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Bringing Järvi Closer at Music Hall

    Posted: Sep 16, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Those "Bravo Paavo" billboards that went up all over town when Paavo Järvi become Cincinnati Symphony music director in 2001 did not speak. During the next five years, CSO audiences learned that Järvi in the flesh did not speak either - at least not at concerts (he is quite expansive and charming in other settings). Addressing the audience at concerts breaks his concentration, he says, which is perfectly understandable and his decision to make as a performing artist. The CSO unveiled a compromise solution at its all-Brahms season-opener Friday night at Music Hall. Before the concert began they were shown a video of Järvi discussing the music to be performed, projected onto screens mounted on either side of the stage.   - [Read more]

Affectionate Farewell for JMR

    Posted: Jul 31, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
The kiss – wet because he was soaked with sweat after conducting Dvorak’s "New World" Symphony – was for CSO librarian Rebecca Beavers, who presented Russell with a bouquet of flowers. The wave was for the crowd, which showed its affection with a lengthy, cheering, ovation. It was a fitting public acknowledgement of Russell’s 11 years with the CSO. His distinguished record includes creation of the orchestra's"Sound Discoveries" education program, the summer series "Classical Roots: Spiritual Heights" in African-American churches, pre-concert "Classical Conversations,"the CSO's tinsel-bright"Home for the Holidays" Christmas show and innumerable CSO podium dates, from Lollipop Family Concerts and the Fourth of July to New Year’s Eve.

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Kroumata Launches 2006 Oistrakh Festival

    Posted: Jul 2, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
PÄRNU, Estonia. Japanese conductor Kiyotaka Teraoka should have put the rose between his teeth, but he gallantly gave the floral tribute presented to him at the end of the 2006 David Oistrakh Festival opener at Pärnu Kontserdimaja July 2 to the Pärnu City Orchestra concertmaster instead. Teraoka had just finished conducting Rodion Shchedrin's irreverent, percussion-rich "Carmen Suite," final work on a classy and thoroughly enjoyable concert featuring the Kroumata Percussion Ensemble of Sweden.   - [Read more]

Frampton Alive with the Pops

    Posted: Jun 26, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Peter Frampton
At one point during his Riverbend concert with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra Saturday night, Peter Frampton played conductor. No, not leading the orchestra, but the audience, waving his arms conducting a sing-a-long of his classic "Baby I Love Your Way." It was a Frampton love fest as the '70s guitar hero teamed up with the Pops to open the orchestra's 22nd season at its summer venue. It was the first time the Cincinnati Pops had played with such an edgy blues-rock guitarist and the first time Frampton's songs had received an orchestral treatment. They were arranged by Steven Reineke, who conducted Saturday.
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Wachs Closes Mozartfest Brightly

    Posted: Jun 26, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Mozart, 250 years young, has been well served by Mischa Santora and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra this month. The CCO’s Mozart Mini-festival, which stepped into the breach left by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra when the CSO discontinued its June "Bach and Beyond" series in 2004, has served the community well, too, drawing appreciative crowds and offering an alternative to grand opera and al fresco events.   - [Read more]

"L'Etoile est morceau delicieux

    Posted: Jun 23, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
"L’Etoile," the much-anticipated comic opera by Emmanuel Chabrier that opened the second week of Cincinnati Opera’s summer festival Thursday night at Music Hall, est morceau delicieux. Who would have guessed from looking at that black scrim that covered the stage, with just the pale outline of a star (etoile)?   - [Read more]

Seeing Red with Mozart and Schnittke

    Posted: Jun 19, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Mozart was full of surprises, like writing the greatest of all bassoon concertos when he was just 18. Sunday afternoon’s Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra concert in the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Corbett Auditorium had a few surprises, too. Like the bright red shirt worn by principal bassoonist Hugh Michie, soloist in the Mozart Bassoon Concerto, and the red bassoon spotted in the orchestra during Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 ("Linz"). However, neither equaled Alfred Schnittke’s 1977 spoof, "Moz-ART a la Haydn," which had CCO music director Mischa Santora strenuously conducting the air after the musicians had left the stage.   - [Read more]

Cincinnati Opera's "Tosca" Delivers

    Posted: Jun 16, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Cincinnati Opera gave its audience what they like best Thursday night at Music Hall: an A-list opera, with spectacular romantic-realistic sets, great singing and a genuine diva. Starring in Puccini’s popular "Tosca," first production of the opera’s 2006 Summer Festival was soprano Aprile Millo in her Cincinnati Opera debut.  This "Tosca" was well suited to be "your first opera," as opera billboards around town have been suggesting. No sooner had the curtain risen on the spectacular Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production than the audience was hooked.   - [Read more]

Unstaged "Cosi " All One Could Wish For

    Posted: Jun 12, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
"Cosi fan tutte," Mozart’s witty send-up of romantic love, proved that less is more Sunday afternoon in Patricia Corbett Theater at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Curtain raiser for the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s Mozart Mini-Festival, the performance showed what can be done without sets, costumes and all the complexities and expense of staged opera. Led by music director Mischa Santora, the 33-piece CCO was seated onstage to the left with the singers on the right.  A pair of chairs, a table and a screen set the scene, updated from 18th-century Naples to the present, leaving the rest to the imagination.   - [Read more]

Conlon, May Festival Bring Message to Cincinnati

    Posted: Jun 1, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Ever since Cincinnati's 2001 race riots, the Cincinnati May Festival and its music director, James Conlon, have been deeply involved in helping to heal the community’s wounds. The festival’s home base, historic Music Hall (1877), is situated in Over-the-Rhine, the neighborhood where the violence began. Diverse, inclusive programming and casting have been major priorities since 2002, when Conlon paired Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with gospel offerings from the Central State University Chorus (Wilberforce, Ohio).   - [Read more]

Tippett's "Child of Our Time" Timely

    Posted: May 22, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
With English composer Michael Tippett’s oratorio "A Child of Our Time" Saturday night at Music Hall, a goal of the May Festival since Cincinnati’s 2001 race riots, i.e. to foster community understanding and reconciliation, received profound expression. There were moments during the 1942 work -- prompted by Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led pogrom against the Jews, but relevant to any age -- when words and music seared the consciousness. One came during soprano Cynthia Haymon’s "How can I cherish?" in which a woman laments her inability to feed or comfort her children in a world of poverty and destruction.   - [Read more]

Kentucky Symphony All Wet

    Posted: May 15, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
As a 27-year member of the renowned Percussion Group Cincinnati, ensemble-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, percussionist James Culley has struck, shaken or bowed just about everything. Saturday night in Northern Kentucky University's Greaves Hall, he got wet doing it. Soloist with the Kentucky Symphony in Chinese composer Tan Dun's 1999 "Water Concerto," Culley slapped and patted water in a large basin, dipped and struck gongs, agogo bells and salad bowls in water, poured water from plastic cups, and used flip flops to beat the open end of large plastic tubes sunk into water.   - [Read more]

Linton Music Re-Creates Cozy Tradition

    Posted: May 15, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Before there were public concerts as we know them today, before radio, TV, CDs and I-pods, there were house concerts, gatherings of small groups to make music in their homes. Cincinnati's Linton Chamber Music Series re-created this historic tradition Sunday afternoon at First Unitarian Church in Avondale.   - [Read more]

What a Fiddler!

    Posted: May 6, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Sometimes the best things are unplanned. So it was Friday night at Music Hall. Making his debut with the Cincinnati Symphony on a week's notice was violinist Henning Kraggerud. To say that Kraggerud made music in Beethoven's Violin Concerto would be an understatement. The 32-year-old, mop-haired Norwegian, who stepped in for ailing Akiko Suwanai, performed with rare stylistic command. It is a safe prediction that he will soon be knocking on the door of stardom.
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Adams' "Souls" a Visceral Experience

    Posted: Apr 24, 2006 - 12:00:00 AM in: reviews_2006
Near Ground Zero, New York City, September-October, 2001 (photos by Mary Ellyn Hutton)
"I see water and buildings" (flight attendant, American Airlines #11). Tears and concrete. These were among the images called up by John Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning "On the Transmigration of Souls," which received its regional premiere Saturday night at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Corbett Auditorium.

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