Economy-sized Fidelio packed with dramatic value

Nobody knows when precisely Beethoven was born. Informed opinion puts his birthday sometime during 1770, so the international musical community has labelled all of 2020 as Beethoven’s 250th year. In Singapore, The Opera People have been among the first to get in on the act by presenting Beethoven’s Fidelio over two nights in conjunction with The Arts House’s own Prologue […]

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Review: ‘Messiah’ at the Philharmonic, Then a Flood

Handel’s “Messiah” was written in late summer and premiered in April 1742, in Dublin; when it came to London, it was the following March. It may surprise those who associate it with bundling up for the cold that the oratorio was originally Easter music. “Messiah” does end with the death and resurrection of Jesus, but its first part reaches a […]

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The Philharmonic Takes on a Composer of Puzzles and Turns

The composer Unsuk Chin has long been known for the dramatic quality of her music — even before her first opera, a 2007 adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland.” Three years before that, when her Violin Concerto won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, the jury commended her not just for her orchestration and sonorities, but also for her “volatility […]

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Liszt’s ‘Harmonies,’ More Intimate Than Ever

If you haven’t heard of Liszt’s “Poetic and Religious Harmonies,” you’re not alone. Performances and recordings of the 10-movement cycle, nearly an hour and a half of music for solo piano, are rare. Few performers are willing to take on not only its daunting scale, but also its grueling restraint — a cohesion held together in a delicate tension of […]

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