Richard Narroway’s wide musical vision



In a boldly self-asserting move, the young Australian cellist Richard Narroway has recorded all six of the Johann Sebastian Bach Cello Suites. The double CD (SLE-70010) is being released later this month by Sono Luminus

The Six Cello Suites come carrying some good, some odd musical vibes. They have caused much discussion among musicologists, much of it pointless. Their provenance has been questioned. They have been distorted beyond recognition in versions for piano, string instruments, marching band, euphonium and tuba. They have been transcribed for orchestra. It wouldn’t be surprising if one of these days we encounter a section from one of them playing in the background, while someone tries to sell us something on TV. Or have they already?

It is refreshing to have all of that bad baggage offset by the impassioned cellist Richard Narroway, a purposeful Australian musician who, with his wide musical vision neither plants his flag in the overworked ground of the historically accurate performance camp nor on the safe opposite side of that musical fence. By that we mean that he plays the music decisively, elegantly, accurately, respectfully but searching not for the “right way” but for his own way of playing six works written nearly three hundred years ago.

Ornamentation and style are observed by Narroway, executing long slurs whenever the music’s long cascades of notes  calls for slurring with the bow with which he plays his 1930 Carl Becker cello. He never errs on the side of caution but neither does he slip up by using too much vibrato. Most importantly Narroway’s playing is always infused with a perfect mix of a warm hearted musicality and a cool head, an indispensable combination much needed to tackle these six monumental works.

Narroway’s technique never calls attention to itself, not even when he is called upon to negotiate daunting technical hurdles planted along the way by a composer who knew what he was up to, except that he did not give much thought as to how the future interpreters of this music would go about playing it.

Was it perhaps that Bach was writing for a different instrument, the so called “voloncello da spalla”, a hybrid not anchored between the player’s legs upon the floor but an oversized contraption to be held on the player’s lap and played with a huge bow with which one could go hunt wild game? Go figure.

The Bach cello suites have become a calling card for the greats of the cello since Casals disinterred them early in the 20th century. Since then the Catalan poet of the cello passed on the mantle to Tortellier, he to Janigro, he to Rostropovich and they in turn willed it to Du Pre and she to Lynn Harrell and Harrell to Yo Yo Ma. Look up Johann Sebastian Bach Cello Suites on line and you shall find dozens of recordings, most of them very good. Here we have not merely another fine one, but a very fine one by an immensely gifted young musician soon fit to keep company with some of the greats that preceded him.

Rafael de Acha  www.Rafael’ All About the Arts




Thank the gods of Valhalla, here they are, alive and singing well in recent pirated performances caught on You Tube.

greer grimsley Greer GrimsleyDas Rheingold: Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge A late bloomer, Grimsley hung out in the regions until the MET finally caught on to this singer being one of the great Wagnerians of our time. In addition to singing like a god in Wotan’s address to his rank and file before entering Valhalla, this singer is a terrific actor.

Evgeny Nitikin Evgeny NitikinO du, mein holder Abendstern from Tannhäuser OK, so he should have had his notorious swastika tattoo removed from his chest before showing up for a costume fitting in Bayreuth a few years ago, which caused his contract to be “terminated” (to be polite.) But he is still singing and singing very well in the Russian rough and ready tradition at the MET and other places but nicht in Deutschland.

René Pape René Pape Leb’ wohl… (Die Walküre) – Pape is more of a basso cantante than a true-blue Heldenbariton. Wagner asked for a “Hoher Bass”, which we suppose is more or less what Pape is.  But should he decide to plant his flag on Wagner Land to the exclusion of all the Italian and French roles in his resume, that will be his call. For now we are glad he is mixing it up.

Falk Struckmann Falk StruckmannWehvolles Erbe from Parsifal – Like some other singers, Struckmann is of the more is more school of singing. His take on Amfortas’ Wehvolles Erbe is raw and dramatic and compelling. He is also a very good Telramund and a first rate Pizarro – both villains, which is Struckmann’s strong suit.

Bryn Terfel Bryn Terfel – In Was duftet doch der Flieder from Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg,  Bryn Terfel sings with the lyricism that has been a hallmark of his singing throughout a 25 year career that is still going strong. His Sachs will get better and better with age.

Michael Volle Michael VolleWahn, wahn from Die Meistersinger von Nüremberg (start at 5:00) – Like that of his predecessor, Paul Schöffler who also sang both Wagner and Italian roles, Volle’s beautiful lyric voice lies a bit higher than those of most bass-baritones. That equips him to comfortably handle the high tessitura of many long passages in Die Meistersinger von Nüremberg

Mark Delavan, Richard Paul Fink, Gordon Hawkins, Alan Held, James Johnson, Eric Owens and Alfred Walker are at different stages of careers that have encompassed Wagnerian roles, among them, Wotan, Hans Sachs, Telramund, Amfortas, Klingsor, Dutchman, Kurwenal, and Colonna. The other roles with which several of these singers have come to be associated include Pizarro, Orest, Jochanaan, Barak, Mandryka, the Four Villains in Les Conte d’Hoffman, Athanael, William Tell, Amonasro, Iago, Falstaff, and Scarpia. But it is in Wagner that time and again they prove their mettle.

Retired or deceased or slowly winding down their fine careers are Theo Adam, Tom Fox, Jerome Hines, Sir Donald McIntyre, Sigmund Nymsgern, Thomas Stewart and Sir John Tomlinson, all of whom successfully sang many of the Wagner bass-baritone roles.

Among some of the great Wagnerian bass-baritones of the immediate past we single out the four artists below. Their singing sets the bar high for singers of today. And that is a good thing.

Hans Hotter Hans Hotter singing Wahn, wahn…from Die Meistersinger von Nüremberg in a 1956 Bayreuth performance ( )  is a thing of wonder, producing a firm column of inky sound not often heard these days.

George London George London’s complete mastery of text and technique are in evidence in this recording of Sach’s Wahn, wahn…from Die Meistersinger von Nüremberg: London first sang the major Wagnerian roles in Bayreuth in 1951, at age 31. He ended his singing career fifteen years later, due to a paralyzed vocal cord.

James Morris James MorrisLeb’ wohl… (Die Walküre) One of the finest Wotans of his generation, Morris here sings Wotan’s Farewell from Die Walküre  His absolutely flawless technique is in evidence in his seamless legato and effortless singing from pianissimo to fortissimo which allow the voice to retain its placement even in “killer” phrases like the notorious “Wer meines Speeres Spitze fürchtet, durchschreite das Feuer nie!”

Paul Schöffler Paul Schöffler – More baritone than bass, a rock-solid artist and a refined vocalist, Schöffler’s lyrical delivery of Hans Sach’s Wahn, wahn…from Die Meistersinger von Nüremberg ( ) is a worthy reminder of the glory days of Wagnerian singing in the post-war years when yelling never took the place of singing.

So, the news is good and the future of Wagnerian singing looks bright, thanks to a new generation of Wagnerians busy traveling from New York to San Francisco to Chicago to Washington and on to and from Europe to keep the Wagnerian flame alive.

Rafael de Acha  www.Rafael’                 All About the Arts

Where Are The Verdi baritones?

Quinn KelseyLuca Salsiariunbaatar ganbaatarAmartuvshin Enkhbat *

Where Are The Verdi baritones?

The MET lists 26 baritones in its roster of artists. Of the two dozen or so middle-voiced male singers listed therein this listener could single out a total of six who could feasibly be called Italian baritones not by passport but by virtue of their voice type. The fact that four of those happen to be Italians by birth and by training is no mere coincidence, but a significant fact.

We will in no way disparage the artistic accomplishments of invaluable artists such as Sir Thomas Allen, Dwayne Croft, Gerald Finley, Rod Gilfry, Nathan Gunn, Mariusz Kwiecien, Alexey Lavrov, Lucas Meachem and Michael Volle, most if not all of whom have made occasional forays into the Verdi roles that make up the bulk of the Italian operatic repertoire at different stages of their careers, even though their areas of specialization lie elsewhere.

By the same token, young newcomers already inducted into the artistic roster at the MET should not be expected to nor will they undertake any Verdi roles anytime soon. But our concern and the title of this post is Where Are The Verdi baritones?

George Gadnidze and Zeljko Lucic have been heard at the MET in recent years in the major Verdi roles: Rigoletto, Macbeth, Nabucco, Amonasro… But they are mature artists nearing the beginning of the end of their careers. Tragically, the extraordinary Dimitri Hvorostovsky may have already arrived at that critical turning point, due to his bout with a brain tumor.

Over the past several seasons the MET has been trotting out the beloved tenor Placido Domingo in a series of baritone roles: Boccanegra and Nabucco to name but two. This listener’s response to the Spanish tenor’s incursions into the domain of baritones has been one of both concern and disappointment. Once more, Domingo will appear in the crucial role of Miller in the upcoming production of Luisa Miller later on this season.

We have not mentioned the name of Ludovic Tezier, He is a favorite of ours who inexplicably will not be returning to the MET this year.

The temptation to take on the glory roles of the Verdi canon is great. In his time, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau did and failed. So have both Simon Keenlyside and Thomas Hampson fallen short of expectations when enticed to try their vocal chords on Germont or  Rodrigo, both the lightest of the Verdi lot. Hampson, a very fine lyric baritone has even been ill advised by management or by his own unbridled ambition to undertake Macbeth and Boccanegra at various times.

Two names come to mind, two big-voiced, intelligent artists to watch: Quinn Kelsey, an American, and Luca Salsi, an Italian. Kelsey has been stealthily and steadily moving up the ranks, first singing primarily in the smaller American regional opera companies, then moving into the big houses here and abroad and, finally into the big roles. This season he sings Peter in Hansel and Gretel and Enrico in Lucia, both at the MET. No, not Verdi, but watch him closely: he has already stopped the show in San Francisco and in Chicago as Rigoletto. In the link below listen to his goosebumps-inducing handling of the famous phrase: Avrai tu l’universo. Resti l’Italia a mè!

Luca Salsi, a bit older than Kelsey, I surmise has already made a run of the big houses in Europe. For me, and along with Kelsey, this is The Real Deal. A plumy voice, with tremendous stamina, an unending top, musicality, acting chops, musicianship, elegant in demeanor, looks, great diction, Salsi seems to have it all, including holding the promise of singing a great Miller (in Luisa Miller), which happens to be the role with which he will be making what I believe to be his MET debut this year.

Listen to his singing of the big scena from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino in the link below. Salsi takes no prisoners.

But a word to the wise: Peter Gelb should keep his ears and telephone lines open. There are a couple of baritones out there to follow. Their names challenge my spelling skills while amazing my ears: Amartuvshin Enkhbat, a 29-year-old baritone from Mongolia (you heard me right) was one of the finalists in this year’s Cardiff Singer of the World and took home the Audience Favorite trophy and the Art Song Prize.

Another Mongolian, Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar, also 27 then, now 29 (is it something in the yak’s milk?) won First Prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2015. Both he and his fellow countryman are big, burly fellows with big, burly voices.

Ganbaatar is, to our ears, the more refined singer of the two. Enkhbat is the bravest. Are these fellows the new hope? I hope and think so. We need more young singers with the potential to keep the three dozen operas of Verdi in the repertory.

Rafael de Acha   http://www.Rafael’  All About the Arts

Ezio-Attila Duet from Verdi’s Attila : “Tardo per glI anni”, with Quinn Kelsey and Ildar Adbrazakov

Luca Salsi – Morir, tremenda cosa…Urna fatale from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino

Amartuvshin Enkhbat – Cortigiani, vil razza dannata from Verdi’s Rigoletto

Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar – Il balen del suo sorriso from Verdi’s Il Trovatore

  • photographs, from L to R: Quinn Kelsey…Luca Salsi… Amartuvshin Enkhbat… Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar.




Richard Wagner, a Film Biography by Tony Palmer


The course  is: Richard Wagner Film Biography by Tony Palmer

It will be given at the University of Dayton’s OLLI (Special Programs and Continuing Education Department) at 300 College Park, Dayton, OH. Taught by Jim Slouffman, classes start on Wednesday, September 20th from 12:30 -2:30 PM and run for 6 weeks.

Jim Slouffman is the President of the Wagner Society of Cincinnati and an authority on the subject.

To phone register call: 937-229-2347.

Tony Palmer, a friend of Jim’s produced and directed for BBC in London. Jim says: “He had many films on composers like Britten, Puccini and Stravinsky. The Wagner film was his mega-hit, with Richard Burton in the role of Wagner! The film is very revealing. It shows Wagner’s passion and creative process as well as his political intrigues, hi relationship with King Ludwig, the Dresden uprising, and his closeness to Nietzsche and Franz Liszt. It utilizes only Wagner’s music in the background and it assists in the story telling. An amazing film!”

Jim plans to show sections of the Palmer film and them lead a discussion on the content.

Hats of to Wagnerite Jim Slouffman for his efforts on behalf of good music in Southern Ohio!

Rafael de Acha    http://www.Rafael’   All About the Arts  


A Fleeting Vision

THOMAS HAMPSONROBERT MERRILLROBERT MASARDMichel DensMARTIAL SINGHERJOHN CHARLES THOMASERNEST BLANCMaurice Renaud top : Thomas Hampson, Robert Merrill, Robert Massard, Michel Dens, Martial Singher; bottom: John Charles Thomas, Ernest Blanc, Maurice Renaud

While it is easy to hear of a really fine Russian bass or a brilliant newcomer Italian tenor or a “wait until you hear her” German soprano it is less common to encounter either in conversation or on an operatic stage a really fine French baritone. That most manly of male voices, the baritone is one thing to the Italians and another to the Germans and another to the Russians and surely yet another to the French.

The immense in size and importance French Opera repertoire is largely the domain of a lighter, suppler, more lyrical type of voice. French tenors are unsurpassed interpreters of the key leading male roles in the operas of Massenet, Gounod and the operettas of Offenbach. French lyric-coloratura sopranos are indisputably perfect for Massenet’s Manon and Gounod’s Marguerite and two of the three Offenbach heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffman. But, when it comes to casting the baritone parts in the staple baguette et beurre French operas the managements of American opera companies often settle for whoever is at the top of their rolodex, often going for whoever sings the loudest and never mind style.

The Baryton Martin and the heavier, equally flexible, but more dramatic Baryton Noble are central to the French repertoire. This opinion was reinforced recently as we ”surfed” YouTube coming upon several recordings of one of Herod’s arias in Massenet’s rarely produced gem, Herodiade.

Give it to You Tube regulars to voice their likes and dislikes! When one peruses these various links it is inevitable to read commentaries that range from respectful to rants.

We will refrain from harsh criticisms and from lamenting what is no more. The reality that the chronology of these eight selections evidences is that “they don’t make them that good” anymore. As we listen to the scratchy early electrical recording of Vision Fugitive by Maurice Renaud (1860-1933), made in 1906 ( ) we are immediately impressed by a voice schooled in the grand 19th century French tradition.

Renaud’s ease of vocal emission, seamless legato, evenness of registers are all three coupled to exemplary diction, with each word of the text given full value. The phrases Ce brevage pourrait me donner un tel rêve … Je pourrais la revoir … contempler sa beauté are sung by Maurice Renaud as if in a drug-induced reverie – which is exactly what Herod is experiencing.

When he moves into the main body of the aria he does so with increasing passion and a drive that leads up to the very difficult climax: Toi mon seul amour…mon espoir for which Massenet gives the baritone an F-Gb challenge on a single syllable. We hear no “cover”, no changing of vocal gears. Renaud then lands the final phrase on a resonant Eb. Good singing from A to Z!

We moved from oldest to most recent in our list of recordings, with Martial Singher (1904-1990) ( and Michel Dens (1911-2000) ( up next. Singher was a fine artist with a keen talent for interpretation, but his vocal equipment does not allow him to surmount the challenges of this aria, whereas Dens, by contrast, a light baritone who made most of his career in Paris and primarily in the Opera Comique world, is able to conquer the assignment by sheer willpower and intelligence.

From that point on we hear the glorious sound of Robert Merrill (1917-2004)  ( making the most of the dramatic moments of the aria and a bit later in the list, the all-American John Charles Thomas (1890-1960) in a 1934 recording ( in which his struggles with the French pronunciation can be forgiven because of his very beautiful sound. But neither Merrill nor Thomas are exemplary when it comes to the elusive French style and the necessary command of the language, but their magnificent voices make the listener forgive the singers’ sins.

Thomas Hampson in a 2012 recording ( ) is actually much better stylistically than either Merrill or Thomas, but his vocalism is not on a par with that of two French baritones born within two years of each other. Ernest Blanc (1923-2010) ( came of age as a singer during WWII and consequently his career never became what his voice and artistry deserved. He sang as a lyric baritone but went on to tackle some of the Wagnerian repertoire (Wolfram, Amfortas, Telramund), and one can detect that in his dark-hued sound.

Robert Massard (b:1925) sang the Italian repertory with the same panache with which he excelled in the “big” French roles. In this Vision Fugitive he packs vocal beauty, dramatic punch, a great ability for coloring the voice and a marvelous flair for singing pianissimo without manipulating or crooning. A great artist largely unknown in this country but revered by his countrymen, Massard is hands down our favorite.

We hold in our minds a fleeting vision of the arrival of a baritone who regardless of nationality can best the pack in roles as wide ranging as Escamillo, Lescaut, Valentin, Zurga, and the Hoffman villains, and give some enterprising impresario the motivation to mount a new production of Herodiade for him. Here’s hoping.

Rafael de Acha            www.Rafael’            All About the Arts





If you ask the young men and women who study viola and piano and jazz and arranging and composition and cello and clarinet and voice and flute at CCM how they like their professors, they will tell you how lucky they feel to have teachers like Ran Dank and Soyeon Kate Lee and Daniel Weeks and Dror Biran and so many others in their lives. And audience members who attend any one or more of these concerts will also feel lucky to have some of these musicians in our midst here in Cincinnati.

The term is too often abused and overused, but when one looks at the bios of these artists it is easy to come up with the words “world class.” And when you can listen to them in the comfort of the acoustically-perfect Werner Recital Hall at CCM for free, words fail. Let the music speak instead.

When: Tuesday August 29 at 8 pm                                                                                                      Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Jan Grüning, viola and Ran Dank, piano
What: Bach – Suite No. 1 in G Major; Schumann – Liederkreis, Op. 39; Hindemith – Sonata for Viola and Piano in G Major
When: Wednesday September 6 at 8 pm
Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Kim Pensyl, Aaron Jacobs, John Taylor, Ric Hordinski, Brad Myers, Rusty Burge and Rick VanMatre.
What: An evening of original music and arrangements

When: Sunday September 10 at 4 pm
Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Pianist Soyeon Kate Lee
What: Schumann – Davidsbündlertänze, Op.6 and Carnaval, Op. 9

When: Monday September 11 at 8 pm
Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Mark Gibson and Marie-France Lefebvre, pianists
What: Rachmaninoff – Symphonic Dances, Op. 45; Brahms – Sonata for Two Pianos in F Minor, Op. 34

When: Monday September 18 at 8 pm
Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Daniel Weeks, tenor and Marie-France Lefebvre, pianist
What: Liszt: Three Songs; Finzi – A Young Man’s Exhortation, Op. 14; Berger – Villanescas (1941)

When: Wednesday September 20 at 8 pm
Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Belinda Burge, viola; Paul York, cello; Mikey Arbulu, clarinet; Dror Biran, piano
What: Compositions for instruments and electronics by Douglas Knehans

When: Monday September 25 at 8 pm
Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Dror Biran, piano
What: Schubert – Piano Sonata in G Major, D. 894; Rachmaninoff – Prelude in G-sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12 and Prelude in G Minor. Op. 23, No. 5; Prokofiev – Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, Op. 83, No. 7


When: Thursday September 28 at 8 pm
Where: CCM Werner Recital Hall
Who: Heather Verbeck, flute
What: Contemporary Music for Flute, Piccolo and Alarm Clock (!)

Rafael de Acha

http://www.Rafael’            All About the Arts


A fitting finale to the 2017 SummerMusik




Cincinnati: 26.8.2017 SCPA Mayerson Theatre
Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Summermusik 2017
Eckart Preu, Music Director Alon Goldstein, piano MamLuft&Co. Dance, dancers
Philip Glass – Symphony No. 3 – III. Quarter-note= 112
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466
Valentin Silvestrov – The Messenger
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93

The closing concert of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra was a fitting finale to the 2017 SummerMusik, led by newly appointed Maestro, Eckart Preu.  The evening began with the oddly-titled third movement of Phillip Glass’s Symphony no. 3: III. Quarter-note= 112.

The CCO played Glass’s music as MamLuft&Co.Dance performed in a penumbra only illuminated by side lighting, their shadowy movements enhanced on the walls of the theatre.

Choreographers Susan Horner and Elena Moore utilized a rich kinetic vocabulary, creating not merely a storytelling narrative but a visual commentary in counterpoint with the music. Images of bonding, initiation, rejection and acceptance alternated with groupings and solo turns. One must stay alert and watch intently when witnessing a dance piece by this gem of a dance troupe.

Seemingly repetitive and arguably labeled “minimalist”, Phillip Glass’ music for III. Quarter-note= 112 uses a layering of melodic lines that harks back to the early explorations of polyphony in the Renaissance.  The composer positions solo phrases for the first violin that spring out of the dense orchestral fabric only to evanesce moments later.  In this 10 minute movement, the CCO strings created magic, with concertmaster, Mateusz Wolski and principal second violin, Manami White, subtly conversing, while the remainder of the string section supported their musical dialogue, providing the sonic backdrop for the dancers, led by Maestro Preu.

cco_0100Pianist, Alon Goldstein, made his Cincinnati debut, as soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor.  More than merely playing, Goldstein inhabited the world of a work written in the 18th century that at times sounds like a harbinger of Romanticism.  The Israeli pianist’s insightful commentary,  given prior to the music was validated by a performance that fluctuated from soloist bravura to intimate musical conversation with the orchestra. Maestro Preu engaged in a superbly flexible musical give-and -take with the soloist.

Goldstein graciously responded to the ovation that followed by insisting that Preu share the bows with him. He then obliged with a “let-‘er-rip” performance of Alberto Ginastera‘s Danza Argentina.

The members of MamLuft&Co. Dance returned in the second half of the concert to interpret the Mozart-inspired music of Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. Goldstein performed the solo piano part, with both he and the string section playing delicately in the background Silvestrov’s loving tribute to the passing of his wife of many years.  Goldstein’s and the orchestra’s playing engaged one’s aural attention from start to finish, while one’s eyes were on the dancing. In a superbly executed sequence of dancer’s moves, the story of two trees that grow side by side and eventually intertwine became a stunning poetic parable about the cycle of life, and a tribute to a loving marriage.


Eckart Preu

The CCO’s 2017 season came to an end with a joyful reading of Beethoven’s happiest of compositions, his Symphony No. 8 in F Major. After a memorable performance, Preu joined his musicians, responding to the applause of an audience grateful for this year’s SummerMusik season, and for the rebirth of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, one of Cincinnati’s gems.

Rafael de Acha All About the Arts




Gesamtkunstwerk? Nein, danke!


AIDA in Salzburg in Shirin Neshat’s production.

My friend, James Slouffman, Wagnerian of all Wagnerians sent me this link. After reading it, I had to say vent.

My problem with this supposed return of the Gesamtkunstwerk is essentially that it dehumanizes and often even obliterates what should be the center and focus of the operatic experience: the singing actor.

If one looks through the years that the Bayreuth Festival has been the Keeper of the Wagnerian Flame, it is difficult to center one’s focus on the singers, because of the supremacy of the Regie over the singing actor. Again and again we hear about the Wieland Wagner Ring or the Wolfgang Wagner Ring or the Jean Pierre Ponelle Ring or the Patrice Chereau Ring or the Otto Schenk Ring or (God forbid!) the Robert Lepage Ring (at the MET) …und so weiter, while often second-tier singers unprepared to meet the rigors of Wagner come and go

But, if we want to look for great Wagnerian singing actors, we will find most of them in the annals of the MET, Covent Garden, Hamburg and Berlin and Dresden Operas, well before William Kentridge and Robert Wilson and now Shirin Neshat moved themselves into the Opera House and displaced the singing actor and cleared the room in the Opera Party at the expense of…yes, the singer who ends up buried in phony symbolic gesturing and scenic overkill.

Birgit Nilsson, George London, Hans Hotter, Siegfried Jerusalem, Jess Thomas and many other greats thoroughly convinced me that they were the characters they portrayed with their singing and their acting. But, frankly, if you asked me who the director was for any one of the productions in which they starred I’d be hard put to tell you.

Beyond Wagner. About fifty years or so ago I saw a memorable WOZZECK that still gives me goosebumps: Geraint Evans and Marilyn Horne in a San Francisco Opera production. If someone out there can name the director please do. Gobbi’s and Callas’ Tosca…who directed it? Norman Treigle’s Mefistofele…Beverly Sills’ “Donizetti Queens…”?

I do not advocate a return to the days of Park and Bark. Directors who can work with the actors are invaluable commodities these days and those who can are mostly young and inventive team players.

Let’s have more of those.

Rafael de Acha            All About the Arts



For over 36 years LINTON chamber music has let audiences get close to the music
by bringing together world-class musicians to perform in truly intimate
performance spaces.

Sunday, October 1, 2017 and Monday, October 2, 2017
Jaime Laredo, violin, Bella Hristova, violin, Cynthia Phelps, viola, Sharon Robinson, cello, Peter Serkin, piano
Bach, Beethoven, Brahms

The Ehnes Quartet
Sunday, October 29, 2017 and Monday, October 30, 2017
The Ehnes Quartet & Stephen Williamson, clarinet
Bartók, Mozart, Beethoven

Sunday, November 26, 2017 and Monday, November 27, 2017
Timothy Lees, violin, Truls Mørk, cello
Michael Chertock, piano
Beethoven, Prokofiev, Dvořák

January 14, 2018
Randolph Bowman, flute, Ilya Finkelshteyn, cello, Gillian Benet Sella, harp,
Soyeon Kate Lee, piano
Foote, Rameau, Haydn, Ravel, Weber

March 11, 2018 and March 12, 2018
Soovin Kim, violin, Jaime Laredo, viola, Sharon Robinson, cello, Gloria Chien, piano
Mozart, Ravel, Fauré

April 22, 2018 and April 23, 2018

The Ariel Quartet, Timothy Lees, violin, Gabriel Pegis, violin, Christian Colberg, viola
Ilya Finkelshteyn, cello
Kurtág, Beethoven, Mendelssohn

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Elena Urioste, violin, Tom Poster, piano
Kreisler, Schumann, Dvořák, Grieg, Beach, Gershwin

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