and melodic," says Anthony Barrese, the Chicago-based conductor who unearthed "Amleto" and will lead the performance. "But, at this point, I have no objectivity at all. " Barrese has spent more than a decade trying to put Faccio's forgotten work back in the spotlight.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | October 3, 2014
The first public hearing in 143 years of Franco Faccio's “Amleto,” presented Thursday night by Baltimore Concert Opera in the elegant ballroom of the Engineers Club, offered rewards and frustrations. A more meaningful judgment on whether conductor Anthony Barrese's decade-plus effort to unearth this forgotten score was well worth it will be possible for those who get to hear the fully staged production he leads later this month at Opera Southwest in Albuquerque. That performance will have a crucial ingredient missing here - an orchestra.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 15, 1997
One asks "Is it as good as the book?" whenever a popular piece of fiction becomes a movie. As relevant as that question is to films, it was just as pertinent more than a century ago to operas, the movies' predecessor as the spectacular entertainment of the middle class.The question is rarely answered in the affirmative, particularly when the author of the book happens to be the greatest writer who ever lived. Thus it is something of a miracle that Giuseppe Verdi surpassed William Shakespeare when he wrote his final opera, "Falstaff," which opens tomorrow and runs through next week at the Lyric Opera House in a production by the Baltimore Opera Company.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen Wigler | February 29, 1996
Low notesMost bassos would sell their souls to sing the title role in Arrigo Boito's "Mefistofele." Samuel Ramey doesn't need to -- he already owns the part.The great basso makes his belated Washington Opera debut in his signature role in a new production Sunday at the Kennedy Center.Performances at the Kennedy Center are Sunday at 2 p.m.; March 5, March 8 and March 13 at 8 p.m.; March 11 and March 16 at 7 p.m.; and March 19 (with Barseg Tumanyan replacing Ramey in the title role) at 8 p.m. Tickets, at $52-$110, and further information are available by calling (202)
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 2, 1996
In the 12 years since he left the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Sergiu Comissiona seems to have attained something like sainthood.So far as this listener knows, Comissiona, the BSO's music director from 1968 to 1984, did not enjoy such status during his years here. But the Romanian-born conductor's annual guest engagements with the fine orchestra he created are events -- concerts in which his music-making appears effortless, in which his performances seem wafted along on waves of love.Comissiona's concert Thursday evening -- the program was also performed yesterday -- was no exception.
NEWS
By MARY JOHNSON and MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | November 11, 2005
From the stirring rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" that started the evening to the standing ovation that closed it, the Annapolis Chorale's season-opening program lived up to its Heaven and Earth title. Music Director J. Ernest Green conducted the chorale, the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and soloists in a performance that seemed to be earthbound only during its patriotic opening segment, which featured chorale members singing the National Anthem from the aisles. Other American works performed Saturday included Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, originally commissioned as a salute to those who served during World War II, and Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, which increasingly seems to express the profundity of post-9/11 feelings for our country and its defenders who remain in harm's way. In his preconcert lecture, Green described the central work of the first half of the program - Anton Bruckner's Te Deum as, "a glimpse into the mind and faith of Bruckner with the chorus and soloists functioning as sections of the orchestra."
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | March 7, 1996
Arrigo Boito's opera, "Mefistofele," rarely gets the respect it deserves. Too often it is merely regarded as a vehicle for a bass with superb dramatic instincts.The Washington Opera's new production of the opera at the Kennedy Center's Opera House satisfies that requisite -- in a performance that shows the great Samuel Ramey at his best.But this fine production also reminds one why "Mefistofele" is among the handful of non-Verdian Italian operas written in the second half of the 19th century to survive on the international stage: It is the only operatic setting of Goethe's "Faust" that captures a significant measure of the imaginative sweep of its great original.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2013
"Falstaff," the last of Giuseppe Verdi's operas, is a marvel. From the first notes, the musical inventiveness never stops. And, thanks in large measure to the libretto Arrigo Boito fashioned from Shakespeare, the opera is a continual theatrical delight, with many a delicious character and comic situations that still deliver. To wrap up its season, Wolf Trap Opera offers an exhilarating production of this gem. If you haven't been yet -- and, especially, if you are one of those folks who has never warmed to "Falstaff" (the piece rarely sets box offices ablaze)
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 15, 1997
One asks "Is it as good as the book?" whenever a popular piece of fiction becomes a movie. As relevant as that question is to films, it was just as pertinent more than a century ago to operas, the movies' predecessor as the spectacular entertainment of the middle class.The question is rarely answered in the affirmative, particularly when the author of the book happens to be the greatest writer who ever lived. Thus it is something of a miracle that Giuseppe Verdi surpassed William Shakespeare when he wrote his final opera, "Falstaff," which opens tomorrow and runs through next week at the Lyric Opera House in a production by the Baltimore Opera Company.
FEATURES
By Cary Smith and Cary Smith,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | November 11, 1996
Suddenly Shakespeare is all the rage.The Bard is back at your local multiplex with "Romeo and Juliet" and Al Pacino's take on Richard III. "Twelfth Night" and "Hamlet" are soon to follow. Peabody Opera Theatre gets in on the act with its current production of "Falstaff," based on the portly and port-drinking knight of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Henry IV."This is, of course, Shakespeare as filtered through the Italian of librettist Arrigo Boito, and the focus is on the great music of Giuseppe Verdi.
NEWS
By MARY JOHNSON and MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | October 7, 2005
From the first notes, the Annapolis Chorale's performance of the Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin was captivating. The opening song, "Magic to Do," was so compellingly interpreted by the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and chorus singing without words that I wanted the sound to continue without becoming a solo for the Leading Player - as the program dictates. Always forging new horizons, music director J. Ernest Green started the 2005-2006 season Saturday at Maryland Hall with the Annapolis Chorale's first venture into rock opera - an exciting departure from past opening pops concerts.
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