Music News - Criticism: March 2007 Archives

While interviewing the director of an upcoming opera at Michigan State University, we got sidetracked into a conversation about how exciting cultural events are constantly taking place outside of the major cultural centers. Next weekend, MSU is performing the university premiere of a Spanish-language opera, Florencia en el Amazonas.

It's a show that has created a lot of buzz for them within the opera community all around the world. In addition to several performances with preview lectures by the composer, Daniel Catán, they will be webcasting live the April 1 performance. They've also opened up a blog that all cast and crew members were invited to contribute to throughout the process.

Director Melanie Helton has had several conversations with the composer in the weeks leading up to the performance. One of the things that he told her was that the New York Metropolitan Opera already has plans to program this opera in the next couple years--after they find the perfect soprano. Helton pointed out that Lansing audience can leave "with the idea that they've got a little bit of a jump on the Met."

Not that I need to tell the audience of this blog that exciting cultural events are taking place outside of New York.

March 23, 2007 10:55 AM |

So much of a review is spent on exposition, it occurs to me now that I've covered a recital by acclaimed pianist Ivan Moravec without filing a review for the print version the next day. I took a digital camera with me instead. I thought I was going to take a few snaps, but then realized I could do so much more. So during the intermission (this recital was last night), I decided to capture some of the recital and post it to my blog. I don't know if I was doing something I shouldn't have. I didn't ask for permission. And then I asked three different people to give me their thoughts on the performance. I think I might be on to something far more interesting than a print-only review. Instead of spending so much time of exposition, I can devote time to analysis, interpretation and commentary -- the things beyond the news, as Mitchell Stephens pointed out in his homerun article for the Columbia Journal Review last month. One of the people I interviewed was a 13-year-old pianist named Sharon Mays. She gave me her perspective. This approach might be just the thing for engaging the music and the community at the same time.

Here's the post:

I ran into Sharon Mays at the Ivan Moravec recital tonight. Her father does all the recording for the Savannah Music Festival, which will later be heard on Georgia Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio throughout the year. Sharon, a 13-year-old pianist, just won the Georgia Music Educators Association's piano competition for 8th graders in December. Given her prestige, I thought it would interesting to have Sharon blog with me later in the week to give us her perspective on what's happening at the Telfair Academy, where all the chamber music is taking place. She hasn't committed yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I also asked her to tell me what she thought of Moravec's recital and what she expects to hear in upcoming classical concerts (she gets to go to all of them thanks to Dad). For Sharon, Moravec had "a great dymanic range."

March 20, 2007 10:20 AM |
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