insightful in-depth reviews

Angela Meade’s January recital in Philadelphia (repeated in Santa Fe a few days later) was a revelation. The soprano has been so busy on opera stages, and with symphony orchestras, since her 2008 Met debut in Ernani that intimate appearances have been scarce.

This recital with pianist Danielle Orlando for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society followed the classic format of contrasting groups of songs in varied languages, with a brief taste of opera at the end. Opera stars in the old days would regularly bring such recitals to concert halls around the nation, presented by impresarios like Arthur …

Haydn’s Seasons makes a rare appearance

Yannick Nézet-Séguin chose Haydn’s The Seasons to fill the entire program in his Philadelphia concerts in mid-November 2017. This was the first performance of the complete Seasons in the history of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The most famous conductors in Philadelphia — Stokowski, Ormandy, Muti — inclined towards the passionate sounds of romantic composers, rather than classicists like Haydn. I, however, have always had a soft spot in my heart for Haydn. His music was the first that was placed in front of me by my earliest piano teacher, Madame Gusikoff, whose family included four Philadelphia Orchestra …

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn returns to movie screens

Fathom Events is presenting Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn for Christmastime enjoyment on movie screens. Berlin conceived Holiday Inn as a live stage show, so the concept of adapting it as a musical for the stage seemed natural.

In 1942 it premiered as a movie instead, and became one of the most-loved films of all time. In 2014 it was adapted for the theater stage of Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, and I reviewed it favorably. In 2016 the Roundabout Theater brought it to Broadway, and that production is on cinema screens this holiday season, thanks to Fathom Events.

Bernstein Centennial continues in Philadelphia

Yannick Nézet-Séguin seems to be a logical leader of the celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, because he’s today’s most prominent conductor who straddles the worlds of concerts and operas. The main thing that differentiates is that Yannick, so far, has no presence on Broadway.

He tried to make that link with a semi-staged version of West Side Story at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia in mid-October 2017. Bernstein’s 1957 show has never sounded as good. Nézet-Séguin even made Bernstein’s own recording seem sluggish in comparison. Yannick and the Philadelphians gave a …

From The Publisher

The Cultural Critic is where thoughtful readers turn for in-depth reviews of artistic events and travel experiences. Our aim is to cover a wide range throughout every category. From theater to book critiques, travel to opera experiences, music to art analysis, The Cultural Critic is your destination for the most comprehensive reviews.

We are proud to have cultural historian Steve Cohen as our lead critic. He is a broadcaster and journalist with degrees in music, theater and communications.

Geoffrey Dobrien, President

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