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Chamber Orchestra's "Amahl" with Puppets a Delight

    Posted: Dec 26, 2012 - 4:40:29 PM in: reviews_2012
A scene from the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra/Madcap Puppet Theater's "Amahl and the Night Visitors"
The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra does it again.  With puppets, that is, Cincinnati's Madcap Puppet Theater to be exact, recapping a collaboration by the CCO and the Madcap Puppets in 2010 with Manuel de Falla's "Master Peter's Puppet Show."  (See review on this site, http://www.musicincincinnati.com/site/reviews_2009/Don_Quixote_Strikes_Again.html.)  This time it was Menotti's opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors" and the effect was the same, delightful, and likely to become a Cincinnati tradition.  

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Knox Church Revives Berlioz Gem

    Posted: Dec 26, 2012 - 8:54:11 AM in: reviews_2012
Berlioz' oratorio "L'enfance du Christ" is a natural for the Christmas season, yet it has rarely been performed in Cincinnati. It has been performed only three times, twice led by Earl Rivers at Knox Presbyterian Church.  (The only other performance was by the May Festival in 2007.) Its third outing, Dec. 23, 2012 at Knox, led by Rivers, with bass-baritone Kenneth Shaw of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as King Herod, illumined the holiday music scene once again. (first published in the Cincinnati Enquirer Dec. 25, 2012)

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Panuccio's "O Holy Night" a Keeper

    Posted: Dec 17, 2012 - 7:01:51 PM in: reviews_2012
Marco Panuccio
Tenor Marco Panuccio, who began his career in Cincinnati, returned Dec. 14 to St. Peter in Chains Cathedral with his holiday show, "O Holy Night," fifth city on its five-state, six city-city tour.  It was a wide-ranging program, with everything from carols and popular songs to the Midwest premiere of Gerald Finzi's "Dies Natalis."  The Cathedral bell was sounded 27 times before the show in memory of the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, to whom it was dedicated.  (first published at www.Cincinnati.com Dec. 15, 2012)

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Glover Makes "Messiah" Special

    Posted: Dec 17, 2012 - 4:27:44 PM in: reviews_2012
Jane Glover
The Cincinnati Symphony and May Festival Chorus have made Handel's "Messiah" a holiday tradition in recent years, but this season's performance, led by guest conductor Jane Glover, was exceptional. Leading a reduced chorus and orchestra and with soloists attuned to baroque style, it was a "Messiah" to remember.

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Bach Goes (Back) to Church with Vespers

    Posted: Dec 10, 2012 - 10:59:09 PM in: reviews_2012, news_2012
Though performed at Easter and Christmas -- and sometimes in between in churches in and around Cincinnati -- Johann Sebastian Bach has had a lower profile than one might expect for such a musically rich city.  Carlton Monroe, director of music at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Terrace Park, is out to change that.  One way has been by initiating "Vespers at St. Thomas," a series of regular performances of Bach's cantatas in the context of services at the church.  Heard December 9, 2012 during Evening Prayer at St. Thomas was the Cantata "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland," BWV 62, with Bach Choir and Bach Ensemble, led by founder/director Monroe.

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Celebrating Cage in Cincinnati

    Posted: Dec 4, 2012 - 2:52:24 AM in: reviews_2012
John Cage
American icon John Cage would have been 100 this year. His uniqueness survives him however, as it did at a special "American Voices" concert Nov. 29 at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The Percussion Group Cincinnati, ensemble in residence at CCM, saluted Cage with a special performance of his "Music for Three," composed for them in 1984, accompanied by Cage's "Renga."  Guest  conductor Neal Gittleman led the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra. Also on the program was Lou Harrison's Piano Concerto with soloist Kris Rucinski and Charles Ives' "Three Places in New England."

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Early Music Thriving at CCM

    Posted: Dec 3, 2012 - 12:38:22 PM in: reviews_2012
L to R: Vivian Montgomery, harpsichord; Jennifer Roig-Francoli, baroque violin; Annalisa Pappano, viola da gamba; vocalist James Onstad (photo by Dottie Stover)
Early music has not been a focus at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music until recently.  But what an efflorescence it is enjoying now.  A case in point was the concert Nov. 28 of selections from Claudio Monteverdi's "Selva Morale e Spirituale" and "Madrigali dei Guerrieri et Amorosi," featuring the CCM Chamber Choir led by Earl Rivers, with student soloists and a continuo ensemble of early music artists from Cincinnati and beyond.  Guest  artist on the theorbo was Michael Leopold of Milan, Italy.  
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Mack's "Secret of Luca" On Its Way

    Posted: Nov 21, 2012 - 2:19:36 AM in: reviews_2012
St. Anthony Church, Madisonville, Ohio
American composer Evan Mack's new opera "The Secret of Luca" enjoyed a fine introduction in a concert performance at tiny St. Anthony Church in Madisonville, Ohio November 18.  Chances are good it will follow Mack's first opera "Angel of the Amazon" into successful production.  Based on the novel by Ignazio Silone, it it a powerful testament to the power of love. It was a luxury performance, too, with a cast largely made up of graduates of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

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Langrée and CSO Climax "One City, One Symphony" Brilliantly

    Posted: Nov 16, 2012 - 3:43:28 PM in: reviews_2012
Louis Langrée conducting the CSO in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Nov. 15 at Music Hall
Music director-designate Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra brought their "One City, One Symphony" project focusing on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to a thrilling climax November 15 at Music Hall. The cheers are still echoing in the hall and bode well for a splendid relationship when he takes over as music director in September, 2013.
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Langrée Leads Splendid "First" Inaugural with the CSO

    Posted: Nov 13, 2012 - 6:31:38 PM in: reviews_2012
Louis Langrée conducting the CSO November 10, 2012 at Music Hall in Cincinnati
French-born Louis Langrée, music director-designate of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, led his first concert with the CSO since his appointment as music director with an all-French program November 9 at Music Hall. That is was all-French -- Messiaen, Franck and Saint-Saëns -- was nevertheless a coincidence, he said. (first published at www.ConcertoNet.com November 13, 2012)

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Glennie Astonishes CSO Audience in Higdon Concerto

    Posted: Nov 4, 2012 - 8:11:55 PM in: reviews_2012
Jennifer Higdon (center) with Evelyn Glennie and Peter Oundjian (photo by Tasha Pinelo)
Percussionist Evelyn Glennie rocked millions with her drumming at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics July 27.  She rocked a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra audience Nov. 2 with Jennifer Higdon's Percussion Concerto. It was the highlight of a color-filled program that also included works by Ravel, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky. Guest conductor Peter Oundjian added his energy to the mix for a program that not only delighted the audience, but made prime use of Cincinnati's capacious (3,516-seat) Music Hall. (first published in the Cincinnati Enquirer digital edition Nov. 3, 2012)

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Old Friends at Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra

    Posted: Nov 1, 2012 - 11:36:37 AM in: reviews_2012
Alexander Kerr, Orion Weiss and Eric Kim performing Beethoven's Triple Concerto with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra conducted by Mischa Santora
The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra opened its 2012-2013 season with Beethoven.  Not only that, but in keeping with their season theme, "About the Town," brought back some well known Cincinnati "alumni" to help give the downbeat.  Performing in Beethoven's Triple Concerto were violinist Alexander Kerr and cellist Eric Kim, both former principal  players with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Kerr was concertmaster from 1995-97, Kim principal cellist from 1989-2009). Joining Kerr and Kim was pianist Orion Weiss, who made his Cincinnati debut with the CCO at the age of 20 in 2002.  Also on the program, conducted by music director Mischa Santora, was Beethoven's Symphony No. 4, Santora's debut work with the CCO as a music director candidate in 2000. (first published in The Cincinnati Enquirer October 27, 2012)

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Meyers Bright Star for Constella

    Posted: Oct 30, 2012 - 11:22:18 AM in: reviews_2012
Headliner Anne Akiko Meyers shone brightly for the 2012 Constella Festival in Cincinnati with a diverse program of songs, dances, Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Piano and Cincinnati premieres by John Corigliano and Jakub Ciupinski, including Ciupinski's "Wreck of the Umbria" for solo violin and electronics.  Pianist Wendy Chen added to the luster of the event, which called for encores, including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from Meyers' best-selling CD "Smile." (first published at www.cincinnati.com)

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An Operatic Weekend in Cincinnati

    Posted: Oct 29, 2012 - 8:13:32 PM in: reviews_2012
Kara Shay Thomson and Marco Panuccio
There was an embarrassment of musical riches in Cincinnati Oct. 26-28.  Some of them involved opera, with a recital by tenor Marco Panuccio and soprano Kara Shay Thomson presented by the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts and a reading of excerpts from Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer's opera "Champion," to be premiered in July, 2013 by Opera Theater of St. Louis.
   The readings were the culmination of a week-long residency by the creators of "Champion" at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as part of the school's ongoing "Opera Fusion: New Works" project.  Created in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera, the project is designed to further the development of new American opera. 
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Tokyo Quartet in Fond Cincinnati Farewell

    Posted: Oct 25, 2012 - 11:45:29 PM in: reviews_2012
The Tokyo String Quartet
The Tokyo String Quartet served as visiting quartet-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music from 1988-1998.  They made many friends during that time and performed many wonderful concerts in the city. The Quartet returned Oct. 23 to CCM's Werner Recital Hall for their final concert in Cincinnati, one stop on their 2012-2013 farewell tour before disbanding after 43 years. Their program of Haydn, Kodaly and Ravel illustrated their consummate musicianship and skill in an evening long to be remembered. (first published in The Cincinnati Enquirer Oct. 25, 2012)

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