Posted inHistory

Talking to Ghosts

About seven years ago, HBO almost made my dream television show. It was called “Virtuoso,” and was produced by Elton John and written and directed by Alan Ball. From all accounts—and I followed them closely—it was to be something of a soap opera about the founding of a conservatory obviously based on the real-life Vienna […]

Posted inPlaylist

A Mechanical Instruments Playlist

The musical instruments of the concert stage are products of thousands of years of experimentation in sound; the often taken-for-granted results of a long process of tinkering. Keyboard instruments are just one example: From early string instruments to the harpsichord, the pianoforte, and the modern concert grand, the piano has been a long-term, collaborative project. […]

Posted inReport

The Pitch of Living

“I’ve been interested in the 432 Hz conspiracy theories for a while,” began an email from my editor at VAN. “Would you like to spend some time using the 432 Player, a website that adjusts all your music to 432 Hz?” I consider myself a very online person, and yet, through a mixture of willful […]

Posted inEssay

Mad Scene

Sylvia Korman is a graduate student in English at CUNY in Manhattan. They curate one of the most striking corners of opera Twitter, the account People Mad at Opera (@operacomments). “I’m not actually a music person at all,” Korman tells me. “I have no non-dilettantish background in opera.” But their knowledge of opera is keen.  […]

Posted inReview

On the Stuplime

On September 25, under a ruined proscenium, on a parking deck, among ravers, punks, scenesters, and opera-lovers, as champagne for spent performers flowed nearby—grace arrived. Nine singers, four actors, a 15-member orchestra, and a conductor had been looping the same 150-second passage from “Le nozze di Figaro” without pause for 11 hours and 50 minutes, […]

Posted inOpinion

A Piano Down a Mine

Is classical music funny? The Witty Ditty Industry, made up of (mostly) white men in their 30s, would probably reply singing “Of course not!” Their retort would be snappily harmonized, with enough panache to make whoever questioned their authority look a bit silly; but not quite enough commitment to suggest this retort is entirely ironic. […]

Posted inInterview

Romantic Comedy

Kieran Hodgson is more of a comic actor than a stand-up. An excellent impressionist, his earnest, if ironically-titled, YouTube series “Bad TV Impressions” made him a viral lockdown hit. Yet he’s more interested in constructing narratives, on topics ranging from Lance Armstrong to the European Union, than improvisatory muscle-flexing. At London’s SoHo Theatre, he recently […]