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They That Mourn

We took our shoes off in a foyer with wooden floors. In the center of the room was a communal jug of water, in which leaves were floating. Plain white paper lay nearby, so that we could fold it into cups and drink. I was at a performance of the “Human Requiem,” an immersive interpretation […]

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Decluttered

On a sunny if slightly windy evening this July, a group of young instrumentalists came together in southeast London for a performance of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. The concert took place in an unexpected setting: a disused multi-story car park. Since 2011, the Multi-Story Orchestra have been faithful to their name, taking up residence at a […]

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Cosmos

At 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, the line just outside the entrance of the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn, New York, was already sprawling around the block. It was the kind of large crowd that might be expected for, say, the U.S. folk-rock band The Lumineers, which had played a benefit concert at the […]

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Sing Her Name

“Sing Her Name,” a concert presented by The Dream Unfinished, was the first time, in nearly 20 years of concert-going, that I have heard a performance of classical music composed by a Black woman. It is the only concert I’ve been to that featured music solely by female composers. The classical music world likes to […]

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Surroundings

I honestly thought I knew all about the New York City opera scene. I tracked Opera On Tap. I had been to LoftOpera in Brooklyn. I spent years going to local opera competitions and all levels of the Met’s National Council Auditions. I was up to date on New York City Opera’s finances—hell, I was […]

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Rhythm or Reason

It’s the question us politics writers have not stopped asking each other over the past year: when we talk about Donald Trump, even if it’s to point out something ridiculous about him, are we helping or hurting? The election cycle has proved the old adage that any publicity is good publicity, to the disbelief of […]

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Design Review

For our series Design Review, we ask design professionals from outside the classical music industry to look at the visual side of things and give us their honest opinions. These comments resulted from a conversation between Laura Knoops and Hélène Mailloux last week, who looked at recently released CDs from 2015–2016. Tõnu Kõrvits: Mirror (ECM) […]

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Heartbeats and Straitjackets

The issue with having a transformative experience in the arts is that it opens the door to a lifetime of disappointments. I fell completely for opera when I saw Natalie Dessay in Mary Zimmerman’s production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Metropolitan Opera in 2007, and all that has given me is nearly a […]

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Broken Heartbeat

George Benjamin’s opera “Written On Skin” telescopes back and forth through past and present. Based on a vida of the 12th century Catalan troubadour Guillaume de Cabestanh, it takes place in a medieval world where books are precious objects, but references air travel, pornography, and modern feminism. The work, which premiered three years ago, makes […]