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Classical

Itzhak Perlman

by B.A. Nilsson March 6, 2014

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  There’s a published edition of Bazzini’s “Round of the Goblins” that reads, “For the player who has mastered all technical difficulties, because they’re all there in this brief violin showpiece. Not only must your left ...

0 comments Proctors

A Perfect Trio

by B.A. Nilsson December 12, 2013

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  The sun was setting, the hall was warm, so I drifted into a kinda-conscious twilight in which the music became an emotionally laden dialogue, a passionate exchange between lovers. Words weren’t needed. Spoken communication requires ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

The Orchestral Zelda

by David King November 13, 2013

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  It’s intermission at Proctors last Friday night and a mix of people of all ages are streaming out into the lobby—from five-year-olds in Mario Bros. shirts to elderly couples in neat, crisp formal attire, and ...

1 comment Proctors

Virtuoso Showcase

by B.A. Nilsson October 17, 2013

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  Those who expected to be awed by the legendary Red Violin learned an important lesson last week. Elizabeth Pitcairn, who owns and plays that particular Strad, gave a recital at the University at Albany Performing ...

1 comment University at Albany PAC Recital Hall

Genius, Wit

by B.A. Nilsson October 10, 2013

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  Bach’s Goldberg Variations run about the length of an early Marx Brothers movie, but conceal their humor more deftly. Like the movies, the variations are episodic, drawing from long-standing entertainment traditions, but lacing those traditions ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Entertaining and Scholarly

by B.A. Nilsson August 22, 2013

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  If you can devote but one day to a Bard Summerscape composer series, you should go whole hog. A Saturday, for example, starts with a 10 AM talk, and breaks in time for you to ...

1 comment Bard College Olin Hall

Comedy Is Not Pretty

by B.A. Nilsson August 15, 2013

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  A large, ornate picture frame dominates Court Watson’s set for the Glimmerglass Festival’s production of the Verdi’s rarely seen Un giorno di regno, presented in English as King for a Day. Smaller frames periodically fly ...

Glimmerglass Festival

Unamplified Glory

by B.A. Nilsson August 7, 2013

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  The Lancelot problem keeps the Arthurian writers and scholars on their toes. According to Thomas (“Tom of Warwick”) Malory, he slavishly follows the Pentecostal Oath; by the time T.H. White gets hold of him, he’s ...

Glimmerglass Festival

Glorious Suffering

by B.A. Nilsson August 1, 2013

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  Musical portraits of suffering and pain probably go back to the beginnings of song, and the musical techniques of rendering it have since then grown ever more intricate. Our ears are long accustomed to the ...

Glimmerglass Festival

Master and Commander

by B.A. Nilsson July 10, 2013

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  First let’s salute scenic designer James Noone. If we’re not going to inhabit Norwegian cliffs, we need something as eye-catching as the abstraction of ship and rigging that framed the stage. But then let’s thank ...

Glimmerglass Festival

Forever Young

by B.A. Nilsson June 5, 2013

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  The name of this ensemble, drawn from the very fine ranks of the Albany Symphony, was chosen by music director David Alan Miller when it proved, of the many choices he compiled, most distasteful to ...

EMPAC

American Sound

by B.A. Nilsson May 1, 2013

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  The cultural gap between Albany and Manhattan gapes far out of proportion to the mileage that separates them. To Albany, Manhattan is the intimidating cosmopolite. The reciprocal view sees Albany as a dump heap of ...

Palace Theatre

Bye

by B.A. Nilsson May 1, 2013

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  David Finckel made his goodbye appearance as cellist with the Emerson String Quartet at Union College on Sunday—he permanently leaves the group later this month—in a program that made considerable demands on his talents. This may ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Fond Farewell

by B.A. Nilsson February 20, 2013

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  With a fascinating program and consummate skill, the Tokyo String Quartet made its final appearance in a Friends of Chamber Music concert, capping not only a series of visits that began in 1971 but also ...

Emma Willard School

Tweeting Verdi

by David King February 20, 2013

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  Opera with a Tweet. It may sound like a hokey idea—perhaps even one that could derail an opera. Why do we care about what characters are Tweeting at each other? Won’t it take the viewer ...

GE Theatre at Proctors

A Perfect Holiday Blend

by B.A. Nilsson December 20, 2012

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  Even as die-hard a fan such as I has to admit that there can be a certain sameness to a Boston Camerata Christmas program. But I counter the dreaded December assault of horrible holiday music ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

Small Groups, Big Sound

by B.A. Nilsson October 25, 2012

  Perched as I was in a balcony seat, I easily could see the man in a house-right front row (pew, actually, this being Union College’s Memorial Chapel) dragging his overcoat up over his ears and, ...

Union College Memorial Chapel

The Bitter and the Sweet

by B.A. Nilsson August 16, 2012

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  In an effort to fill some of the many, many empty seats that gape during SPAC’s Philadelphia Orchestra performances, a special deal was offered last Friday by which a $22 lawn ticket could get you ...

1 comment Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Restored Reputation

by B.A. Nilsson August 16, 2012

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The panel discussion that opened the day’s events at this year’s Bard Music Festival was titled “Prodigy, Polymath, Globetrotter, and Reactionary.” When you consider that Saint-Saëns was the most famous French composer of the late ...

Bard College Richard B. Fisher Center

Mostly French Delights

by B.A. Nilsson August 16, 2012

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Nothing like the dramatic tolling of an offstage bell to suggest something bad is about to happen. We’d been dodging rainfall all afternoon, and the sounds of the accompanying gusts rattling the Tanglewood trees was ...

Tanglewood Shed

Transcendent

by B.A. Nilsson August 8, 2012

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  As the second act of Lost in the Stars gains momentum, Stephen Kumalo, an Anglican priest, faces a moral dilemma that threatens the foundation of his faith. “O Tixo, Tixo, Help Me!” he sings, and ...

Glimmerglass Festival

A Grand Tour

by B.A. Nilsson August 8, 2012

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Before the Philadelphia Orchestra took the stage at the amphitheater, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center grounds sported a tented bazaar in which samples of tea and comestibles were offered, and colorful clothing and other accessories ...

Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Baroque Style, Direct Emotions

by B.A. Nilsson August 1, 2012

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When the first conflagration erupted, it was a charming kerfluffle of lighting and drums. The next one was more frightening, because by that time I’d settled into more of a 17th-century sensibility and thus was ...

Glimmerglass Festival

Americana Perfected

by B.A. Nilsson July 25, 2012

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The two most famous examples of the stubborn face of Iowa are Grant Wood’s American Gothic and the song “Iowa Stubborn” from early in The Music Man. Appropriate, then, that they’re brought together—however anachronistically—in the ...

Glimmerglass Festival

A True Blockbuster

by B.A. Nilsson July 11, 2012

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Your average (and I do mean average) summer blockbuster movie has nothing on an old-fashioned, big-assed production of Aida. No amount of CGI can match the spectacle of livestock lumbering across the stage as a ...

Glimmerglass Festival