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Stories by Garrett Harris

Feminine but not feminist

We will never know if we could have had two Mozarts

Written and performed by Sylvia Milo, The Other Mozart moves chronologically through the life of Maria Anna Mozart. Nannerl and her musical abilities were oppressed by a society in which some people thought uterine bleeding ...

San Diego Opera Maestro remembered

Edoardo Müller was willing to send a message in opera

Years and years ago, a famous opera singer was singing a famous aria from a famous opera during an orchestral dress rehearsal. When the aria ended the music continued but that appeared to be an ...

Macbeth and Verdi

The Scottish play in operatic form

Macbeth is opening at The Old Globe this weekend and it has me thinking about musical settings of Shakespeare. Besides Goethe, Shakespeare is the most influential author in classical music. Perhaps Shakespeare supersedes Goethe’s influence. ...

A ban on all music for the glory of Islam?

Fundamental threat to music

As a musical apologist — and I am certainly more of an apologist than a critic — I often have ideas about how to get great music into the ears of more people. Once it’s ...

Myaskovsky and the return of esotericism

It's summer and the esoteric pick of the week is back

As much as I think I know about classical music I continue to be humbled by how much I don’t know. As we turn toward summer, the esoteric pick of the week is back on ...

Stop being silly Mainly Mozart

A literal silly symphony begins the conclusion of Mainly Mozart

The Mainly Mozart Festival concluded on Saturday night with a program of music which was both brilliant and, shall we say, curious? The Toy Symphony by Leopold Mozart was the first piece on the program. ...

Halfbaked fish

tokyo fish story at Old Globe

The Old Globe’s tokyo fish story features plenty of big themes from generational disconnection to familial nihilism to art versus commercialism to gender discrimination. The other theme is titling one’s play in all lowercase letters. ...

Splinters of Saint-Saëns at Mainly Mozart

Saint-Saëns is great while the Master Chorale does what it does

In general, I’m not a happy clappy person. I’ll applaud a great performance, for sure, but I tend to be more polite with my appreciation instead of exuberant. It’s a personal flaw, but I’m working ...

The invisible maestro at Mainly Mozart

Where was the conductor for this stellar concert?

The last time I spoke with Mainly Mozart music director Michael Francis, he mentioned a book entitled The Ignorant Maestro by Itay Talgam. I looked it up and realized the author had made one of ...

The other Mendelssohn

Older sisters inspire the brothers

The Other Mozart is a play for the stage based on the lIfe of Mozart’s sister Nannerl. The production is here for one night only on Sunday, June 12, 7:30 p.m., at the Balboa Theatre. ...

America's got ruined child voices

Another youngster sings opera in an inappropriate way

Here we go again with the surprise “opera” singer on a talent show. America’s Got Talent just revealed Laura Bretan as the latest Jackie Evancho or Paul Potts or whats-her-name, the Scottish woman who sang ...

Mozart and Beethoven: The adolescents

Early pieces of music by titans is good stuff

Have you ever wished you could meet someone before they became the person you know and love? Maybe wish you could meet one of your parents when they were an adolescent or perhaps experience your ...

San Diego Symphony season retrospective

A look at a few great moments from the 2015-'16 season

The Masterworks Season for the San Diego Symphony has concluded, so let’s take a brief look at the high-water marks. While the Mahler Symphony No. 6 concert had some technical issues this was more than ...

Mainly Mozart Festival: Defender of the Universe

Mozart festival opens this weekend at Balboa Theatre

Tis the Mainly Mozart season. For two weeks the glory of the Mozart shall shine upon us as the Voltron of orchestras assembles. You don’t know Voltron: Defender of the Universe? There was Lion Force ...

The most important music in the world

An exploration of the most influential music in our culture

There is a type of music that is crucial to almost every element of our culture. The old, the young, the rich, the poor, the enlightened, the depressed, the sick, and the healthy all respond ...

Leonard Bernstein — composer, conductor, performer, educator

A new documentary on Bernstein comes out this week

I mentioned that Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalm is being performed this weekend at San Diego Symphony. That just so happens to coincide with a new documentary about Lenny. Leonard Bernstein: Larger than Life is being ...

Season Finale at San Diego Symphony

All Americans close this year's season

The Jacobs Masterworks Series comes to its conclusion this weekend at Symphony Hall. Music by the all-star American lineup is on the program. Samuel Barber, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein will all be ...

Dog days of the season at San Diego Symphony

The sublime was replaced by a rare pedestrian-ism...

A famous conductor once said, “A great orchestra is like an English lawn. It must be clipped and watered twice a day — and for a hundred years.” The San Diego Symphony has been clipped ...

Verdi for the ages

Singora Fausta Truffa sings Verdi

This little video of a woman singing Verdi is going viral. Viral for an opera video that is. Fausta Truffa, the soprano in this gem, does not yield many search results. I thought that perhaps ...

Great Scott delivers at San Diego Opera

Even when it was parodying different styles of opera, the music in Great Scott was heartfelt and true

People, myself included, are scared of modern opera. Modern opera tends to be an unhappy experience. It is bereft of humor and beauty. There's even a Facebook Group against modern opera. Jake Heggie’s Great Scott, ...

Bolero is free at last

Ravel's music exploited no longer

Ravel’s Bolero is now free. The copyright has expired and organizations no longer need to pay royalties to a network of corrupt people who aren’t related to Ravel or his family. This is where copyright ...

The grotesque should be present

Constellations is where Groundhog Day meets 50 First Dates meets Sliding Doors meets Edge of Tomorrow meets What the Bleep do We Know

I overheard a few conversations after the show. Constellations at the Old Globe confused some people. It should be stated that some people are persistently confused. The show, by its own admission, is a personification ...

I gioielli della Madonna, a new old opera

A new recording of Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's old-fashioned jewel

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari is a name we might not recognize. An upcoming release of his opera I gioielli della Madonna has him pinging on my esoteric radar. I gioielli della Madonna, The Jewels of the Madonna, ...

New York Philharmonic: Great and not great

Rhythmic intensity and lyrical insensitivity

The New York Philharmonic gave a concert at Symphony Hall on Wednesday night, May 4. It was loud. The concert was presented by the La Jolla Music Society as a part of their Celebrity Orchestra ...

Great Scott at San Diego Opera

The West Coast premiere of Heggie's new opera

The West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera Great Scott opens at San Diego Opera on Saturday, May 7, at 7 p.m. This is the second production of the show, which premiered at Dallas Opera. ...

New York Philharmonic visits San Diego

One concert only at Symphony Hall

The august New York Philharmonic will be at Symphony Hall on Wednesday, May 4, at 8 p.m. This is the final concert of the year’s La Jolla Music Society Celebrity Orchestra Series. The New Yorkers ...

San Diego Symphony: Mahler in smash mode

Mahler and the San Diego Symphony rage against the dying of the light

"Unrelenting" and "unforgiving" are the words that come to mind at the conclusion of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6. He never allows us to feel relief and the symphony ends not in “tragedy,” as it has ...

Mahler at the San Diego Symphony

Mahler's Sixth Symphony is going down this Friday and Saturday

Mahler Symphony No. 6 is a gargantuan piece of music and we have a chance to hear it at Symphony Hall this Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30. There is no Sunday concert. However, ...

2016-2017 at San Diego Symphony

A preview of what's to come

The San Diego Symphony revealed its upcoming season via a concert event on Thursday, April 21. The orchestra played selections from the 2016-17 season and a few things were the same and a few things ...

One of San Diego Opera's best productions: Madama Butterfly

Latonia Moore as Butterfly revealed the emotions that imbue Puccini's music.

Madama Butterfly is one of the best productions San Diego Opera has presented in recent years. I might even say it's one of the top five best in the past 15 years. Madama Butterfly is ...

New documentary puts a lid on Beethoven

Concerto — A Beethoven Journey is a new documentary exploring the piano concertos of Beethoven. The movie plays on Tuesday, April 26, at the Town Square Reading Theater in Clairemont and the Angelika Film Center ...

Emilie Mayer is a great composer

Playlist No. 5 adds a woman

So far we’ve been looking at what we could call the “standard repertoire” for the Playlist No. 5. Let’s add a female composer to the playlist. Emilie Mayer’s symphonies are fantastic mid-19th-century pieces of music. ...

Cultural musing about Madama Butterfly

The samurai caste is the deciding factor

If we don't understand something of Japanese culture as it existed in the era of Madama Butterfly, then we are tempted to see the story as the West (Pinkerton) being the baddie and the East ...

Two hot cellists rock Symphony Hall

...the greatest and worst concert I’ve ever been to

2Cellos, Tuesday night, April 12, was the greatest and worst concert I’ve ever been to. It tended toward the sublime and the ultra-cheese at the same time. 2Cellos is two young men from Croatia who ...

Tropical Maugham

Better served not to mention Somerset Maugham

The Old Globe has created a new musical based on the short story, Rain, by Somerset Maugham. Transferring the stark characters of Maugham’s story into a musical theater setting is a daunting task. Maugham’s characters ...

Jason Alexander and the loverly San Diego Symphony

The comedian sings us a few songs

Jason Alexander, known to all as George Costanza from TV’s Seinfeld, is a good old-fashioned song-and-dance man. He showed off his singing chops and dancing hoofs at Symphony Hall on Saturday night, April 9. The ...

Madama Butterfly is set to open at San Diego Opera

Puccini, the great whore

If I were pushed to make a declaration of my favorite opera of all time I would admit, with some sense of shame, that it is Madama Butterfly. The shame comes in because Butterfly is ...

Where is Johanna Senfter?

Our first foray into discovering female composers

Information about Johanna Senfter is tough to find. She was born and died in Oppenheim, Germany. Her dates were November 27, 1879 to August 11, 1961. All I can find about her is a list ...

The nut of consciousness

I was expecting a TED Talk. What I got was an intimate chat.

Does anyone remember who R. Buckminster Fuller was? I must admit that my knowledge of him was limited to remembering that he was something of an innovative thinker from the past. Just the other evening ...

Rachmaninoff, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky at San Diego Symphony

Some violence to go with all the romance

Oh hum, just another fantastic concert at the San Diego Symphony. The lineup of Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff make for an accessible concert. These are all crowd-pleasing composers with a flair for the dramatic and ...

Beethoven allegedly takes out Mozart in the U.K.

The philistines at Classic FM have made a list

Beethoven is now greater than Mozart? Yes, the people have spoken and this is the case. The U.K.’s Classic FM 2016 Hall of Fame list is out. Over 170,000 votes were cast and Beethoven has ...

Amy Beach is better than Chopin

Visiting the growing matriarchy in classical music

When discussing Gabriela Lena Frank I mentioned that the time has come for the matriarchal age of classical music. Women have been excluded from classical music since the beginning and it’s getting old. How extreme ...

Star Trek, Grossmont, Art of Elan, and the San Diego Symphony

A full week of classical in San Diego

The Art of Elan has a performance at the San Diego Museum of Art on Tuesday, March 29, at 7 p.m. The Formosa Quartet, Art of Elan’s quartet in residence, will be playing the world ...

Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal and the barbaric yawp

Debussy, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky all on the same night

I knew going in that the concert program for the Orchestre Symphonique Montreal was aggressive. Aggressive as in Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and The Rite of Spring on the same night. The Montréalaises are ...

Mainly Mozart is on the way to San Diego

A taste of what to expect from the festival this year

Spring has sprung and you know what that means. A gentle breeze has started to blow and it is whispering, “Mainly Mozart Festival.” Mainly Mozart music director Michael Francis was in town and we had ...

Stravinsky, Ginastera, and Frank at San Diego Symphony

Balancing the force and fire from the skies at San Diego Symphony

“Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people ...

Ginastera and Yolanda Kondonassis

The harpist speaks of her relationship to the composer

Harp music is an interesting phenomenon, at least it is to me. I’m always happy when I go to a symphonic concert and see a harp or two on the stage. That’s usually a good ...

Classical music helps with erectile dysfuntion

New study from Germany gives hope to sedentary males

New studies at the University of Tübingen in Germany have shown that listening to classical music for 25 minutes per day cures erectile disfunction in men who are pre-diabetic. The added blood flow from listening ...

Prokofiev 5

The next member of the Playlist No. 5

We’re running out of symphony No. 5’s for our playlist. The progression of 5’s had been Beethoven 5, Mahler 5, Tchaikovsky 5, Sibelius 5, Bruckner 5, Shostakovich 5, and now Prokofiev 5. These are all ...

San Diego Opera: Ferruccio Furlanetto recital

The luxurious ache of great singing

Ferruccio Furlanetto gave his U.S. recital debut on Saturday night at Symphony Hall as part of the San Diego Opera 2015-'16 season. If you’ll recall, the last recital I was able to see at San ...

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