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The Architecture of Experience

On Success Through Failure at the Ultima Oslo Festival By · Photography Ultimafestivalen 2017 / © Andreas Turau · Date 11/16/2017 Attendees of the Ultima Oslo festival took cover from the rainy September weather at venues that ranged from a railway underpass to a waste water purification plant to a mausoleum in the woods. These […]

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Is An Opera An Opera An Opera?

A New Production of “The Mother of Us All” By · Title Image © Robert Umenhofer · Date 11/09/2017 Dazzlingly abstruse and brimming over with surreal touches, “The Mother of Us All,” an opera with music by Virgil Thomson and a libretto by Gertrude Stein, is an idiosyncratic choice for an experiment in community building […]

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When Is The Real Reopening?

The Berliner Staatsoper Comes Home By · Photography Alexandra Sell · Date 10/05/2017 And so, at long last, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden has reopened its doors to the public, its resident company’s long exile—seven years—in Charlottenburg’s Schillertheater over. It will close again at the end of the week, to re-reopen, as it were, in […]

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Disappearing Act

On the music of Horatiu Radulescu By · Title Image A page of Radulescu’s score to “Sensual Sky” · Date 10/12/2017 The rarely performed music of Horatiu Radulescu, the iconoclastic Romanian composer and self-described founder of spectralism, will be at the center of an ambitious upcoming three-day festival at Acker Stadt Palast in Berlin on […]

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Nestled

Identity at the Lucerne Festival Text and Title Image · Date 09/14/2017 Heinz Holliger sits on the edge of his seat, moving his hands knowingly to the atonal wanderings of Frédérique Cambreling’s harp. His face cycles between anticipation, excitement, and a little thrilled relief. Holliger is watching the world premiere of the full version of […]

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Playing God With Sound

In film and childhood memories, concert halls darken and the audience murmurs. They begin exerting force on you long before the first note is played. So why can watching a live orchestra—with its reverent circumstance—feel a little like sitting in an elaborate wedding cake or complicated wicker-basket? Maybe it’s because getting acoustic music to fill […]

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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 […]

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Can Cis Men Write Trans Opera?

“I am a human; nothing that is human is alien to me.” Composer Robert Paterson cites this line from the Roman playwright Terence in defense of his choice, along with librettist David Cote, to write an opera with characters that don’t share his demographic background. “I think there’s too much of that these days,” Paterson […]