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R.I.P.: The BSO’s Verdi Requiem


This year marks the 200th birthday of the 19th century's two greatest operatic geniuses and polar opposites: Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 28, 2013
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Dutoit at the BSO, plus the Pacifica Quartet


Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, a visitor to the Boston Symphony for more than three decades, was back for two of his three guest appearances this season (he'll return in January).
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  November 02, 2012
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Vladimir Jurowski sets the BSO on fire


Vladimir Jurowski has bigger and better credentials than most of the contenders for the next BSO directorship. Did he strike sparks?
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 18, 2012
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Bell and Lehninger at the BSO


The young Brazilian conductor Marcelo Lehninger has been one of the brighter lights among recent Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant conductors, and it's good to report that his appointment has been renewed for a (rare) third year.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 12, 2012
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BMOP and Mark Morris

Classical classics
As the Globe 's Jeremy Eichler pointed out in his review of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project's season-ending concert — called "Apollo's Fire" — referring to the program note by the BSO's Assistant Director of Program Publications Robert Kirzinger, the term "classical music" has become so all-inclusive that it doesn't have much at all to do with ancient "classical" art.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 31, 2012
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Emmanuel’s late Mozart, NEC’s early Britten, BSO guest conductors, and Boston Lyric Opera’s The Inspector

Plus, Boston Conservatory’s The Apple Tree , Charles Strouse at Longy, and Helen Grime at the Gardner
By an odd coincidence, two recent events included two of Boston's best-loved singers in non-singing roles, artists who've been teamed in some of Boston's most memorable opera productions: baritone James Maddalena and soprano Susan Larson, essential members of the great Peter Sellars/Craig Smith stock company.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 24, 2012
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Winsor Music, Schubertiade, BSO guest conductors, and the Handel and Haydn Society’s St. Matthew Passion

Thinking big
As the BSO season continues without a music director, each new conducting debutante (according to Webster's, usually refers to a woman) raises the larger question of who Boston's next major music director will be.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 04, 2012
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BLO’s Barber of Seville; plus Eschenbach leads the BSO, Boston Baroque’s Mozart, and the Yiddish songs of Lazar Weiner

Cutting it close
In his program note for the Boston Lyric Opera production of Rossini's effervescent The Barber of Seville (Shubert Theatre, through March 18), music director David Angus asks us to listen extra carefully to this irresistible score, however familiar it may be.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 13, 2012
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Vive la France

French music at the BSO; French opera at Boston Conservatory; plus, Peter Wispelwey, Judith Gordon, Russell Sherman and Frank Kelley, and Collage New Music
French music is tricky. It has an unmistakable accent, inflection, scent.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 08, 2012
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Photos: Boston Symphony Orchestra & Claremont Trio

Good musical news
The Claremont Trio inaugurated the Gardner Museum’s new Calderwood Hall, and John Harbison's Symphony No. 6 performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of David Zinman.
By STU ROSNER AND MICHAEL J. LUTCH  |  January 31, 2012
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Some good musical news in troubled musical times

Pain and pleasure
What a turbulent time we've been having in Boston's musical life.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 26, 2012
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Ludovic Morlot's second week with the BSO; plus, Boston Early Music Festival's Charpentier

Hi-Def
In his second week with the BSO, Ludovic Morlot led another stunning program originally designed for James Levine.  
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  November 29, 2011
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Ludovic Morlot at the BSO; Philippe Jaroussky with Apollo's Fire

Morlot's fire  
Former BSO assistant conductor Ludovic Morlot has returned for two programs planned by and for former music director James Levine.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  November 21, 2011
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Opera Boston's Béatrice et Bénédict, plus Masur at the BSO, Boston Baroque's Creation, and Andréas Scholl

Merry war
Opera Boston began its season of relative rarities (two of them based on Shakespeare) with Berlioz's enchanting last opera, Béatrice et Bénédict, centered around the two most compelling characters in Much Ado About Nothing — witty antagonists who, in their "merry war," renounce love, until they are forced to admit they love each other.    
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 27, 2011
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Yo-Yo Ma at the BSO, Gidon Kremer at Longy, Ilya Kaler with the Boston Philharmonic

Stringing along
For a moment, it seemed as if the Boston Symphony Orchestra was back in its full ripeness.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 19, 2011
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Anne-Sophie Mutter, Susan Davenny Wyner, and Courtney Lewis

Popularity contest
The season-opening concerts I've been going to have made me think about two kinds of musicians: those whose performances become transparent, who allow the listener into the heart of the music; and those for whom their own abilities — technical marvels — seem an end, not a means to a higher end.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 06, 2011
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The BSO opens its summer home without Levine, but with Mark Morris & Yo-Yo Ma

Tanglewood report
It was especially sad that Levine, who cancelled his entire Tanglewood season and then resigned as BSO music director as of September (he just underwent another major surgery on his spine), couldn't lead this particular program.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  August 10, 2011
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Boston Baroque's Rameau, Opera Boston's Donizetti, BSO's Berlioz, the Met's new Walküre

Something old, something new
As the season wound down, one of the most applauded concerts was Boston Baroque's semi-staged version of Jean-Philippe Rameau's early 18th-century extravaganza, the "opéra-ballet" Les Indes galantes (roughly, "The Romantic Indies").
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 25, 2011
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St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Dubravka Tomsic, and Emmanuel's Rake, plus BSO visiting conductors

No substitutions
Three recent musical high points in Boston actually went on as originally announced: no changes, no cancellations, and nothing to do with James Levine, who had his own triumphs out of town, leading Berg's Wozzeck at the Met and a concert with the Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.  
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 26, 2011
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Bard, Bach, Borromeo: Boston's Spring classical music preview

Three B's and more this spring
The classical-music season continues at full throttle this spring. The Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Celebrity Series of Boston, and our local companies and schools have some of their most exciting offerings in store. Here are some of the events between March 24 and May 31 I'd be happiest to attend.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 15, 2011
James Levine resigns from the BSO

Following Levine's departure, the BSO picks up the pieces

After Jimmy
This past week, James Levine ended his BSO tenure after seven seasons, citing challenges regarding his health and the "ensuing absences they have forced." Since leaving Symphony Hall almost five years ago, I've been watching the Levine saga unfold, gritting my teeth with every notice of malady and ensuing cancellation.
By SEAN KERRIGAN  |  March 09, 2011
James Levine resigns from the BSO

Following Levine's departure, the BSO picks up the pieces

After Jimmy
This past week, James Levine ended his BSO tenure after seven seasons, citing challenges regarding his health and the "ensuing absences they have forced." Since leaving Symphony Hall almost five years ago, I've been watching the Levine saga unfold, gritting my teeth with every notice of malady and ensuing cancellation.
By SEAN KERRIGAN  |  March 09, 2011
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Heavy metal: Opera Boston’s Cardillac

Plus another Levine cancellation, H&H’s Handel, the Takács Quartet, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky
One of the major musical events of the season, Opera Boston’s New England premiere of Paul Hindemith’s Cardillac, was upstaged by the depressing announcement by BSO managing director Mark Volpe, just before the first of the BSO’s four performances of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, that James Levine was not going to conduct.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 03, 2011
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Levine resigns

 Poor health forces the BSO’s first American director to give up his position
I’m heartbroken. I’ve just heard that James Levine, after another serious setback to his health, has resigned as the BSO’s music director, a year before his contract was scheduled to expire.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 04, 2011
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Review: Lorin Maazel with the BSO

Plus, music and images at BCMS, Jeremy Denk, and BSCP's Stravinsky
Lorin Maazel made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in 1960, but this busy conductor has returned rarely, once in 1973 and again in 2009 as a substitute for the ailing James Levine in Beethoven's last four symphonies.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 26, 2011
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Review: Beethoven with the Discovery Ensemble, the BSO, and Opera Boston

Heroes and villains
We've had a good deal of Beethoven recently, with the high bar being set by young Courtney Lewis — a former Zander Fellow and the current assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra — and his extraordinary young chamber orchestra, Discovery Ensemble .
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 27, 2010
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Blythe spirit

Opera Boston’s Offenbach, Thomas Quasthoff, the BSO, Boston Baroque, and BU’s Sondheim
Leaving the Cutler Majestic after the opening night of Opera Boston’s latest Offenbach, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein , you could see the smiling faces of an audience that had had a good time.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 17, 2010

The naked truth

Letters to the Boston editor, April 2, 2010
I would like to register my protest against your “Naked Boston” issue’s needlessly titillating cover image of a nude, beheaded woman.
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  March 31, 2010
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Stuff at night

The BSO without Levine, Yo-Yo Ma, the Cantata Singers, American Classics, the Zerounian Ensemble
This week’s health headlines also included the announcement from the Boston Symphony Orchestra that music director James Levine has been sidelined again, from the “excruciating pain” he’s been suffering since his surgery for a herniated disc.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 29, 2010
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Heaven!

The BSO and Boston Baroque at their best
Martin Pearlman's edition of Monteverdi's Vespro della Beate Vergine, with inserted antiphons to suggest an actual service, remains a masterpiece of historical research and inspired guesswork.
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 25, 2010

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