February 11, 2007 |
HERE we go again. Tonight the Grammys will announce, or at least whisper surreptitiously offstage to a hardly panting press or public, the 2006 classical awards. They won't mean much. The Grammys have long suffered a classical credibility gap. The days of know-nothing voters and the Atlanta Symphony block-voting itself honor after honor are long gone. The Grammys' tiresome fixation with Georg Solti died with the Hungarian conductor's death in 1997.
May 23, 2005 |
"If your eyes were not the color of the moon," the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote in one of a hundred sonnets to his third wife, Matilde Urrutia, "if you were not that bread the fragrant moon kneads, sprinkling flour across the sky, oh my dearest, I could not love you so!"
May 25, 2005 |
"Grace" has several meanings. It can denote the quality of pleasing, a refinement of movement or expression, the conferral of favor on another and, of course, thanks or thanksgiving. In music, we have the grace note, that little dancing embellishment that delays, ever so slightly, the main note and makes its arrival all the more a pleasure.
July 28, 1997 |
We don't, in the West, have much experience with kings like Ashoka Maurya. A ferocious warrior in the 3rd century BC, Ashoka conquered all of India. But instead of the usual napoleonic instance of power so terribly corrupting, Ashoka underwent in battle a profound transformation of character. He renounced worldly goods, preached the pacifist teachings of Buddha and turned his attention to developing laws of justice and to building schools, libraries and hospitals for his great kingdom.
September 9, 2013 |
In the world of postmodern opera production, setting "Carmen" on a cruise ship or "La Bohème" on a submarine is no longer considered eccentric. Stage directors are paid to come up with concepts. And so for his Long Beach Opera production of Peter Lieberson's "King Gesar" on Saturday night, Andreas Mitisek had both the Queen Mary and a submarine docked in front of it. His backdrop was the Long Beach skyline. He even included the sounds of Long Beach's beloved Lobster Festival wafting over the bay. What was unusual, though, was that this was no concept.
May 24, 1997 |
"King Gesar" is the first opera in Peter Lieberson's so-called Tibetan Buddhist "Ring" cycle; the second will be "Ashoka's Dream," set to receive its first performances at Santa Fe Opera this summer. "Gesar," a 55-minute instrumental octet with narrator, has been dubbed by its composer a campfire opera, perhaps because it is a series of heroic tales regarding Gesar of Ling, moral fables suitable for outdoor, under-the-stars retelling.