Virtuoso saxophonists were the Coltrane-centric Portland Jazz Festival’s backbone Feb. 18-28: Joe Lovano, Gary Bartz, Nicole Glover, Charles Lloyd, Sonny Fortune, Renato Caranto, Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane — not in that order.
The keyboardists, though, stole my heart — not only the soloists but the sidemen who played in trios and quartets, duos and big bands, alongside the headliners. Read More
At last we see a full-fledged production led by Seattle Opera’s new general director Aidan Lang. Hired 18 months ago to fill Speight Jenkins’ large shoes, Lang shows with this Marriage of Figaro that he can put together the pieces of a production with genius and charm. What a vibrant Figaro it is! Its sets, singing, timing, costumes and supra-titles make this production, which continues through January 30, as far from ho-hum as one of the 10 most often performed operas could be. Read More
Imagine a balmy June afternoon in Riberac, one of southwest France’s charming hilly villages. There you are – there I was with my Dutch-born husband – in a sun-filled church renovated for performances rather than worship. In strides Dutch world-renowned baroque conductor and keyboardist Ton Koopman wearing a bright red tie (and black suit) and his signature irrepressible bring-it-on smile. Read More
Telemann? Fasch? The notes pave a route, like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. We keep walking, ears wide open.
After twists and turns, we locate the source. The melody resonates under an arch near the Zwinger, one of Dresden’s opulent Baroque buildings. A brass quartet is blowing in baseball hats and rain parkas. Read More
“Coltrane has the power to move people,” says up-and-coming Portland-grown saxophonist Nicole Glover. “He can reach that special place in you that only you have access to. Some people may call it soul. … But you don’t have to be a spiritual person to feel it move you.” Read More
Double-billed with Georges Bizet’s silly Dr. Miracle, Bon Appetit is the more delicious of the one-acts cooked up this month by Portland State University Opera. It’s an indisputable hoot about Julia Child making a real-life “gateau chocolat.” The show plays through Dec. 13 at PSU’s Lincoln Hall’s 84-seat Studio Theater, a small space to contain such a lot of laughs – but it works. Read More
Chamber Music Northwest hitched up with Portland’s Northwest Dance Project and Korean-born pianist Yekwon Sunwoo in Friday’s performance of Chopin’s music and original dance. Saturday showcased top Argentine tango musicians with Reed College and CMNW Artistic Director David Shifrin on clarinet. And Sunday, the Oregon Bach Festival’s youthful Berwick Academy, led by the dynamic and equally youthful Matthew Halls, played Beethoven with Portland Baroque Orchestra’s Artistic Director Monica Huggett. Now that’s some crossing over. Read More
How do art and moral responsibility intersect? Or do they?
That’s the endlessly intriguing debate enacted in the new chamber opera After Life, whose world premier was staged on a Monday in early May in a small-ish recital hall at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Two weeks later, After Life played to a sell-out crowd in San Francisco’s Temple El-Manuel. Read More
Liam Bonner is easy to find online. He has 1,999 Twitter followers, and he tweets about more than his busy opera schedule. He writes hash-tagged one-liners about beer, Pennsylvania sports teams, Pittsburgh (his hometown), dogs, art, and bad customer service.
“It took awhile to find my voice, but I’ve been dangerous ever since,” the 34-year-old opera singer said over coffee in downtown Portland. Read More
Think you’ve seen enough Carmens? Rest assured one more will be worth dressing up for. This time, Carmen will be far more complex than a seductress. Read More