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An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Sopranos in Kentucky

    Posted: Oct 17, 2009 - 11:08:58 AM in: reviews_2009
Heather Buck
Audrey Luna
Emily Pulley
Stacey Rishoi
James R. Cassidy and the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra have done it again -- with some help from four very gifted sopranos, Heather Buck, Audrey Luna, Emily Pulley and Stacey Rishoi.  Their concert Friday night (Oct. 16) in the new Francis H. Carlisle Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, Kentucky was surefire, disarming entertainment from Violetta's "Sempre libera" to "The Girl in 14G."

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"Soukoukai" for the CSO at Music Hall

    Posted: Oct 16, 2009 - 2:35:59 AM in: reviews_2009
Sayaka Shoji
There is a three-day farewell party (soukoukai) going on at Music Hall as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra prepares to depart on a two-week tour of Japan beginning Oct. 22.  Music director Paavo Järvi leads concerts Oct. 15-17 drawn from the tour repertoire, including Sibelius' Violin Concerto with guest artist Sayaka Shoji and Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony.

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Linton's "Strings and Winds" a Lovely Autumn Serenade

    Posted: Oct 12, 2009 - 2:03:02 AM in: reviews_2009
The Linton Chamber Music Series had some serenades -- and a surprise -- up its sleeve Oct. 11 at First Unitarian Church.  Artistic director Jaime Laredo announced the latter, an 80th birthday tribute to founding artistic director Richard Waller complete with tonette.  The serenades proper began with Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" and ended with a rare chamber ensemble performance of Brahms Serenade No. 1 in D Major for strings and winds.
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CSO Program All-American, from Shaker Hymn to Sierra

    Posted: Oct 10, 2009 - 10:43:28 AM in: reviews_2009
William Eddins
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's all-American program Oct. 9 at Music Hall reflected the diversity of the American experience, with guest conductor William Eddins leading and performing music by Copland and Gershwin and a CSO premiere by Roberto Sierra.  Sierra's 2009 Sinfonia No. 4, a Sphinx Consortium commission, combines European and Latin influences.  Copland's "Appalachian Spring" echoes the British Isles and Gershwin's Concerto in F, led from the keyboard by Eddins, is flavored with jazz, blues and European continental sophistication.

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concert:nova Keeps the Latin Rolling

    Posted: Oct 5, 2009 - 12:45:01 AM in: reviews_2009
concert:nova, Cincinnati's enterprising, experimental -- and exciting -- new chamber group, followed the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's Latin weekend concerts with one hot program of their own Oct. 4 at the Contemporary Arts Center.  You could hear tango, Cuban son, Bach(ianas Brasilieras), songs from Spain and classical music by Latin American composers.  Guest artists included bandoneonist Ben Bogart, soprano Ellen Wieser, guitarist Richard Goering and pianist Audrey Causilla.  And speaking of tango, dancers from Tango del Barrio demonstrated their smooth moves, too. 

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Kristjan Järvi Shakes Music Hall

    Posted: Oct 3, 2009 - 1:56:46 AM in: reviews_2009
Kristjan Järvi (photo by Bruce Crippen)
Guest conductor Kristjan Järvi, younger brother of Cincinnati Symphony music director Paavo Jarvi and son of the great Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi, literally shook Music Hall Oct. 2 with a program of Latin American music, including Astor Piazzolla's Concerto for Bandoneon, "Aconcagua," featuring master bandoneonist Carel Kraayenhof.  It was Järvi's debut on CSO subscription concerts.

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Tüür's "Pietas" Timely, Towering at the CSO

    Posted: Sep 26, 2009 - 4:06:53 PM in: reviews_2009
Erkki-Sven Tüür
Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür reflected our turbulent times with a towering work Sept. 25 at Music Hall in Cincinnati.  Leading the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of his compatriot's Symphony No. 7, "Pietas," was CSO music director Paavo Järvi.  The program also marked the CSO debut of the young Russian-born, German violinist Alina Pogostkina in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.

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Who Sizzled Anyway?

    Posted: Sep 18, 2009 - 1:39:40 PM in: reviews_2009
Incandescent adjectives like "sizzling hot" and "afterburn" were applied to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's sold-out season opening gala Sept. 17 at Music Hall.  They fit, but not exactly the way they were most likely perceived as attached to headliner Lang Lang.  The Chinese superstar performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 with lyricism and grace. The "heat" per se was provided by music director Paavo Järvi and the CSO in music by Leonard Bernstein, including Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story."

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Beethoven for Our Times in Bonn

    Posted: Sep 17, 2009 - 3:11:15 AM in: reviews_2009
Sculpture outside Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Germany
It took five years to complete, but Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen have climbed the summit that is Beethoven's nine symphonies.  Culmination of their efforts, with a Beethoven cycle for our times, took place Sept. 9-12 at Beethovenfest in Bonn, the composer's birthplace.  A DVD about the concerts will be issued by Deutsche Welle, as well as a box set of their now-completed Beethoven cycle by Sony Classical.

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An American Hero

    Posted: Aug 2, 2009 - 10:33:39 AM in: reviews_2009
Erich Kunzel
An American hero, Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel, was paid tribute at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati August 1, and he paid tribute in return.  Though battling metastatic cancer, Kunzel led an evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein with a little help from his friend and colleague, Pops associate conductor Steven Reineke.  It was a night to remember.

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A "Carmen" to Love

    Posted: Jul 23, 2009 - 4:41:48 PM in: reviews_2009
William Burden as Don Jose and Ruxandra Donose as Carmen. Photo for Cincinnati Opera by Philip Groshong
If you've experienced Bizet's "Carmen" once or a hundred times, Cincinnati Opera's current edition featuring mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose and tenor William Burden as Carmen and Don Jose is not-to-miss.  You can actually believe they loved each other before Carmen's "la liberte" fatefully intervened.

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Ainadamar: A Tragic Ode to Freedom

    Posted: Jul 12, 2009 - 1:47:05 PM in: reviews_2009
Composite of Cincinnati Opera's Ainadamar (photos by Philip Groshong)
Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar, a luminous work centering on the tragic death of Spanish poet/playwright Federico García Lorca at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, came to Cincinnati July 9 and 11 at Music Hall.  Performed in a semi-staged production by Cincinnati Opera, it featured soprano Dawn Upshaw as Lorca's lifelong champion, actress Margarita Xirgu, a role created for her by Golijov.  Composer
Antoine López, a student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, submits this review for Music in Cincinnati.
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One for the History Books

    Posted: Jun 26, 2009 - 2:55:43 PM in: reviews_2009
finale "Don Carlo" act III, Cincinnati Opera, June, 2009 (photos by Philip Groshong)
Cincinnati Opera's "Don Carlo," which opened June 25 at Music Hall in Cincinnati, was what grand opera is all about:  great singing, stunning visuals and an epic story with a human dimension.  Heading the strong cast was bass James Morris in a powerful and affecting portrayal of King Philip II.

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Chamber Orchestra's "Don Giovanni" Mesmerizes

    Posted: Jun 21, 2009 - 8:22:51 AM in: reviews_2009
The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra has won a deserved reputation as a source of first rate concert opera, going back to former music director Gerhard Samuel.  Working in collaboration the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, whose graduates filled the show, the CCO led by music director Mischa Santora closed its 2008-09 season and "Spanish Legends" mini-series with an over-the-top performance of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" in CCM's intimate Patricia Corbett Theater June 20.

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Nobody Does It Better

    Posted: Jun 19, 2009 - 12:43:15 PM in: reviews_2009
Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
When it comes to Americana and everything American, nobody does it better than Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel.  Kunzel was joined June 18 by 360 other American icons, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, plus the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Riverbend, summer home of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras on the Ohio River.  From "When the Saints Come Marching In" to "God Bless America," it was a red-white-and-blue evening well in advance of the Fourth of July.

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