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Met Live in HD schedule

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

The Met has had an exciting summer, to put it nicely. After a brush with what would have been a devastating lockout with its unions, the company is on track to open its season next month. And following a controversial decision not to simulcast its production of John Adams' "The Death of Klinghoffer," it has announced a Met: Live in HD schedule that nonetheless looks very interesting. More info below and at www.fathomevents.com/event/met-live-in-hd1415.

 

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 – 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT MACBETH (Verdi)

Star soprano Anna Netrebko delivers her searing portrayal of Lady Macbeth, the mad and murderous mate of Željko Lučić'sdoomed Macbeth, for the first time at the Met. Adrian Noble's chilling production of Verdi's adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy also stars Joseph Calleja as Macduff and René Pape as Banquo with Fabio Luisi conducting.

Wednesday, Oct. 15 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of MACBETH

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 – 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (Mozart)

Music Director James Levine conducts a spirited new production of Mozart's masterpiece, directed by Richard Eyre, who sets the action of this classic domestic comedy during the gilded age of the late 1920s. Dashing bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov leads the cast in the title role of the clever servant, opposite Marlis Petersen as his bride, Susanna, with Peter Mattei as the philandering Count they work for, Amanda Majeski as the long-suffering Countess, and Isabel Leonard as the libidinous pageboy, Cherubino.

Wednesday, Oct. 22 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 – 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT

CARMEN (Bizet)

Richard Eyre's mesmerizing production of Bizet's steamy melodrama returns with mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvilisinging her signature role of the ill-fated gypsy temptress. Aleksandrs Antonenko plays her desperate lover, the soldier Don José, and Ildar Abdrazakov is the swaggering bullfighter, Escamillo, who comes between them. Pablo Heras-Casadoconducts the irresistible score.

Wednesday, Nov. 5 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of CARMEN

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 – 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT

IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA (Rossini)

The Met's effervescent production of Rossini's classic comedy – featuring some of opera's most instantly recognizable melodies– stars Isabel Leonard as the feisty Rosina, Lawrence Brownlee as her conspiring flame, and Christopher Maltman as the endlessly resourceful and charming barber, himself. Michele Mariotti conducts the vivid and tuneful score.

Wednesday, Nov. 26 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 – 12:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. CT/ 10:00 a.m. MT/ 9:00 a.m. PT

DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG (Wagner)

James Levine conducts Wagner's epic comedy—back at the Met for the first time in eight years—about a group of Renaissance "master singers" whose song contest unites a city. Johan Reuter, Johan Botha, and Annette Dasch lead the superb international cast in this charming and magisterial celebration of the power of music and art.

Wednesday, Dec. 17 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 – 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT

THE MERRY WIDOW (Lehár)

The great Renée Fleming stars as the beguiling woman who captivates all Paris in Lehár's enchanting operetta, seen in a new staging by Broadway virtuoso director and choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers, Oklahoma!, Contact). Stroman and her team of set designer Julian Crouch (Satyagraha, The Enchanted Island) and costume designer William Ivey Long (Cinderella, Grey Gardens, Hairspray) have created an art-nouveau setting that climaxes with singing and dancing grisettes at the legendary Maxim's. Nathan Gunn co-stars as Danilo and Kelli O'Hara is Valencienne. Sir Andrew Davisconducts.

Wednesday, Jan. 21 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of THE MERRY WIDOW

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 – 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT

LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN (Offenbach)

The magnetic tenor Vittorio Grigolo takes on the title role of the tortured poet and unwitting adventurer in the Met's kaleidoscopic production of Offenbach's energetic, operatic masterpiece. Erin Morley as Olympia, Hibla Gerzmava asAntonia and Stella, and Christine Rice as Giulietta each sing an idealized embodiment of some aspect of Hoffmann's desire.Thomas Hampson portrays the shadowy Four Villains, and Yves Abel conducts the sparkling score.

Wednesday, Feb. 4 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 – 12:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. CT/ 10:30 a.m. MT/ 9:30 a.m. PT

IOLANTA/ BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE (Tchaikovsky/ Bartók)

On the heels of her triumphant Met performances in Eugene Onegin, soprano Anna Netrebko takes on another Tchaikovsky heroine in the first opera of this intriguing double bill, consisting of an enchanting fairy tale (Iolanta) followed by an erotic psychological thriller (Duke Bluebeard's Castle). Netrebko stars as the beautiful blind girl who experiences love for the first time in Iolanta, while Nadja Michael is the unwitting victim of the diabolical Bluebeard, played by Mikhail Petrenko. Both operas are directed by Mariusz Treliński, who was inspired by classic noir films of the 1940s. Iolanta also stars Piotr Beczala, and Valery Gergiev conducts both operas.

Wednesday, Feb. 18 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of IOLANTA/ BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, March 14, 2015 – 12:55 p.m. ET / 11:55 a.m. CT/ 10:55 a.m. MT/ 9:55 a.m. PT

LA DONNA DEL LAGO (Rossini)

Bel canto superstars Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez join forces for this Rossini showcase of vocal virtuosity, set in the medieval Scottish highlands and based on a beloved novel by Sir Walter Scott. DiDonato is the "lady of the lake" of the title, and Flórez is the king who relentlessly pursues her, their vocal fireworks embellishing the romantic plot in this Met premiere production conducted by Michele Mariotti.

Wednesday, March 18 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of LA DONNA DEL LAGO

(Available in select cinemas only)

Saturday, April 25, 2015 – 12:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. CT/ 10:30 a.m. MT/ 9:30 a.m. PT

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA / PAGLIACCI (Mascagni / Leoncavallo)

Opera's most enduring tragic double bill returns in an evocative new production from Sir David McVicar, who sets the action across two time periods but in the same Sicilian village. Marcelo Álvarez rises to the challenge of playing the dual tenor roles of Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Canio in Pagliacci. Rae Smith (War Horse) has designed the moodily atmospheric 1900 village square setting of Cavalleria, which transforms to a 1948 truck stop for the doomed vaudeville troupe of Pagliacci. Eva-Maria Westbroek (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Patricia Racette (Pagliacci) sing the unlucky heroines, and Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi is on the podium.

Wednesday, April 29 – 6:30 p.m. local time

Encore presentation of CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA / PAGLIACCI

(Available in select cinemas only)

**Programs and casting subject to change. For more details on the operas, please visit the Met's website at www.metopera.org/hdlive 

 

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Music in a Great Space series announced

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

From Shadyside Presbyterian Church:

Music in a Great Space, the concert series at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, proudly announces its 2014-2015 concert season, which includes the following performances:

§ Sunday, September 28, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.: Lyric Fest in Pittsburgh: La Bella Vita! – An Afternoon of Italian Arias and Art Songs

§ Saturday, October 25, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.: Jose Ramos Santana, pianist

§ Sunday, November 23, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.: Music for Two Organs: John Cummins and Michael Messina, duo-organists (Co-sponsored by the Organ Artists Series)

§ Saturday, December 6, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.: Shadyside Chamber Choir and Chatham Baroque, presenting Messiah, by George Frideric Handel

§ Sunday, March 8, 2015, at 4:00 p.m.: The Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, featuring Symphony no. 3 "Organ Symphony," by Camille Saint-Saëns – Lawrence Loh, conductor; Mark A. Anderson, organist

§ Sunday, April 26, 2015, at 4:00 p.m.: Trio Nova Mundi

Tickets for the concerts above are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors (60 and over). Season subscriptions also are available: $70 for adults and $45 for seniors/students. For more information on the Music in a Great Space series, call 412-682-4300 or visit www.shadysidepres.org.

Also, the church welcomes the community to the following free, non-ticketed musical events:

Choral events featuring the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir:

§ Sunday, November 2, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.: Requiem in C Minor, by Luigi Cherubini

§ Sunday, December 14, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.: A Service of Lessons and Carols

§ Wednesday, December 24, 2014, at 9:00 p.m.: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, with Extended Choral and Instrumental Prelude at 8:40 p.m.

§ Sunday, February 22, 2015, at 4:00 p.m.: Choral Evensong

§ Friday, April 3, 2015, at 7:00 p.m.: Good Friday Service of Music and Readings, featuring Agnus Dei, by Egil Hovland

§ Sunday, April 5, 2015, at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.: Easter Services of Worship

Candlelight vespers during Advent and Lent featuring the Shadyside Strings, Chatham Baroque, and the Choirs of the Pittsburgh School for the Choral Arts:

§ Wednesdays in Advent at 7:00 p.m.: December 3, 10, and 17, 2014

§ Wednesdays in Lent at 7:00 p.m.: February 18 and 25, March 4, 11, 18, and 25, 2015

Guest choirs:

§ Seton Hill Una Voce Choir on Sunday, March 22, 2015: 10:45 to 11:00 a.m. prelude; 11:00 a.m. worship; 12:00 p.m. light reception; 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. free concert – Mark A. Boyle, conductor

§ University of Pittsburgh Men's Glee Club on Sunday, April 12, 2015: 10:45 to 11:00 a.m. prelude; 11:00 a.m. worship; 12:00 p.m. light reception; 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. free concert – Richard Teaster, conductor

Shadyside Presbyterian Church is centrally located in the heart of Pittsburgh's university district, just a few blocks away from the campuses of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The church is situated on the corner of Amberson Avenue and Westminster Place, only one block off Fifth Avenue. Free on-street parking is available surrounding the church.

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Starting a classical vinyl collection

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

I had a lot of fun working on a story, published Sunday, about the state of classical vinyl. I recently acquired a turntable and started a record collection myself, so interviewing audiophiles has (re-)whetted my appetite for collecting.

Used classical vinyl is often inexpensive, just a couple of dollars for a disc at Jerry's Records in Squirrel Hill. Sitting at home, drinking a glass of wine, and listening to good music – there are worse things you could do with your time, said George Vosburgh, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's principal trumpet. "It could be a great hobby for people," he said.

For those interested, here are tips I picked up along the way:

Where to go

Because so little new classical vinyl is being produced, you'll mostly have to go for the used stuff. This is a mixed blessing, I think; on the one hand, it means you can't get new stuff in the format, but it also means there can be a ton of readily available, out-of-print recordings and low turnover of those albums.

Jim Rodgers, the PSO's principal contrabassoon picks up records at Jerry's Records, Half Price Books and the Exchange (though for the latter two stores, he goes only to a couple of locations, so it would be wise to call ahead). He also buys online at eBay and Amazon.

Jerry's has the largest classical collection in the region. Keep your eyes peeled: during Record Store Day this year, Jerry's had a handful of classical boxes for grabs. It's a huge, amazing collection of mostly out-of-print records. Browsing through Jerry's can be an overwhelming experience, but it is certainly a worthwhile one. 

Another purveyor I met said she goes to estate sales to find good vinyl. If shellac's your game, Whistlin' Willie's has several thousand classical 78s.

What to buy

Audiophiles collect albums for diverse reasons. The evocative cover art, the performer, the rareness of a recording and, of course, the music are a few of many reasons to pick out one records over another, but enthusiasts are also especially attuned to labels.

For the true audiophile, Deutsche Grammophon has exceptionally high-quality records. (DG covers aren't great, however; as one customer at Jerry's put it, "their glue sucks.") Mr. Vosburgh, the PSO trumpeter, also liked Philips, which later bought and reissued Mercury Records. Other labels favored by Mr. Vosburgh and/or Mr. Rodgers include Mercury Living Presence (a Mercury series), pre-Sony CBS Records and old RCA Records (especially those with the so-called "shaded dogs" on them). Another critic I met at a conference said that the London bluebacks of Decca are great, too. More suggestions are available here: http://www.ebay.com/gds/Collecting-Vintage-Audiophile-LP-Record-Albums-/10000000000784692/g.html 

Mr. Rodgers said he looks for the "shimmer" on vinyl and makes sure it's not warped or scratched. With used records in tough shape, Mr. Vosburgh gets rid of the pops and scratches by dropping a mixture of distilled water and rubbing alcohol on the vinyl and playing them wet. Jerry Weber of Jerry's Records said used classical vinyl is usually in great condition.

What to listen to it on

Buying audio systems is certainly beyond the scope of this blog post, but as a reference point, it might help to know what others have. Mr. Rodgers, for one, has three record players – one that is eye candy, one for the true audiophillic experience and one that converts analog to mp3s. The latter allows him to adds effects, such as a 1950s radio crackle. Mr. Vosburgh uses the belt-drive Thorens turntable he got in college, amplified by two five-foot-high speakers.

A side note 

Given the difficulty of selling and recording classical music these days, I think it would be cool if classical music groups — say, the PSO — released an album on vinyl. Given the proliferation of recordings that feature music heard on many albums, it would be a neat way to distinguish a record. This is perhaps a little gimmicky, but it's a gimmick that would not compromise the art.

 

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Liner Notes Vol. X

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

As a reminder, every so often I post interesting pieces of music journalism that cross my path. I hope you enjoy them!

From the Washington Post, the state of military bands http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/military-bands-offer-musicians-great-jobs-similar-challenges-to-orchestras/2014/07/17/db5c52aa-0c33-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html 
From the Los Angeles Times, the orchestra audition http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-classical-auditions-20140713-story.html#page=2 
From the Boston Globe, the sudden end of a chamber orchestra http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2014/07/23/discovery-ensemble-suddenly-ceases-operations/UYN3gInkeH5emhluGmxOrK/story.html 
From the New York Times, the Vienna Philharmonic's distinctive sound http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/arts/music/what-makes-the-vienna-philharmonic-so-distinctive.html 
From the New Yorker, siblings who deal expensive instruments http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/07/28/musical-gold 
From the New Yorker, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the politics of an innovative conductor http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/02/notes-of-dissent 
From the New Republic, Wagner and anti-Semitism http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118331/forbidden-music-michael-haas-reviewed-james-loeffler 

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PSO looking for student singers

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

The Pittsburgh Symphony is seeking young singers for its Student Chorale. More from the PSO:

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Chorale Director Christine Hestwood are looking for high school- and college-age singers to join the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Student Chorale. The Chorale will perform during the PNC Pops performance of "Heroes and Villains" on October 17-19.

Created by the late Principal Pops Conductor Marvin Hamlisch and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh Music Director Emeritus Robert Page, the Student Chorale provides student performers the unique opportunity to perform on the Heinz Hall stage with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. "Heroes and Villains," conducted by Lucas Richman, features music from a variety of movie scores.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Student Chorale is open to high school students in grades 10 to 12, as well as college singers. The chorale will total 60 members and all rehearsals will take place in October. Choral directors can nominate quartets of students by filling out the nomination form found at pittsburghsymphony.org/heroes. Nominations are due by September 5. For more information about the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Student Chorale, please contact Hestwood at 412-977-2047 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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