Classical Music

Reviews and previews of classical music performances and players. For a list of upcoming classical performances, visit our events section.

I wasn’t expecting low energy with Rafael Payare stirring the stick, but good Lord...

Wish I hadn't missed the Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky

Rafael Payare made his debut as the San Diego Symphony music director on Thursday, January 10. I went on Friday, January 11, and experienced a completely different concert. Part of me wishes I had gone ...

Don't skip Rafael Payare, Michael Francis, or of course Matthew Aucoin

Matt's Playlist: Sibelius, Beethoven, Rameau, plus ultra-moderns

The new year is upon us and the San Diego Symphony is beginning its annual midseason festival. This year’s theme is “Hearing the Future”. Curating the festival is American composer Matthew Aucoin. Born in 1990 ...

Rigoletto would never have made it if written in 2018

Austrian censors had no problem with rape

In just a few weeks Verdi’s Rigoletto will be opening at The San Diego Opera. Let’s talk about how it fits in with the current milieu of hypersensitivity. The fact of the matter is that ...

2018 greatness

Am I still alive?

Here’s a list of the greatest classical music moments in San Diego for 2018. The parameters of this list are my subjective, biased, arbitrary opinions. Let’s start at the end of the 2017/18 Jacobs Masterworks ...

Garrett Harris outs self as Christian

What is San Diego Opera telling us?

All is Calm is beginning to become a holiday tradition in San Diego. This is the third year in a row the show about the 1914 Christmas Eve Truce has been produced in San Diego. ...

Christmas haters

The sun appears stuck from Dec. 22-24

"I hate Christmas music” is a phrase I’ve heard often over the years. What’s to hate? Three-four time? Angels? Babies? The rebirth of the sun? I’m going to poke the dragon of PC-culture and suggest ...

I teared up at Kelli O'Hara

Matthew Morrison's glamorous masculinity

I had heard the name Kelli O’Hara but I had never heard the Tony Award-Winner sing until Tuesday, November 27, at Symphony Hall. About 30 seconds in, my eyes were tearing up. Her first song ...

Steven Sloan apes Leonard Bernstein

He had already trampled Copland’s Appalachian Spring

“Really? Jesus arms?” I loud-whispered to my concertmate. I was frustrated with conductor Steven Sloan. When he raised his arms as if giving a Papal benediction at the conclusion of The Unanswered Question, by Charles ...

Not since Fatal Attraction

Queen's Freddie Mercury an opera nut?

I recently went to see Bohemian Rhapsody the movie about the band Queen. I knew that lead singer Freddie Mercury was an opera fan but I was impressed with the way opera was incorporated into ...

San Diego Symphony on immigration

Oh hell no.

At this moment, Conrad Tao might be the most athletic pianist on the planet. His performance with the San Diego Symphony on Friday, November 1, felt as if it almost took the orchestra by surprise. ...

Concert fatigue?

Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra last week and Tchaikovsky coming up on November 2 and 4.

The Taiwan Philharmonic played a fine, fine, concert on Wednesday, October 31, at Symphony Hall. The only problem is that it was Wednesday, October 31 and the audience attendance did not reflect the excellence of ...

Deep in the shadow with Gergiev

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 made me feel guilty to be well-fed, warm, and safe

Thursday morning, October 25, was grey. It was the most appropriate morning the San Diego climate could muster after what happened the night of Wednesday, October 24, at Symphony Hall. That evening defies the written ...

Wow!

After bumpy start, symphony sparkled with Mason Bates, Rachmaninoff, and Mozart.

The San Diego Symphony came into form at their concert on Friday, October 12. Joyce Yang was back at the keyboard not just on the 12th but also earlier in the week at The Scripps ...

Maybe the arts do still matter

San Diego Symphony fills balcony

The entire balcony was full on Thursday, October 4, at Symphony Hall. There are few artists which can collect that many souls into one place at one time. Pianist Lang Lang is one such artist. ...

Why Figaro needs tradition

The answer is obvious

As The Marriage of Figaro comes up soon at San Diego Opera, I thought sharing some of the rules of the Figaro game might be warranted. It’s difficult to enjoy anything when one isn’t aware ...

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