On New Year's Eve, Philadelphia Orchestra musical director Yannick Nézet-Séguin will be back on the podium, with champagne and joined by Met opera star soprano Angela Meade, an alum of the Philly's prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts.
As conductor Laura Jackson conducted the Wintergreen Music Festival Orchestra the other night in the "Three Sky Interludes" from Amelia, my 2010 opera for the Seattle Opera, there were several times when she cued the players with what shall have been for a boxer a lethal uppercut.
Sergei Rachmaninoff 's Symphony no. 3, composed in the mid-30s, was also a commission by the Philadelphia Orchestra. It has a surface of the composer's signature romanticism, but he blasts through that shape shifting to something more aggressive.
In recent weeks the Philadelphia Orchestra has performed several programs around music of Tchaikovsky, while just block away the Academy of Vocal Arts was performing a small scale, but vocally big production of Pique Dame (the Queen of Spades).
2013 marked the centenary of the premiere of the The Rite of Spring (Le sacre du Printemp) the ballet score by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky that caused a riot in its Paris premiere.
The next time orchestras are taken to task for being too European, too Caucasian, and too male-dominated, one might reference the new and growing generation of music directors who bring an inclusive sensibility and dimension to artistic leadership.
Yannick Nézet-Séguinmost most appealing trait is the keen aggression he has, tempered by superb restraint. Add to that his youthful enthusiasm and openness, his will to succeed and the friendly and positive mood he inspires in the orchestra members, and you've got a winner.
Unlike a musical like West Side, Nevsky presents challenges of long stretches of no music whatsoever and the dialogue is still dicey in sections. The movie was itself key in bringing back the lost art of live orchestra playing under a film.
She can no longer sustain it on her own. Her portion of the burden is too large, or maybe she passes away, and the orchestra declares bankruptcy. Sounds too fatalistic? It's happening now. It's been happening for years. If you live near an orchestra, you know. And if you don't -- who cares?