Monday, March 30, 2009

Washington Post's Anne Midgette Enters the Blogosphere

Anne Midgette, The Washington Post's classical music critic, has just launched a new blog: The Classical Beat. Her initial post promises to address issues that "would not be possible in the confines of a daily paper" and encourage discussion--civil and intelligent, hopefully--among her readership. 

(Photo by Matthew Worden)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Midgette vs. Lebrecht: Two Critics Debate Wagner's "Ring" Cycle on WNYC

Anne Midgette, chief classical music critic at the Washington Post, and Norman Lebrecht, the music critic at London's Evening Standard, have recorded a joint radio interview on Wagner's Ring cycle for WNYC. The two critics debate whether Wagner's tetralogy is 16 hours of bombast and bore, or 16 hours of some of history's most glorious, transcendent music. Lebrecht also fires a parting shot on his blog: "The man's odious ideology is part and parcel of the work. Eliminate it, and the Ring becomes a teddy bears' tea party." I bet you can't guess which side of the argument he's on. 

The debate coincides with the Met's revival of Otto Schenk's seminal Ring production--the last time it will be staged at the Met. Three complete cycles will be performed over the next six weeks, starting on Saturday, March 28 with Das Rheingold. Levine will conduct. Domingo, Morris, among others, will sing. Good luck finding tickets, at least if you're on a recession-induced budget. Family Circle seats (obstructed or nonexistent view) start at $300. Center Parterre more your style? $2,600. Better start saving.

Here is a reminder--the stunning, malevolent "Oath Trio" that closes Act II of Götterdämmerung, courtesy of Levine and the Met--why Wagner is totally awesome, no matter how "odious" his ideology.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

YouTube Symphony Winners Announced

The winning auditions videos for the YouTube Symphony have been posted on the orchestra's YouTube page. According to a BBC story, more than 3,000 entries from 200 countries were submitted, with 30 different nationalities represented in the ensemble. The orchestra performs on April 15 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas at Carnegie Hall.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Self-Promotion Continues: Feature Article in Symphony magazine

Here's a link to "Class Acts," a feature article I wrote for the March/April issue of Symphony magazine. It includes short profiles of a handful of innovative volunteer-run arts education programs across the country.