Latest in Classical Music

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thanks to listeners in Mancelona, Alden, Mesick, Lewiston, and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Arvo Pärt, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten; Angèle Dubeau/La pieta

2. Traditional, Aura Lee; Mormon Tabernacle Choir

3. John Rutter, “Pie Jesu” from the Requiem mass; composer conducting Aurora Orchestra and Cambridge Singers; Alice Halstead

4. PDQ Bach (a/k/a Peter Schickele), “The Abduction of Figaro,” opening scene; unidentified opera company

One hundred years ago Tuesday, in a working-poor neighborhood of Newport News, Va., a laundress and a shipyard worker had a baby girl. The father soon disappeared, and the mother and child moved north to New York. The mother died. The girl ran away and became one of the most important singers of the 20th century.

Ella Fitzgerald could sing anything: a silly novelty song, like her breakthrough hit, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." A samba that scatted. A ballad, spooling out like satin.

Richard Termine/Metropolitan Opera

Der Fliegende HolländerThe Flying Dutchman – the first Wagner opera that future Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is conducting with the company. The opera, which has not been heard on a live Saturday broadcast since 2000, features baritone Michael Volle as the Dutchman, the ghostly sailor damned to sail the seas in search of the love that will set him free. Soprano Amber Wagner sings the role of Senta, who offers him redemption, and American tenor AJ Glueckert makes his Met debut this season as the huntsman Erik.

Sir Arthur Sullivan is best-known for his full-length operettas composed with W.S. Gilbert, including “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “The Pirates of Penzance.” Sullivan’s prolific output also includes oratorios, ballets, incidental music and dozens of songs and hymns.

This year, Chandos released a new record celebrating Sullivan’s vast songbook. “Arthur Sullivan - Songs” brings together four of England’s rising classical music artists for an album of these rarely-performed pieces.

What will Bill Murray do next?

The beloved actor's curiosity seems boundless. It should be no surprise, then, to learn that his new project finds him paired with a classical cellist.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra LIVE this Friday

Apr 19, 2017

Leonard Slatkin conducts orchestral transcriptions of J.S. Bach, followed by two jazz-inspired DSO firsts!

Hear the orchestra's premiere performance of Shostakovich's Jazz Suite No. 1 and the debut of an all-new concerto by Grammy Award winning composer and pianist Michel Camilo. That's this Friday at 10:45 a.m. on Classical IPR.

A 23-year-old, Russian-born violinist named Artem Kolesov is capturing international attention after posting a YouTube video in which he comes out as gay.

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Anna Netrebko returns to the Met in her acclaimed interpretation of the heroine Tatiana in Tchaikovsky’s romantic tragedy Eugene Onegin, opposite Peter Mattei in the title role, which he has also sung with the company to great praise. Robin Ticciati conducts the performance of Deborah Warner’s production, which also features Alexey Dolgov as Onegin’s friend Lenski, Elena Maximova as Tatiana’s sister Olga, and Štefan Kocán as Prince Gremin.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, April 22 at 1pm ET.

Violinist Daniel Hope’s new album, “For Seasons,” is inspired by the perennial Vivaldi concerto cycle known as The Four Seasons. Hope began learning the Vivaldi concertos at age seven, performing them live for the first time only six years later.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thanks to listeners in Beulah, Mullet Lake Village, Traverse City, Suttons Bay, and many other places for your requests this week.

1. Jean Sibelius, Andante Festivo; composer conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

2. George Frederic Handel, “I know that my Redeemer liveth” from Messiah; John Butt/Dunedin Consort/Susan Hamilton

3. Josef Ivanovich, Danube Waves Waltz (a/k/a The Anniversary Song); Felix Slatkin/Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra

4. George Gershwin, An American in Paris; Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Wikimedia Commons

Join Classical IPR this Friday, April 14 at 6 PM for a special inspired by the liturgy of Christian Holy Week. The liturgy of the Christian Holy Week has inspired centuries of music from diverse composers and is rich with musical depictions and meditations reflecting on the death and suffering of Christ. WFIU's Harmonia presents an hour of music for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday services that lead up to Easter. 

Du Yun, a 39-year-old composer, musician and performance artist, today won the Pulitzer Prize for music for her opera Angel's Bone. The Pulitzer jury describes the piece as a bold work "that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world." Angel's Bone, which has a libretto by the versatile Royce Vavrek (Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves and David T.

Chinese-born composer Du Yun has taken home this year's Pulitzer Prize for music for her opera Angel's Bone, it was announced today during a ceremony in New York.

For a centenarian, the Pulitzer Prize appears to be as spry as ever.

Now in its 101st year, the prestigious prize recognized writers, artists and musicians of nearly every bent — from breaking news and cartooning, to fiction and drama. At a New York City ceremony Monday, Pulitzer Prize Administrator Mike Pride announced the 21 winners of the 2017 award.

Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

Verdi’s Aida, starring Krassimira Stoyanova in the title role of the enslaved Ethiopian princess. Conducted by Italian maestro Daniele Rustioni, who makes his Met debut this season, the opera also stars Violeta Urmana as Aida’s formidable rival Amneris, Riccardo Massi as the Egyptian war hero Radamès, and George Gagnidze as Aida’s father Amonasro, with James Morris as the high priest Ramfis and Soloman Howard as the King of Egypt.

Listen LIVE on Classical IPR on Saturday, April 15 at 1pm ET.

It's a curious thing how ancient music can sometimes sound so contemporary. Listen to "Morgunstjarna," and it's as if three centuries' worth of music history evaporates. The anonymous song from 17th-century Iceland sports a catchy, bittersweet melody and rhythmic hook that pop outfits like Peter Bjorn and John might be happy to whistle.

  Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire bring us a new performance of J. S. Bach’s classic oratorio, St. John Passion. Apollo’s Fire performed the oratorio in March as a live theatrical performance in both Apollo’s Fire’s native Cleveland and New York City; now, the ensemble offers the performance as a two-disc album with accompanying photos and online resources.

 

The opera firmament was shaken yesterday when a New York Times article, headlined "The Diva Departs: Renée Fleming's Farewell to Opera," landed online.

Xavier Verna, the executive director of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, hopes to bring a vibrant arts and culture scene back to Manistee.
Dan Wanschura

If you lived in Manistee in the early 1900s, The Ramsdell Theatre was the place to be.

Women would put on elegant ballroom gowns, and men would get dressed up in fancy tuxedos for a night of arts and culture.

“That was like every weekend,” says Xavier Verna, the new executive director of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. “It was really fun and exciting to have a place that you just always had something to do.”

Photo by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Wagner’s epic tragedy Tristan und Isolde, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Swedish dramatic soprano Nina Stemme leads the cast in her first Met performances of her signature role, Isolde, which she has sung to acclaim with major opera companies around the world. Australian tenor Stuart Skelton sings the role of her doomed lover, Tristan, with René Pape as King Marke, his heartbroken uncle, who comes between the two lovers; Ekaterina Gubanova as Isolde’s maid, Brangäne; and Evgeny Nikitin as Tristan’s companion, Kurwenal.

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