The June edition of Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase kicks off with Ted Swetz and Jody Hovland discussing Riverside Theatre’s upcoming productions of Hamlet and The School for Scandal at Riverside Theatre in the Park. Hovland is the artistic director and one of the original three founders of RiversideTheatre. Swetz, a Professor of Theater at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and past theatrical director at Riverside, is returning this year to direct The School for Scandal.
Tenor superstar Matthew Polenzani portrays the smitten poet Werther in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Massenet's opera, based on the Goethe novel that rocked Europe. Sophie Koch stars as the unfortunate object of his affection, Charlotte.
Today is the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner. Performance Today at 5 will be almost all Wagner; Barney Sherman from 1-5 will play just a little of his music, but will also feature music by composers who respond, in some way, to or against Wagner: Debussy (a recording of him playing his own "Children's Corner"), Faure, John Adams, Leonard Bernstein, and a movement by Bruckner. We'll also sample a new recording of one of the works that most influenced Wagner, Beethoven's 9th. (And for more, Bill McGlaughlin continues his week-long series on Wagner at 9 PM.)
What do we make of the complex legacy of Richard Wagner on the 200th anniversary of his birth, Wednesday? Both Performance Today with Fred Child (5-7 PM) and Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin (9-10 PM) are exploring the question this week with fascinating results. Tune in tonight to PT, for example, to hear Gabriel Faure's "Souvenirs of Bayreuth" - a cheeky quadrille on themes from the Ring Cycle - as well as Wagner in concert by leading performers (among those on PT this week are Bryn Terfel, Deborah Voigt, Sir Simon Rattle, and Esa-Pekka Salonen).
"The Heavens Laugh, the Earth Rejoices" is the title of a Bach cantata and of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony's concert of Easter-related Bach, which you can hear tonight at 7 PM. The Brandenburg Concerto no. 1 is preceded by sinfonias from several cantatas (including "The Heavens Laugh, the Earth Rejoices" BWV 31) and the Easter Oratorio, and by the entirety of the beautiful Cantata 104, "Hear, O Shepherd of Israel" (with the University of Northern Iowa Cantorei and soloists Jeffrey Brich and John Hines). Music Director Jason Weinberger conducts.
Tune in today at 12 noon for the season's first broadcast from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, featuring Verdi's Simon Boccanegra - "essentially a heartwarming story about a compassionate political leader... who is reunited with his lost daughter...and makes peace with two political enemies" (as the New York Times summarizes the plot). The renowned American baritone Thomas Hampson heads the stellar cast.
Tune in Thursday at 7 PM as Masaaki Suzuki - one of the world's most renowned Bach interpreters - kicks off the New York Philharmonic's month-long Bach Festival. The Japanese keyboardist/conductor, one of the few recipients of the Royal College of Music's "Bach Prize," has been recording the complete sacred vocal works, keyboard works, and orchestral works for the prestigious BIS label, to great acclaim. Hear him conduct Bach's Magnificat and motet "Sing to the Lord a New Song" (as well as Felix Mendelssohn's Magnificat and Christus).
Join Barney Sherman Tuesday afternoon to hear a strong candidate for "most-inspired recording ever of Schubert's last symphony." Also on the show is a major new recording of Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata and a Trio Sonata by .... it's complicated, but you can hear it at 1 PM.
Join us Monday at 7 PM as the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, led by music director Joseph Giunta, performs Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. Before the performance is a presentation from the "Beyond the Score" series (co-sponsored with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) taking us into the rich sources of this masterpiece, from Beethoven to ballet to Russian folk song. (you can sample it at:
Wagner's mighty "Ring" Cycle reaches its finale with "The Twilight of the Gods," broadcast live on IPR starting at 10 AM Saturday. Deborah Voigt is Brünnhilde - "a role she has made her own," according to the New York Times, which also praised conductor Fabio Luisi, for drawing "a muscular, passionate, but never hurried performance from the orchestra."
The Act II finale from La Clemenza di Tito. Sarah Fisk as Vitellia (kneeling); behind her, Lisa Neher as Annio and Allison Crain as Servilia; at center is Brian Dykes as Publio; and Quiliano Anderson on platform as Tito.
On the May edition of Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase, we will hear from Laura Johnson on the University of Iowa Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. Johnson is a visiting professor to the university and the guest director to the ensemble. The performance took place at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City on May 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Hear great piano playing from Emanuel Ax today on IPR. This afternoon, Barney Sherman broadcasts Ax's powerful new recording of Beethoven's "Eroica Variations," and tonight the New York Philharmonic (where Ax is artist-in-residence) features him in Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 25, a work that was a major inspiration for Beethoven. Ax, a Polish-born American, is best known as recital partner of Yo-Yo Ma, but if you haven't heard his solo work lately you are in for a treat.
J.S. without his wig: a reconstruction of his face using digital forensic technology and a bronze cast of his skull, by Dr. Caroline Wilkinson of The Centre for Forensic and Medical Art in Dundee, Scotland.
Here's what forensic scientists think Bach looked like without his wig. And you can hear what scholars think some of his works sounded like in lost original versions on Barney Sherman's show each afternoon. Thursday's show also includes the "Courtly Dances" from Britten's Gloriana, a powerful new recording of Beethoven, and much more.
Join IPR's Barney Sherman for four hours of classical music this afternoon starting at 1. Along with music of Poulenc, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and more, Barney will begin a daily series of reconstructions of lost works by J. S. Bach, "Back-engineered Bach." Up today: the Cello Suite no. 4, which may have started life as... well, tune in to hear!
In collaboration with the Chicago Symphony for their third BEYOND THE SCORE presentation, the Des Moines Symphony presents Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F Minor. This beautiful and inspiring four movement piece has captivated listeners since its first performance in Moscow in 1878.
Tune in at 7 PM to hear Orchestra Iowa in one of music director Tim Hankewich's favorite works: Brahms's Third Symphony. Also on the program is a Concertino by Carl Maria von Weber, with euphonium soloist Roger Oyster, and Edward Elgar's "Enigma" Variations. The concert was recorded in March and is part of our Symphonies of Iowa series.
Join Jacqueline Halbloom for previews of some major arts events in our state. This month, director Laura Johnson leads off, telling us about the production in Iowa City this weekend of Mozart's second-to-last opera, La Clemenza di Tito. Next comes David Janssen of the Brucemore in Cedar Rapids on this summer's events; then Hugh Pettersen of the Gallagher-Bluedorn in Cedar Falls tells us about the upcoming Creme de la Creme 13. Finally, Michael Egle of the Des Moines Metro Opera updates us on its next season. Hear them at 5 PM Saturday on IPR Classical.
Tune in Saturday at 7 AM or Sunday at 6 PM to hear a new Iowa-centered chamber group, Trio 826, recorded in concert. The Trio - violist Julia Bullard of UNI, cellist Hannah Holman, formerly of the Maia Quartet, and violinist Susanna Klein - are joined by pianist Rene Lecuona of the University of Iowa. On the program are string trios by Borodin (transcribed by Dr. Bullard) and Kodaly, a work by Robert Washut, and Faure's Piano Quartet no. 1. The broadcast is part of our University Concert series.
Francis Poulenc's "Dialogue of the Carmelites," one of the Met's most acclaimed productions, airs live today starting at 12 noon. Poulenc tells the story of Carmelite nuns martyred in the French Revolution with what the New York Times calls "eloquent music that hardly calls attention to itself yet lingers with you." Patricia Racette, Erin Morley, Isabel Leonard, and Felicity Palmer head the cast; Louis Langree conducts.
Tune in Thursday at 7 pm to hear "Prospero's Rooms" - a piece by Christopher Rouse based on Edgar Allen Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" - premiered by the New York Philharmonic with music director Alan Gilbert. Also on the program is Charles Ives's Fourth Symphony, inspired in part by Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Celestial Railroad," and Leonard Bernstein's "Serenade," inspired by Plato's "Symposium," performed by Joshua Bell. The broadcast is hosted by Alec Baldwin.
The players stomped their feet to applaud the conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin - that's how great the Philadelphia Orchestra's recent Carnegie Hall concert was. Hear it for yourself tonight at 7 on SymphonyCast. The New York Times said, "The ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogeneous richness, has never sounded better." On the program are Ravel's La Valse, Szymanowski's Violin Concerto (Leonid Kogan is the soloist), and Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony.
Join us tonight at 7 to hear the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony perform three works inspired by the Midwest. Jonathan Chenette’s Rural Symphony is his creative response toIowa's prairies and farm life. Antonin Dvorak’s “American Suite” draws on his visit to the United States, including a summer in Iowa. Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land depicts the story of a young girl about to leave her home on a Midwestern farm. Jason Weinberger conducts, on this Symphonies of Iowa encore broadcast.
Tune in Saturday at 7 PM for the UNI Opera Theatre's irresistible production of Johann Strauss Jr's witty, melodious "Die Fledermaus." It's performed in communicative English and led by Jonathan Girard. The broadcast is part of our "Arias in April" series. (Bonus: watch the rehearsal of the overture:
Tune in at 7 tonight to hear pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard play Mozart's 23rd Concerto, plus a new concerto written for him by fellow Frenchman Tristan Murail. Also, American David Robertson conducts Beethoven's irresistible Symphony no. 2, and a work by the mystical Frenchman Olivier Messiaen. As usual, Alec Baldwin hosts this weekly broadcast of the New York Philharmonic.
Hear the orchestra voted the world's finest with the rising Taiwanese conductor Shoa-Chia Liu in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Debussy's Images at 7 pm on IPR Classical. Liu, who was music director of the Hannover State Opera and now heads the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, has been called "exceptionally gifted" and a "master of nuance" by the German press. As for the Royal Concertgebouw, it came in #1 in a 2010 Gramophone poll ofinternational critics. The concert comes to us from SymphonyCast.