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Stories by Garrett Harris

Hide and seek with a battle axe

Beethoven and Prokofiev at San Diego Symphony.

Who knew that Beethoven was a fan of hide and seek? While that might not be historically accurate, there is certainly a sense of tiptoeing around in the opening measures of his Fourth Symphony. During ...

FloFo Jenkins has her big moment

An opera legend may come to the silver screen.

Speaking of a few singers who should turn singing into a hobby, there is now a rumor that a movie is being made about the ultimate pay-to-sing performer. Pay-to-sing programs are legion. They are typically ...

Winners and participants

The 2014 Metropolitan Opera Auditions are an experience.

There is a certain type of person who haunts The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Remember, this is called an audition but it’s a competition. I haven't been in a couple of years but I'm ...

An all-Scottish affair

The San Diego Symphony opens the season with a trio of Scottish-inspired pieces.

Friday night was the first Masterwork concert of the new season. As I sat in the foyer waiting for my dude-date, I didn't observe an abundance of anticipation. It kind of felt like a mid-season ...

Heard for the first time in 500 years

An interesting relic from days of music past has surfaced in England.

The Telegraph has reported that a gift of choral music to Henry VIII has just been uncovered in the vaults of the British Library. It has just received its first performance in 500 years. The ...

Three for the opera

Get a front-row seat for "opera crazy."

This is a big week for classical music. Let's take a look at what's going down. There are three opera concerts that are going to be pretty good. The first is the continuing Opera Wednesdays ...

Wrap it up

I thought I'd finish this thing up but failed.

I may have painted myself into a corner here with a couple of posts about the gym, pop music, ass and eyes. This is my attempt to make those previous posts make sense. George Sandow ...

Two great things

The schedule is pretty thin this week but there a few highlights.

There are a couple of great things happening this week. On Friday evening, at St. James-by-the-Sea Episcopal in La Jolla, New York Polyphony will be performing a concert of Thomas Luis de Victoria’s O Quam ...

The gym and the fancy

Is the gym the only superficial institution we resist?

I'm writing this while on the stationary cycle at the gym. The gym is the domain of ass-eyes. Not ass or eyes. You know, ass-eyes. I'm glancing around from time to time to see who ...

Hahn out, Thayer in

Hilary Hahn has been forced to cancel her Symphony appearance.

The San Diego Symphony is reporting that all-world violinist Hilary Hahn has had to cancel her San Diego appearance. Hahn was to be the featured artist for the Symphony’s opening weekend concerts of October 11, ...

It's still Verdi

The scale doesn't matter in Rigoletto.

Pacific Lyric Association Opera’s performance of Rigoletto on Saturday night was well worth seeing. Why? For one thing, this is an excellent example of how good opera can be when it is scaled down and ...

Ass or eyes?

"Sexy" or "beautiful" — can we tell the difference?

Less ass, more eyes. Well, let's be realistic. Same amount of ass, and add the eyes. What am I getting at? Recently the Aviara Trio gave a performance of Rachmaninoff's Arabesque no. 1 and I ...

Tragic and comic, listen and sing

Verdi's Rigoletto opens Saturday and Gilbert and Sullivan opens Sunday.

Pacific Lyric Association is running three performances of Verdi’s masterpiece Rigoletto starting on Saturday, September 20th at 7 p.m. The venue is the Escondido Center for the Performing Arts. The remaining performances are on Friday ...

Please don't tell me about your influences

Things seem to end up being unfair to both the old and new works.

If there is one idea that gets me worked up, it’s the “inspired by” idea or the “based upon” idea. O Brother Where Art Thou borrows incidents and characters from Homer’s Odyssey but I’d rather ...

Aviara Trio free concert

San Diego libraries provide great concerts all year.

The Rancho Bernardo Public library has a chamber music series. Several libraries have similar programs. They are a rich source of music in San Diego County and they’re all free. I bring up Rancho Bernardo ...

Carlsbad premiers a master

The 11th Annual Carlsbad Music Festival will present multiple interesting classical performances.

The 11th Annual Carlsbad Music Festival is starting September 19th and goes through the 21st. Pulitzer-prize winning composer and Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang will be in residence and his music will be ...

It really is all semantics

Our idea of opera is our idea of ourselves.

Back to my disbelief in the 14 Huffington Post artists who are transforming opera and the fact that many critics have been wrong for many years regarding the progress of music and art. In the ...

Venus is having a baby

Nic Reveles talks about Tannhauser from Bayreuth

We've got more from Dr. Nicolas Reveles regarding the Bayreuth Festival. See part one of this interview here. Nic Reveles: The Tannhauser was probably the weirdest thing I have ever seen in my life. It ...

Transforming opera? I think not

14 artists who are not exactly Wagner.

This Huffington Post article about 14 artists who are transforming the future of opera has been crawling around my Facebook and Twitter. First of all, we get the "grand opera is dead" discussion from the ...

Summer of Wagner

Bayreuth has been the big festival for decades.

July and August are Wagner months on account of the annual Bayreuth Festival in Bayreuth, Germany. The festival has been running since 1876, and has been impossible to attend for most of that time. However, ...

Early start for San Diego Opera

SDO usually starts the season at the end of January. This year it's September.

The beleaguered San Diego Opera officially starts its season way early this year with a September 5 recital concert by opera power-couple Ailyn Perez and Stephen Costello at the Balboa Theatre. Both Costello and Perez ...

Library book, book, book, book

A San Diego Opera preview concert with young singers.

The book, the book, the book, the book, the book.” Believe it or not, someone was singing about “the book” at the Central Library. That someone was Jennifer Wu, and it was awesome. The Central ...

Classical and grotesque

Ken Russell made some interesting movies about composers.

We’ve looked at the great, the okay, and now for the third and final segment on composer films — Ken Russell. Ken Russell defies any categories we might want to come up with. Great? Perhaps. ...

Okay-to-good, but not great

Movies about composers tend to miss the point.

If Amadeus is the only great composer movie, what about some others that are good? I’m not sure there are any that are good-to-great but there are a few that are okay-to-good. Immortal Beloved comes ...

The greatest classical composer movie

Puccini's story might not be operatic, but could it be cinematic?

Regarding the Puccini story, one of our resplendent writers (Matt Lickona) wanted to know why this hasn’t been turned into an opera. I’m not sure how an opera would work but a staged production of ...

The sky is falling in Italy

Productions are being canceled in the birthplace of opera.

The fourth largest opera house in Italy is shutting down its two largest productions of the season, according to a Newsweek report. The fourth-largest opera house in Italy is the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy. ...

Buy Puccini's hideout

Purchase a tiny part of opera history in Italy.

The Guardian is reporting that Puccini’s hideout is up for sale. It’s going for about $535,000. The story goes that Puccini knocked up the very-married Elvira Bonturi and needed a place to hide from her ...

Could San Diego save the Met?

Why isn't there a White Knight Committee in New York?

With the first of a few benefit concerts for San Diego Opera coming up in a few weeks, let's talk a little bit about what has happened in San Diego and what is happening in ...

San Diego was only the prelude

The largest classical music institution in the U.S. faces financial trouble

The struggle at San Diego Opera may have been only the prelude to a much bigger fight at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. There have been several articles regarding the deficits at the Met. The budget ...

Symphony picks up Chicago vet

Martha Gilmer to step into CEO role at San Diego Symphony

The San Diego Symphony has announced Martha Gilmer as the new Chief Executive Officer, to replace Edward Gill. Ms. Gilmer inherits one of the healthiest symphonic organizations in the country, which is a testament to ...

Risky regietheater

What happens when the director strays from tradition?

I just finished a book that claims there is no greatness without an intense amount of thought involved. So, I’ve given it a try and applied this "thinking" thing to art in general and opera ...

Titanic operas

Could big opera work on the San Diego waterfront?

Summer is full of festivals. They’re everywhere. Ev-er-y-where. Let’s take a look at one of the big ones that begins later this month. By big, I mean gigante. Huge. Titanic. That’s the Bregenz Festival in ...

Off the chain, in the flow

A rambunctious festivus finishes this year's Mainly Mozart Festival

The final concert of the Mainly Mozart Festival was off the chain. "Off the chain" — what does that even mean? From Urban Dictionary: "Out of control, wild fun. Just like when your pitbull gets ...

Chamber musicians light the path

The final chamber music concert at the Timken.

The final Timken Museum Mainly Mozart concert was a rough one for me. There were two pieces of music on the program, Kodaly’s Serenade for Two Violins and Viola and Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 9. ...

Entirely not Mozart, entirely badass

All-star symphonic performance neatly frames the master

What would happen if you brought an orchestra together which was comprised of principal players from a slew of different organizations such as The LA Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, ...

Always pressing forward

The La Jolla Symphony concluded its season with Janacek, Haydn, and Ratcliff.

The final concert of the La Jolla Symphony season was a good one. The program included Janacek, Haydn, and a new piece for chorus orchestra, soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and guitar by Cary Ratcliff set to ...

Musical Merit is money

The 69th annual Musical Merit Foundation awards $90,000.

The lucrative Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego held its 68th annual awards program on Sunday, June 1. The competition includes both instrumental and vocal disciplines. The preceding Thursday was the preliminary round, out ...

Masterful Finale in a golden era

The Masterworks season came to a conclusion this weekend at San Diego Symphony

If there's one thing Jahja Ling and the San Diego Symphony can do, it's play Brahms. Over the past few seasons we've heard all four of the Brahms symphonies and each time the performance has ...

Kirill Gerstein brings Russian rain

Downpour of Tchaikovsky, Stravinksy Rachmaninoff hits Jacobs Music Center

The San Diego Symphony concert the weekend of May 16-18 was a mixed bag for me. I'm not speaking of the performance, but the repertoire. The opening piece was Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky ...

Almost perfect in La Jolla

Opera Wednesdays in La Jolla are not to be missed

I went to the most recent Opera Wednesdays concert at the La Jolla Community Center. I must say I enjoyed the concert. The setting was just about ideal in my opinion. The room opened onto ...

The "Rach 3" and the flow of prestige

Is it the movie or the music that should be honored?

This coming weekend is the penultimate concert in the Jacobs Masterworks Series at the San Diego Symphony. The concert features the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 — the "Rach 3" as it was referred to ...

Debussy, Bartok, and Tchaikovsky at The San Diego Symphony

Concert master Jeff Thayer plays the solo while Debussy and Tchaikovsky pine and yearn.

There is something about Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn that aches with nostalgia. When the piece started at the Jacobs Music Center on Saturday night, I settled in to experience a happy ...

Ferruccio Furlanetto talks Von Karajan

The San Diego Opera star talks about the great conductor in part 1 of 3

San Diego Reader: So one question I’ve never been able to ask any singer and will probably never be able to ask again is what was it like to work with von Karajan, you were ...

Brahms, Beethoven, Ax, and Dohnányi at the San Diego Symphony

Two legendary headliners at San Diego Symphony deliver on expectations

I was tempted to recite the musical biographies of Emanuel Ax and Christoph von Dohnányi but that is always boring, especially when the musicians are Emmanuel Ax and Christoph von Dohnányi — meaning they’re such ...

Let it out, let it all out

Tribal Baroque comes to San Diego

Tribal Baroque is in town for a handful of "prayformances" in Balboa Park near Casa del Prado Theater, on April 24 from 3-5 p.m., April 26 at 9 p.m., and April 27 from 3-5 p.m. ...

Dave Mustaine and the San Diego Symphony

Mustaine and the orchestra play an all classical concert together.

Saturday night at the Jacobs Music Center was about the most fun I’ve had at a symphony concert. The buzz before the April 12 concert was alien to those hallowed walls — at least in ...

Project Trio at the Symphony

Beatbox and wave your hands in the air

The Project Trio was in town last weekend. I had recommended them sight-unseen earlier in the week. Having now seen them at the Jacobs Music Center on Sunday, I can say they are the most ...

Opera Wednesday in La Jolla

When was the last time you were able to critique a critic?

Opera Wednesdays are starting this Wednesday at the La Jolla Community Center. As I’ve mentioned before, opera is not dead. The lineup on Wednesday is strong and features a slew of accomplished singers. All of ...

Huge classical weekend ahead

Wanna support music with your attendance? Get some this weekend.

It’s time to walk the talk folks. The musical community in San Diego is talking about saving the opera and the death of classical music. The simple solution is to get out there and go ...

An operatic death

The sky is falling and opera is dying.

Opera is dying, opera is dying, opera is dying! Ticket sales are down across the country from San Francisco to The Met. In a recent interview I had with Ferruccio Furlanetto, he mentioned that things ...

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