Category: Music Scene

  • La bohème

    La bohème

    I have always thought of La bohème as two operas. The first two acts are full of joie de vivre and exhibit a carefree attitude to love and life that reflects the sunny side of Parisian life in the mid-19th century. The final two acts becoming increasingly mawkish as the opera moves to various stages […]

  • Schumann concerto “tough as nails”

    Schumann concerto “tough as nails”

    During her lifetime Clara Schumann outshone her husband Robert, who was most often known as “Clara’s husband.” The tide of fashion turned, making Robert, who died in 1856, a household name while Clara’s reputation has faded. A revitalised interest in Clara and her music led to a 2004 opera about her life, and the Austin […]

  • A Blessing for the Living

    A Blessing for the Living

    Last weekend in Pensacola, just a day after I had heard the Austin Symphony Orchestra play the St. Anthony Variations by Brahms, I was having a discussion with TV director Jonathan Frakes. Yes, the very same person who was a star of Star Trek: Next Generation. He told me about a play by Tom Stoppard […]

  • Storm Large coming to Texas

    Storm Large coming to Texas

    There is a storm brewing in central Texas: on March 21 Storm Large will be making an appearance in New Braunfels near San Antonio. The whirlwind singer is on tour, and Sun News caught her act in Seattle last month. She was there with the Seattle Symphony orchestra as part of their pops series. In […]

  • Peter Noone

    Peter Noone

    For a rollicking good time, there is nothing better than a Herman’s Hermits concert. The carefree persona of lead singer Peter Noone, an original member of the band from 1964, has remained constant for 55 years (he is now 71). “When we first started, we came to Austin,” Noone said. “There were teenage girls waiting […]

  • Fleisher plays Mozart

    Fleisher plays Mozart

    Sharing the stage with a titan of music, the Austin Symphony this weekend welcomed pianist Leon Fleisher into its midst to play Mozart’s piano concerto no. 12. Now 90 years old, Fleisher was dubbed “the pianistic find of the century” when he made his debut with the New York Philharmonic at age 16. He joked […]

  • A Brian Wilson Christmas

    A Brian Wilson Christmas

      Imagine listening to one of your favourite albums from long ago. Then imagine attending a live concert by the group that created that album. Finally, imagine hearing them play the whole thing for your enjoyment. It is a rare event, but not unique. Earlier this year I attended a Kansas concert where they played […]

  • Brahms’ Mountainous Concerto

    Brahms’ Mountainous Concerto

    “It is a long and massive piano concerto. Just making it to the end of the first movement is like making it to base camp.” Pianist Orli Shaham was likening Brahms’ Piano Concerto no. 2 to a mountain expedition in remarks at Austin’s Long Center. As an international pianist of high repute, she was able […]

  • Otello: Lessons for Our Time

    Otello: Lessons for Our Time

    The lasting legacy of Shakespeare resides in part on his relevance to more modern times. Even though his plays deal with events hundreds of years ago, each succeeding generation finds new insight in his work. That is at the heart of Verdi’s love of Shakespeare: he adapted Macbeth, Falstaff and Othello into operas. The latter, […]

  • Bernstein at 100

    Bernstein at 100

    Leonard Bernstein would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Alas he only made it to 72, dying in 1990, the year after I saw him at Carnegie Hall. Throughout 2018 symphonies across the country have been performing his music. Here in Austin we were treated to his 1954 composition Serenade back in April, and […]