Posted inBreaking

The Politics of D Major

Like a panel of elementary-school teachers, music critics weren’t mad—just disappointed yesterday. That was when the Staatsoper Unter den Linden announced that conductor Christian Thielemann would replace Daniel Barenboim as music director starting with the 2024-25 season. Stern and badly-spelled I expected better of yous rang out across the land, directed at the city’s center-right […]

Posted inNew in VAN

The Sound of the End of the World

The music of Laura Bowler tends to divide opinion. Go looking for reviews and you’ll find some arguing her work is vital, an urgent intervention into social issues that brings much-needed aesthetic experimentation to contemporary music. For others, her work is frustrating: all-too-angry, unenjoyable and ultimately off-putting. For me, her music is both moving and […]

Posted inInterview

A Hero’s Journey

Editor’s note: A few weeks after announcing his retirement from the opera stage due to incurable bile duct cancer, tenor Stephen Gould died at the age of 61 on September 19, 2023. Gould met with VAN writer Volker Hagedorn in early 2019 while headlining “Tannhäuser” at the Dresden Semperoper. In honor of the singer, much-loved […]

Posted inProfile

The Value of Normality

I The drive from Tbilisi airport to the Tsinandali Estate should take about two hours, but it’s a much swifter journey in the very early morning. We zoom serenely along the quiet highways, slowing only to swerve stray dogs who have wandered onto the road. Each swerve is a sudden lurch that jolts me out […]

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