Posted inInterview

Winter Words

Garth Greenwell is a remarkable novelist. Like vocal lines, his sentences explode with vibrating, irrepressible energy while still assuming classically beautiful forms. What Belongs To You (2016), his debut novel, about collisions between guilt, grief, desire, and openness in the relationship between an American high school teacher and a Bulgarian hustler, was long-and short-listed for […]

Posted inReview

Bursting Through Confines

The first thing I saw was groups of soldiers. Aix-en-Provence, a wealthy tourist resort and college town, is not their primary target, and France is only the latest in a long series of countries to be occupied by the French military. But they were everywhere: at the airport in baggage claim, flanking the exit to […]

Posted inReview

Walls Stay Down

Simon Rattle’s Goodbye Concert in Berlin By · Photography Stills from a performance of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle · Date 6/21/2018 Mahler’s Sixth Symphony—90-odd minutes of descent, disintegration, mad marching—is not a festive piece. The cameo-studded, light-hearted party-concerts for Simon Rattle’s departure as Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic […]

Posted inOpinion

Shush Money

In December, James Levine was fired from his emeritus music directorship at the Metropolitan Opera, after five men stepped forward to credibly accuse him of sexual assault when they were teenagers and young adults, over a period ranging from the 1970s to the 1990s. Some might have expected him to recede into the background. Instead, […]

Posted inInterview

The Art Of Somebody Else

An Interview with Donald Runnicles By · Title Image © Ken Friedman· Date 3/1/2018 Donald Runnicles is an imposing man, he stands tall and has a booming voice with a slight Scottish accent. Music director of the Deutsche Oper since 2009, when he arrived in the middle of a financial crisis in which the house […]

Posted inReview

Awful Magic

On Franz Schreker’s “Die Gezeichneten” By · Photography © Iko Freese · Date 2/15/2018 Our times are full of peculiar things,” Carlotta sings in the first act of Franz Schreker’s 1918 expressionist psychothriller, “Die Gezeichneten.” She is referring to a woman who paints hands—delicate ladies’ palms, fat workingmen’s fists—but by the end of the evening […]

Posted inEssay

Silence, Breaking

When I was 12 years old, James Levine began his tenure as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. My father was a cellist there. This is not an essay about abuse—I never met James Levine. This is an essay about what happens when knowledge is warped by a cult of interpretive genius. It is […]

Posted inReview

Beckmesser’s Dream

On Barrie Kosky’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” at Bayreuth By · Photography © Enrico Nawrath · Date 08/03/2017 A pogrom unfolds on the streets of Nuremberg. It’s the end of Act II of Barrie Kosky’s new production of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” at the Bayreuth Festival. Elsewhere in the piece, Hans Sachs sings that “all […]