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Stories by Garrett Harris

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 ...

San Diego Opera calls it quits

Out with the old

Last night at the conclusion of San Diego Opera’s orchestral rehearsal for Verdi’s Requiem, Gerry Whitney was honored. Gerry has been with San Diego Opera for 43 years and has been in a ridiculous number ...

An interview with Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano (3 of 3)

The conclusion of the Reader interview with Stephanie Blythe

Part one began our interview, it continued with part two, and concludes here. SB: Last night, for the first time in my life, I watched How Green Was My Valley. Oh my God, it’s a ...

An interview with Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano (2 of 3)

"I think art is born of two things: love and risk, that’s all it is."

Un Ballo in Maschera has opened at San Diego Opera and the reviews are lauding its merits. And indeed they should. Ballo can be great or it can be an ordeal. This Ballo is top-to-bottom ...

An interview with Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano (1 of 3)

A conversation about weather, travel and art

We started our conversation with some small talk about the weather and Girl Scout cookies. Stephanie Blythe: I spent a week in Rancho Mirage before we came here. Oh my god, I couldn't believe it. ...

Stephanie Blythe is a romantic

Superstar mezzo-soprano coming to San Diego

Stephanie Blythe is in San Diego to sing. It’s what she does, and she does it as well — if not better — than anyone you’ll ever hear. I was able to sit down and ...

The Ring, without words

The Ring Without Words. That’s all I need to write. The Ring Without Words. I’ll add the time and dates as well. Friday, February 28th and Saturday, March 1st, at 8:00 pm and Sunday, March ...

Everyone loves the soprano

Tatiana Lisnic is winning the ears and hearts of San Diego

Something amazing is happening at San Diego Opera right now. In an opinionated industry, as we discussed with Frank Porretta, there is a consensus regarding soprano Tatiana Lisnic. Every, single person I know who has ...

Kevin Burdette: Feel the love

The conclusion of our interview with opera singer Kevin Burdette

...Continuing with our interview of opera singer Kevin Burdette. San Diego Reader: Are you married? Kevin Burdette: I am. I met my wife while working at a law firm in New York — well, wait. ...

Kevin Burdette: Shakespeare is a "gateway drug into opera"

An interview with a comedic opera singer: part 1 of 2

Watching Kevin Burdette perform a comedic opera is kind of like watching Jim Carey perform opera — only Kevin sings better. Kevin is a lanky bass from Knoxville who nearly stole the show last season ...

Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra

The Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra is presenting the "An American Experience" concert next weekend. This showcase of American composers will begin at 8 pm on February the 15th at Crill Hall on the Point Loma Nazarene ...

San Diego Symphony back from opera

Pipa master Wu Man to solo with orchestra

With Pagliacci in the books at San Diego Opera, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra returns to the Jacobs Music Center for a concert off the beaten path this coming weekend. The first rarity of the ...

Joshua Bell is back in San Diego

A quick interview with violin mega-star Joshua Bell about his upcoming concert.

Joshua Bell is a busy, busy, man but he will be coming to San Diego to give a solo recital on Friday February 7th. We all know and love him in San Diego for his ...

Frank Porretta: A tenor talks (2 of 2)

Part two of an interview with San Diego star Frank Porretta.

San Diego Opera's production of Pagliacci opens on Saturday, January 26th. The show starts at 7:00 pm at The Civic Theater. There are only four performances: January 26th, 28th, 31st and February 2nd. Read part ...

Frank Porretta: A tenor talks (1 of 2)

The star of the upcoming production of Pagliacci at San Diego Opera talks about the biz.

The last time Frank Porretta sang with San Diego Opera was the last time he sang the role of Duca in Verdi's Rigoletto. His voice has matured into roles such as Andrea Chenier, Calaf, and ...

Extreme Midget Opera

San Diego Opera needs a little person on stage.

San Diego Opera has a casting problem. They need an actor to be featured in the upcoming production of The Elixir of Love. Why the problem? I mean, the role is paid, it’s a non-singing ...

Revisiting The Merry Widow

A classic San Diego Opera production.

As the opera season is zooming up on us I thought it might be fun to take a look at an older San Diego Opera Production that showed up on YouTube a few months ago. ...

Brahms versus Schutz

The World Cup of Composers.

We’re going to go Bach versus Bach here in the second match of Germany’s World Cup of Composers: Johann Sebastian Bach (papa Bach) versus his son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. CPE Bach was a classical ...

Hindemith versus Beethoven

Since the last two concert weekends at San Diego Symphony have been all German affairs, this is the perfect time to start the German love-fest section of the World Cup. The first contest is between ...

San Diego Holiday Half Marathon sells out

A few additional spots up for grabs.

The first edition of the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon is sold out. However, there will be additional spots up for grabs at Road Runner Sports this Saturday, December 28. The event will take place ...

The Nutcracker's incorrect notes

California Ballet's Nutcracker at the Civic Theater

I went to The Nutcracker on Friday night at the Civic Theater. The production was by California Ballet and I have to admit that I was impressed. Of course, I'm not an expert when it ...

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