Werther and his sorrowful life

Werther by Jules Massenet. Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia, 2016
 

The self-destructive title character of Werther, created by Goethe in 1774, is not especially appealing for most 21st century audiences. The young man’s obsession and death wish had more resonance in Goethe’s 18th century. And it touched nerves in the early 1900s when Frank Wedekind’…

Cold Mountain: an intimate take

Cold Mountain. Opera by Jennifer Higdon. Opera Philadelphia, 2016.

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Cold Mountain is best appreciated when you think of it as an intimate, lyric musical story rather than a big spectacle. Try to erase the knowledge that it’s based on a huge-selling novel and a wide-screen movie.

That’s not easy — the opera has a large cast …

Love of Three Kings: a buried treasure

L’amore de tre re (The Love of Three Kings) was greeted warmly at its debuts in Milan and New York in 1913, both conducted by Arturo Toscanini, and acclaimed by some critics as the greatest Italian opera since Verdi. But the last time it was performed in Philadelphia was 1960, and the Metropolitan Opera has not done it since 1948.

Other MUSIC Stories:
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Painting, architecture and other visual art. A list of highlights from our two decades of coverage. Read More

Notable books on all subjects, with an emphasis on the arts. A list of highlights from our two decades of… Read More

Orchestral, opera and chamber music in live performance and on recordings. A list of highlights from our two decades of… Read More

Musical and spoken stage performances. A list of highlights from our two decades of coverage. Read More

In-depth descriptions of journeys with an emphasis on cultural experiences in each place. A list of highlights from our two… Read More