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By Mary Carole McCauley and Mary Carole McCauley,mary.mccauley@baltsun.com | September 28, 2008
Beware of flying crockery. I'm pleased to report that no members of the audience were accidentally beheaded during a recent performance of Le Cabaret de Carmen. That would be carrying the quest for authenticity a bit too far. But at times, it was a close call. Most singers portraying the Gypsy siren Carmen use castanets when they dance. Sophie-Louise Roland uses shards of a plate that she obligingly shatters on stage. At one point, Roland flung her arm so vehemently over her head that a heavy metal bracelet flew off her arm and ricocheted against the wall.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | April 6, 2012
In terms of talent, glamour and wide appeal, few opera singers today rank as high as mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. No wonder there's quite a buzz at the Peabody Conservatory, where Graves will join the voice faculty in the fall. People are still talking about a master class that Graves gave at the conservatory last September. "She didn't know she was auditioning," said Phyllis Bryn-Julson, the distinguished soprano who chairs the voice department. "It was a phenomenal day for the students.
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By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 10, 2004
The most auspicious musical debut of the 2003-2004 Anne Arundel concert season was undoubtedly that of the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra. Founded by Kathy Solano, a violinist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and a county music teacher, the chamber orchestra -- consisting of area professionals, semiprofessionals, music teachers and a few students -- has delivered two lovely full-length concerts and is poised to offer a third. At 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, the fledgling orchestra will conclude its inaugural season at Southern High School in Harwood with a handsome program to be conducted by Ernest Liotti of Baltimore's Loyola College.
ENTERTAINMENT
By tim smith and tim smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | November 13, 2008
When it was new, Bizet's Carmen generated little enthusiasm among the operatic intelligentsia. Typical of the reaction was this from The New York Times, after the opera's first U.S. performance in 1878: "As a work of art, it is naught." Even its tunefulness was called into question: "Of melody, as the term is generally understood, there is but little" said the Boston Gazette. Makes you wonder what kind of meds those guys were on. Needless to say, no amount of carping could ever stop Carmen from becoming one of the world's most popular operas.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 21, 2002
Let us have fantasy, boldness, unexpectedness, enchantment," Georges Bizet once wrote. "Above all, tenderness." The composer would have found all five qualities - to varying, but always traceable, degrees - Saturday night at the Kennedy Center as the Washington Opera revived its 1995 production of Carmen. Breathing new life into Bizet's masterpiece, let alone generating boldness and enchantment in the process, requires a lot more than rounding up some good singers and a collection of Spanish fans.
FEATURES
May 30, 1998
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- In the 123 years since Georges Bizet's masterpiece had its premiere at the Opera-Comique in Paris, "Carmen" was never like this.The Houston Grand Opera is putting on a $1.3 million one-time-only outdoor production that employs techniques straight from the world of rock, including huge video backdrops that will show live close-ups of the action on stage as well as slidelike still projections."This is MTV opera," said David Gottlieb, president and chairman of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, the suburban theater where the performance is set for tonight.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | January 16, 1993
Joaquin Rodrigo's somewhat awkwardly named "Concierto de Aranjuez" for guitar and orchestra is one of the most graceful and attractive concert pieces of this century. It is hard to imagine it played better than it was last night in Meyerhoff Hall by guitarist Manuel Barrueco and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Zinman.Barrueco, who teaches at the Peabody Conservatory and who is much admired by connoisseurs of his instrument, played the piece with freedom and idiomatic mastery (the piece's flamenco associations were unmistakably underlined without being overdone)
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | October 7, 1990
Brahms saw Bizet's "Carmen" 23 times. Tchaikovsky called it "the perfect opera." Even the egomaniacal Wagner believed it was the only opera worthy to stand alongside his own."Carmen," which the Baltimore Opera Company performs this week and next, is a great work and deserves such praise. But one is tempted to ascribe the force with which the opera struck those men -- who detested each other and each other's music -- to the fact that they were men. For all of the excellences of Bizet's great work are tied to what one could call the male nightmare: what it is like to love a woman who has awakened physical passion as no other has, but who no longer returns that passion; a woman who has, in fact, fallen in love with another man.One could argue that "Carmen's" tale of sexual jealousy and murderous retribution could be called the female nightmare as well.
ENTERTAINMENT
By tim smith and tim smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | November 13, 2008
When it was new, Bizet's Carmen generated little enthusiasm among the operatic intelligentsia. Typical of the reaction was this from The New York Times, after the opera's first U.S. performance in 1878: "As a work of art, it is naught." Even its tunefulness was called into question: "Of melody, as the term is generally understood, there is but little" said the Boston Gazette. Makes you wonder what kind of meds those guys were on. Needless to say, no amount of carping could ever stop Carmen from becoming one of the world's most popular operas.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Music Critic | January 6, 1993
When his librettists finally heard the music that Bizet wrote fo "The Pearl Fishers," they were ashamed. If they had known how good the music was going to be, they told the 24-year-old composer, they would have written a better libretto.The plot of "The Pearl Fishers," which the Washington Opera is staging through next month at the Kennedy Center, is indeed a mess. The scene is exotic -- an imaginary Ceylon set sometime before colonialism. Two friends are in love with the same vestal virgin; there's a nasty high priest who positively gloats at the idea of torturing young girls should they violate their vows; and there's a chain of coincidences that would strain the credulity of anyone not addicted to the daily soaps.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley and Mary Carole McCauley,mary.mccauley@baltsun.com | September 28, 2008
Beware of flying crockery. I'm pleased to report that no members of the audience were accidentally beheaded during a recent performance of Le Cabaret de Carmen. That would be carrying the quest for authenticity a bit too far. But at times, it was a close call. Most singers portraying the Gypsy siren Carmen use castanets when they dance. Sophie-Louise Roland uses shards of a plate that she obligingly shatters on stage. At one point, Roland flung her arm so vehemently over her head that a heavy metal bracelet flew off her arm and ricocheted against the wall.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,tim.smith@baltsun.com | September 25, 2008
Georges Bizet declared that he wasn't interested in composing anything chic. He wanted to produce "fantasy, boldness, unexpectedness, enchantment - above all, tenderness." With The Pearl Fishers, he got three out of five, not bad considering that this was his first significant work for the stage. Bold and unexpected it isn't, but, as Washington National Opera's production makes plain, The Pearl Fishers (Les Pecheurs de Perles) deserves its occasional place in the sun. And this staging, with sets and costumes by noted British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, originally for San Diego Opera, certainly shines a prismatic light on all the fantasy, enchantment and tenderness that the piece has to offer.
NEWS
By MARY JOHNSON and MARY JOHNSON,Special to The Sun | February 27, 2008
Success has followed success in Annapolis Opera's 35th anniversary season, starting with an opening concert that many thought was the best ever, the traditional holiday Mozart concert and last month's 20th Vocal Competition. These events were mere preludes to this season's major undertaking: a fully staged production of Georges Bizet's Carmen. One of the world's most popular operas, Carmen boasts a fabulous melodic score that retains its excitement despite its familiarity. Although Bizet had never set foot in Spain, he captured in his opera all the flavor and color of 19th century Seville.
NEWS
By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 10, 2004
The most auspicious musical debut of the 2003-2004 Anne Arundel concert season was undoubtedly that of the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra. Founded by Kathy Solano, a violinist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and a county music teacher, the chamber orchestra -- consisting of area professionals, semiprofessionals, music teachers and a few students -- has delivered two lovely full-length concerts and is poised to offer a third. At 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, the fledgling orchestra will conclude its inaugural season at Southern High School in Harwood with a handsome program to be conducted by Ernest Liotti of Baltimore's Loyola College.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 3, 2004
The Baltimore Opera Company's solid, comfort-food serving of Bizet's Carmen arrived at the Lyric Opera House Saturday night not quite piping hot, but still nourishing. First-timers will get a very good idea of why this work remains so popular. And the production, with sets and costumes originally created for New York City Opera, will certainly please those who took offense at the company's last Carmen, a modernist staging in 1998. This time, scenery by Paul Shortt and costumes by Eduardo V. Sicangco follow a reassuring, traditional path.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 21, 2002
Let us have fantasy, boldness, unexpectedness, enchantment," Georges Bizet once wrote. "Above all, tenderness." The composer would have found all five qualities - to varying, but always traceable, degrees - Saturday night at the Kennedy Center as the Washington Opera revived its 1995 production of Carmen. Breathing new life into Bizet's masterpiece, let alone generating boldness and enchantment in the process, requires a lot more than rounding up some good singers and a collection of Spanish fans.
FEATURES
By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | March 27, 1995
Bizet's "Carmen" is so familiar that one tends to take it for granted. But any performance -- even a mediocre one -- makes it impossible to take for granted so daring, so dramatically imaginative and so psychologically penetrating a piece of musical theater. And when a performance is as provocative, intelligently staged, cast, designed and performed as the Washington Opera's new production, which opened Saturday night at the Kennedy Center, "Carmen" is overwhelming.The concept behind director Ann-Margret Pettersson's staging of "Carmen" is simple, powerful and true to Bizet's music and his libretto.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 3, 2004
The Baltimore Opera Company's solid, comfort-food serving of Bizet's Carmen arrived at the Lyric Opera House Saturday night not quite piping hot, but still nourishing. First-timers will get a very good idea of why this work remains so popular. And the production, with sets and costumes originally created for New York City Opera, will certainly please those who took offense at the company's last Carmen, a modernist staging in 1998. This time, scenery by Paul Shortt and costumes by Eduardo V. Sicangco follow a reassuring, traditional path.
FEATURES
By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | May 12, 2001
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, recently immersed in Russian, Czech and Norwegian music, is turning its attention to French fare this weekend and made a filling meal out of it. The chef is George Pehlivanian, a talented American with a French connection - he won a conducting competition in France a decade ago. And when he last visited the BSO in 1999, it was with a French twist, too - music by Saint-Saens, who's on this bill, along with Berlioz....
FEATURES
May 30, 1998
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- In the 123 years since Georges Bizet's masterpiece had its premiere at the Opera-Comique in Paris, "Carmen" was never like this.The Houston Grand Opera is putting on a $1.3 million one-time-only outdoor production that employs techniques straight from the world of rock, including huge video backdrops that will show live close-ups of the action on stage as well as slidelike still projections."This is MTV opera," said David Gottlieb, president and chairman of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, the suburban theater where the performance is set for tonight.
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