Flu kept Russian mega-diva Anna Netrebko from opening the Met's "Elixir of Love" earlier this month - but she's back, and, says the New York Times, she's "right in the zone, singing with plushness, brilliance and spontaneity. She truly inhabited the role of Adina." And Netrebko's ex, bass-baritone Erwin Schrott, "stole every scene he was in" as the quack doctor who tries to peddle snake oil in her little town.
This week on Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa, internationally renowned pianist Ilya Yakushev takes the stage with Maestro Joseph Giunta and the Des Moines Symphony in their 76th season debut program, From Russia With Ilya.
Join us at noon for a live sneak preview of Opal, by Iowa’s own Robert Lindsey-Nassif - who has composed eight new songs for his acclaimed musical and re-orchestrated it for its Midwest premiere (at CSPS in Cedar Rapids). Jacqueline Halbloom will host Robert and members of the cast; they'll perform selections and tell us more about the story of Opal Whitely, who was orphaned in a shipwreck and raised in an Oregon lumber camp, and grew up to be a well-known nature writer.
In Iowa Public Radio's Studio One, Robert Lindsey-Nassif and members of the CSPS Opal cast along with Iowa Public Radio’s Jacqueline Halbloom explore Lindsey Nassif’s critically-acclaimed musical, Opal. Iowa native Lindsey-Nassif, the composer, librettist, and director shares the background behind this unique riches-to-rags story of Opal Whiteley, a seven-year-old girl orphaned in a ship wreck and raised in an Oregon lumber camp.
Join us Sunday to hear Bizet's Carmen in the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre's new production live from the Paramount. Iowa native Janara Kellerman sings the title role of the gypsy seductress, Alok Kumar plays the love-struck Don José, and baritone Philip Torre appears as the toreador Escamillo. Music director Daniel Kleinknecht conducts Orchestra Iowa, and Jacqueline Halbloom hosts this live Performance Iowa special.
Join us Monday at 7PM as the 2013-2014 Symphonies of Iowa season opens with Orchestra Iowa's "Bachtoberfest." The concert, which pays tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach, opens with his Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, originally for organ but orchestrated by Lucien Cailliet. It is followed by a tribute to the master by Timothy Kramer, BACH meets EsCHer. It closes with Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5, the"Reformation," which was strongly influenced by that composer's love of Bach.
Tune in at 5 PM Tuesday to hear the pianist everyone is talking about playing Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven - and to learn how to pronounce his name! Rafal Blechacz (who won all five first prizes at the International Chopin Competion in 2005) was just named the 2014 Gilmore Artist. What's unique about this $300,000 award, given every four years, is that recipients don't even know they are under consideration until they win. Also, in the second hour of PT, hear Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra perform Beethoven's Second Symphony at Carnegie Hall.
Join us Saturday at noon to hear the Met production everyone's talking about: a Klimt-inspired update of Johann Strauss Jr.'s screwball farce "Die Fledermaus." A new English translation features jokey rhymes and topical swipes, and Broadway's Danny Burstein brings on the shtick as Frosch, the tipsy jailer. This being the Met, you can count on glorious voices and, from the orchestra, a "honeyed tone" (New York Times).
If you haven't discovered our Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center broadcast Saturdays at 1oAM, you might want to check out this week's broadcast of Czech masters. First, the pioneering Bohemian Bedrich Smetana is represented by his Piano Trio- written in memory of his eldest daughter - played by acclaimed violinist Cho-Liang Lin and husband and wife David Finckel and Wu Han. Then the adventurous Moravian Leos Janacek is represented by his Second String Quartet - his "manifesto on love" - performed by one of the world's foremost string quartets, the Pacifica.
Join us Thursday at 7PM as Esa-Pekka Salonen - the Finn who resigned as conductor of the LA Philharmonic so he could get back to composing - leads the New York Philharmonic in Ravel's Mother Goose, the Sibelius Fifth Symphony, and Salonen's own Violin Concerto. The soloist is MacArthur "genius" Leila Josefowicz, who premiered the work in LA. The Sibelius, said the New York Times, was "revelatory" and the Salonen? It was "inspired." Hear it for yourself!
Join us Wednesday at 7PM as Julia Fischer - a great violinist and superb pianist - shows yet another skill, conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in Richard Strauss's profound Metamorphosen and Arnold Schoenberg's Transfigured Night. Oh, yes - she also plays the violin, soloing in the first violin concertos of both Bach and Mozart, and in some Paganini solo caprices.
Concluding the encore portion of Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa 2013-2014 season on Monday, January 14, 2014 at 7 p.m., the Des Moines Symphony presents one of the most beloved and recognizable works of all time, Greig’s Piano Concerto, performed by guest artist Joyce Yang. As a Van Cliburn Silver Medalist, Ms. Yang’s performances capture audiences and leave them breathless. Also included on this program is the famous tone poem Finlandia, by Sibelius and Mahler’s poetic Symphony No. 5.
Join Fred Child Tuesday at 6PM as the ever-innovate Imani Winds come into the studio to perform a work by member Valerie Coleman, "Red Clay and Mississippi Delta," as well as music by Wayne Shorter and Jason Moran. There's also some terrific Tchaikovsky, Ravel, and more!
Tune in Monday at 7PM to hear a musical high point of 2013: Orchestra Iowa's world premiere of "American Gothic," which it commissioned from composer Michael Daugherty. A Cedar Rapids native who has won international fame and multiple Grammy awards, Daugherty took his inspiration from the art of another Cedar Rapids native, Grant Wood. Orchestra Iowa is just now releasing a CD of the work, but you can re-audition the concert premiere on this Symphonies of Iowa rebroadcast, which also includes the Dvorak 7th Symphony and Rachmaninoff's The Rock.
Join us at 2PM for our weekly broadcast from Austria's Salzburg Festival. Today's artists are the Simon Bolivar Quartet - an internationally renowned product of "El Sistema," the Venezuelan charity that uses classical-music training to "rescue young people in extremely impoverished circumstances." On the program is Ravel's gentle String Quartet, Shostakovich's powerful Eighth Quartet, and more - including some encore Mozart from pianist Alfred Brendel.
Join host Jacqueline Halbloom for this month's Iowa Arts Showcase at 11Am or 5PM. Her guests include Iowa native Robert Lindsay-Nassif, speaking about his acclaimed Off-Broadway musical, Opal, to be produced this month in Cedar Rapids.
Tune in Saturday at noon as Julie Taymor's innovative production of "The Magic Flute" returns to the Met - conducted by master Mozartian Jane Glover in her Met debut. (She is only the third woman to conduct there.)
Join us tonight at 7 as our weekly Chicago Symphony Orchestra broadcast moves to a new time: Friday night. We're starting with an exceptional concert: the noted Finnish composer /conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen leads what may be our greatest orchestra (the CSO) in what may be the greatest symphony (the 7th) written by Salonen's greatest compatriot (Sibelius). Also, Yo-Yo Ma joins for the Cello Concerto by the great Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, with whom Salonen worked closely for decades.
Love, lust, betrayal, and revenge all simmer during the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s production of Bizet’s Carmen. Mezzo soprano and Iowa native, Janara Kellerman, sings the title role of the gypsy seductress. Tenor Alok Kumar plays the love-struck Don José, and baritone Philip Torre appears as the handsome toreador Escamillo.
Join us Thursday at 7PM as the New York Philharmonic performs Appalachian Spring and An American in Paris, and baritone Thomas Hampson sings Copland's Old American Songs - and selections from Broadway musicals.
Continue New Year's festivities at 2PM on IPR Classical with Boston Baroque's annual Bach New Year concert from Cambridge, MA. The music this year includes the Brandenburg Concertos no. 3 and 4, plus the lovely Wedding Cantata and the delightful Coffee Cantata. (Spoiler alert: the father relents and gives his daughter permission to drink this radical new beverage!) Martin Pearlman conducts the ensemble he founded 40 years ago.
Tune in now for Iowa Public Radio’s special New Year's broadcast of FRANKENBOY! from the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. This children's work by Iowa composer Robert Lindsey-Nassif tells the story of Melvin Frankenstein and his first day at Transylvania Middle School. It delights children while teaching them about avoiding bullying and tolerating diversity.
Start 2014 with the Vienna Philharmonic's annual New Year's Day concert, broadcast live from Vienna at 10AM. This year, the orchestra has invited Daniel Barenboim, the Israeli conductor and pianist, to lead their festival of waltzes, polkas, and other Viennese delights. At noon, stay tuned for the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre performing Robert Lindsey-Nassif's marvelous new children's opera Frankenboy (the story of Melvin Frankenstein and his first day at Transylvania Middle School), and then at 2PM, join us to hear the Boston Baroque and Martin Pearlman in a New Year's Day Bach concert.
On Iowa Public Radio’s Symphonies of Iowa series’ encore broadcast Monday, January 6, 2014 at 7 p.m., Orchestra Iowa concludes their 2012-2013 symphonic season with the world-premiere of Michael Daugherty’s American Gothic. Michael Daugherty is a Cedar Rapids native and multiple Grammy-award winner. Orchestra Iowa commissioned this work, which was inspired by one of Grant Wood’s best-known paintings. Rachmaninov’s The Rock and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7 complete the program.
For a New Year's Eve change of pace, join us at 4PM for "A Season's Griot," public radio's only nationally syndicated Kwanzaa program. Acclaimed storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson hosts this annual one-hour celebration of the tales and traditions of African-American and African peoples. Then, at 7PM tune in for Paul Winter's annual Winter Solstice celebration concert from New York City.
As we kick off the New Year, Iowa Public Radio’s January Iowa Arts Showcase takes you behind the scenes with guest stage director Bill Ferrara as he shares his take on the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s production of Bizet’s Carmen. A classic tale of love, betrayal, and revenge, the gypsy seductress Carmen, sung by Iowa native Janera Kellerman, tires of her soldier lover Don José in favor of the handsome toreador Escamillio.
Join us Sunday at 2PM to hear Susanna Mälkki, the Finnish conductor who recently became the first woman ever to conduct at La Scala (they are inviting her back), in what critics called "easily the most impressive" Chicago Symphony debut of recent seasons. She conducts Debussy's La Mer (a specialty of hers), music for Shakespeare's The Tempest by her countryman Sibelius, and .…but all shall be well by the noted English composer Thomas Adès. And MacArthur "genius" Leila Josefowicz joins as soloist in Stravinsky's Violin Concerto.
Join us at noon for a live broadcast of "Tosca" from the Met. The production was booed when it premiered in 2011, but reworking has turned it into a success - largely because of Sondra Radvanovsky, whose "luminous performance breathed life" into the production, according to the New York Times. It called her Floria Tosca a "multidimensional, fiercely individual portrayal, grounded in her voice [which is] elegant and blooming." It also praised conductor Marco Armiliato for "shaping a dramatically animated and expressive performance."
If you missed this year's St. Olaf Christmas concert, it was so good that we're reprising it Friday at 7 PM - join us! The LA Philharmonic, usually heard at this time, will be moving to a new weekly slot: check this space as we announce it as well as some exciting new programs starting in January!
Kick off the New Year with Iowa Public Radio’s special broadcast of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Young Artist production of FRANKENBOY! by Iowa composer and librettist, Robert Lindsey-Nassif. Robert is the recipient of several awards for his Off-Broadway productions. FRANKENBOY! tells the story of Melvin Frankenstein and his first day at Transylvania Middle School.