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Stories by Garrett Harris

Never go full romantic

Robert and Clara Schumann — classical music power couple

When we speak of classical music power couples there are a few which come to mind. There are Richard and Cosima Wagner, Frederic Chopin and George Sand, Gustav and Alma Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von ...

The Russian problem

Have you met The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga? Neither have I.

I went to a small gathering of opera lovers on Sunday, September 10. The group was brought together to explore Mikhail Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila. I had never even heard of this opera. As ...

Like a miracle — San Diego Symphony’s Opus Gala almost here

It's spelled "bourgie" not "bougie"

‘Tis the season for The Symphony Opus Gala. I’ve been waiting impatiently for months for the season to finally start up again. The Gala falls on Saturday, October 7, between two concerts on Friday, October ...

Life as an argument

Bruckner, Milhaud, and Schweitzer converge

While September 4 was Labor Day, for some of us it was also a birthday celebration. Whose birthday? Anton Bruckner and french composer Darius Milhaud. It also marked the death, in 1965, of Albert Schweitzer. ...

Everybody is a little bit racist

Avenue Q at the OB Playhouse

Avenue Q brings its irreverent version of Sesame Street to the OB Playhouse through September 17th. Written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx way back in 2002, the bawdy puppets still feel fresh and timely. ...

San Diego's tiny role in the big opera world shuffle

Netrebko replaces Radvanovsky in Vienna; Radvanovsky sang in San Diego's Il Trovatore

Because of few operatic opportunities in San Diego County it is easy to forget that there is a great big world of opera out there. In that great big world there are some great big ...

Rodrick and Verhoye surprise concerts at Encinitas and Scripps Ranch

Local libraries unexpected showcases

The San Diego County Public Libraries have a vibrant concert schedule which gets lost unless you go to your local library on a regular basis to use the internet. The libraries have two concerts coming ...

Conductor’s podium now a political platform

Gustavo Dudamel, Dennis Prager, Puccini, Wagner suffer brickbats

I assume I’m not the only one who is experiencing political fatigue. I’m not talking about the shuffling of White House personnel, North Korea, or what have you. I’m referring to all the political posturing ...

Much ado about triggers

Shakespeare's male rage

Much Ado About Nothing was the 21st Annual Free Classical production by The Coronado Playhouse. The show ran through August 13th and was presented free of charge. Next year’s Annual Free Classical will be Shakespeare’s ...

The other Haydn

Michael Haydn was brother to Joseph and mentor to Mozart

Michael Haydn died on August 10, 1806. He was younger brother to Joseph Haydn and counted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart amongst his friends and admirers. The anniversary of his death prompted me to give his Requiem ...

Stop picking the Wagnerian scab

It’s time to take Wagner back from National Socialism

Whatever would we do without PC culture to judge the recent past (last 200 years) for us and then share its verdict of guilty based on the precious shell which has been slowly swallowing culture ...

Schoenberg and his truth

Perhaps I need to find a summer love

One of my early tactics for exploring music was to simply find recordings with orchestra and chorus. I sang in choirs all through high school and college, so I was into works with chorus. I ...

Cultural relativity sucks

It's time for classical music to grow up and own its greatness

What is becoming the summer of the curmudgeon continues now that I’ve read an article in the New York Times regarding Pres. Trump and a remark he made about symphonies. The remark was made in ...

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

For the love of God lose the (R)

To continue the theme of innovation versus truth and beauty, I present to you, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. This new opera by Mason Bates had its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera on Saturday, ...

Cygnet's Animal Crackers full of dad jokes

Songs, tap dancing, and the wacky antics of the Marx Brothers

Every now and then I hear someone yearning for the days of Vaudeville. Yearn no more. Animal Crackers at Cygnet Theatre, while not technically Vaudeville, is close enough to satiate the nostalgia of even the ...

The derivative curse

Composers who try to avoid it are to doomed to be it

Derivative is the greatest insult in the book when it comes to modern composers. No one wants to be declared as “derivative” of anything. I am, of course, speaking of the artistic derivative not the ...

Beethoven should send a bill

The Milky Way inspires a look at what gives and what takes

On the way to camping in Idaho I stopped on The Extraterrestrial Highway. My children were with me and wondered what was going on when I pulled the car over in the middle of nowhere. ...

John Williams sells tickets

Comic-Con helps symphony sell out concert of movie music

Well, well, well. Comic-Con has sold out the San Diego Symphony’s July 22 concert. The title of the concert is Raiders, Rebels, and Supermen: The Music of John Williams. Now Mr. Williams is popular no ...

Summertime Wagner, again

How can I sit here and justify anti-Semitism?

It feels as though every summer I get into Wagner. It could be because news of the Bayreuth Festival is always there to remind me. It could be because I rarely get a chance to ...

The problem with innovation

Van Gogh was so innovative that he didn’t sell any of his paintings

The conclusion of the Mainly Mozart Festival included a piece of music by Alfred Schnittke. I wrote that Schnittke was trying too hard to be innovative with the marching of the players around the stage ...

What happened here is sorely needed

Moz-Art a la Rachmaninoff

The Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra season has come to a close. There is still plenty of Mainly Mozart to be had during the remaining 50 weeks until the next one but the orchestra is on ...

San Diego Symphony's musical July on the Embarcadero

A quick look at the Bayside Summer Nights schedule

The San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights has its Fourth of July weekend coming up on June 30, July 1, and 2. However, on The Fourth of July the symphony welcomes country star Wynonna Judd. ...

Time to eat crow

A touch of magic tingles in the air when Hadelich plays

Every now and again it is important to eat some crow and I had an appetite for it after the Mainly Mozart concert on Thursday, June 22. Previously I had said I could go the ...

Prokoviev-ing

Platonic forms and divine muses make an appearance at Mainly Mozart

We now have a peak experience to add to the list for Mainly Mozart, but it came from Prokofiev and Beethoven. The Mainly Mozart Festival is taking a chronological journey through Mozart’s life over the ...

If you can use The Force, then use it

Mainly Mozart's second concert

Two concerts into the Mainly Mozart Festival and all is well. The second concert on Thursday, June 15, was a mixed bag for moi. This was the third time I’ve been to a Mainly Mozart ...

Strauss raised wife jokes to the level of art

How would the "I'm with her" crowd react to Strauss's Intermezzo?

What is an intermezzo? There are several famous musical intermezzi such as those found in Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci but there is also an entire opera entitled Intermezzo by Richard Strauss. What gives? In the ...

The Tao of Mozart

Conrad Tao brings the ancient nature of the cosmos to the Mainly Mozart Festival

Taoism, with its principles of effortless action, naturalness, humility, simplicity, spontaneity, compassion, and frugality, was a perfect fit for the evening. Which evening? The opening evening of The 2017 Mainly Mozart Festival on Saturday, June ...

The Old Man and the Old Moon, distracted by its own cleverness

A mash-up of Paul Bunyan, Jonah and the Whale, The Odyssey, and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” So spoke William Butler Yeats. I’m going to repurpose this poem to discuss PigPen Theatre ...

An excuse to talk about Wonder Woman

The mainstream picks up the redemptive feminine conversation

Perhaps I’m overstating my case but I feel as though the recent success of the Wonder Woman movie has been prophesied here in this humble column. For not a few years I’ve been adding my ...

Scategories with Wolfgang

Scatology has a long and honorable tradition

Scatology is currently a most distasteful subject but that was not always the case. There are examples of scatalogical humor dating back to Aristophanes’s The Birds in the ancient Greek theatre. This type of humor ...

Emotional finale for Maestro Ling

Sibelius was great at makeup sex

Saturday, May 27 was the second of three final concerts at the San Diego Symphony. These concerts conclude the Jacobs Masterworks Series and Maestro Jahja Ling’s tenure as music director of the orchestra. The concert ...

The Mainly Mozart is coming

I take my annual ride from borough to borough

Round about this time of year I begin to feel like a musical Paul Revere. Instead of riding from town to town shouting, “The redcoats are coming! The redcoats are coming!” I begin posting from ...

San Diego Symphony on Saturday night — the best concert ever

Yes. I’m going to go with that.

Well, I guess the May 20th concert by the San Diego Symphony was the best one I’ve heard them perform. Yes. I’m going to go with that. Charles Dutoit conducted the living fire out of ...

One-sided conversation at San Diego Symphony

Schumann’s themes tend to stick in the ear

Every concert is a conversation between the performers and the audience regarding a particular composer. This conversation isn’t quite fair, because the audience always has the last word. The audience’s response is the final verdict ...

I see your agenda

Concepts versus emotions in the arts and advertising

I recalled that graphic art and commercial art or logo design attempts to create a visual representation of an idea or a concept. This is why commercial art or corporate sculptures most often feel as ...

Time to take out the Eurotrash

A German part-time orchestra is attempting to improve US/Mexico border relations.

There is a practice in classical music which I find to be somewhat disingenuous. That practice is overtly politicized concertizing. As I've written in the past, almost every great opera has a political edge but ...

Ok, Gustav, I feel you

Some great singing and a map of consciousness from the San Diego Symphony

Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 has always been a riddle to my ears. The maniacal quality of the woodwinds in the first movement has barred my way to this music in the past. Imagine our old ...

Thug life — Mahler's 3rd @SanDiegoSymph

I want classical music to be accessible, but I also want people to suck less

Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 is going down at the San Diego Symphony starting Friday, May 5th, 8:00 p.m, plus performances Saturday night (8:00) and Sunday afternoon (2:00). This is a biggie. How does one ...

PONY rides a new vision for live classical music

Movies, lights, but where is the social media presence?

Well, well, well. It looks as though an orchestra is making a serious effort to fling itself into the not so new century. The Philharmonia Orchestra of New York — which calls itself PONY — ...

Verdi is a deceptive bastard

SDO's La Traviata both solid and uneven

The value of a solid production is somewhat undervalued by the experienced opera aficionado. If you’re around opera long enough then you will have a handful of peak experiences by which you judge every other ...

La Traviata's cheap trick

Wait, I'm better. No, I'm not. The end.

Since La Traviata opened at San Diego Opera on Saturday, April 22, I’m going to use it as an excuse to float a theory about the final lines of the opera. Just before Violetta dies ...

Young singers still love opera

Audiences decline, but students keep studying voice

The challenges facing young singers are becoming ridiculous. The art form is in transition, but thousands of students continue to study the art of operatic singing. Why? Why does opera continue to resonate with a ...

Point Loma Opera Theatre's radio operetta

Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief is cheeky, clever, and sometimes funny

Having gone on an unscheduled rant about opera and higher education let us return to the performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief by Point Loma Opera Theatre. Director, Jordan Miller, ...

A room with a view of ignorance

How many students graduate with no idea what opera is?

The Old Maid and the Thief by Gian Carlo Menotti was originally written for radio broadcast and has now become a staple of opera workshops at colleges and universities across the country. Point Loma Nazarene ...

Elijah could have ended the drought

Mendelssohn's Elijah at First United Methodist Mission Valley

Where was Elijah when we needed him? I would say dead, but Elijah never died. He was taken up to heaven in a “fiery chariot” — ancient aliens. Why did we need Elijah? We needed ...

San Diego Symphony season revealed

The 2017–2018 season at San Diego Symphony

The 2017–2018 Jacobs Masterworks series has been announced by the San Diego Symphony. What wasn’t announced was a new music director. Neither was there any indication of a time table for finding a new director. ...

The Lord passed by the San Diego Symphony

I'll be a witness to the holy sounds of the orchestra playing Bruckner

The crowning achievement of maestro Jahja Ling’s tenure as music director of the San Diego Symphony came on Saturday night with Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8. That is not to say there haven’t been spectacular concerts ...

A deep performance at the La Jolla Symphony

Verdi Requiem has the power to move us

As the text “libera me” hung in the air no one applauded. The tone evaporated and still no one applauded. I was sitting on my hands because I was caught up in the sacred feminine ...

La Jolla Symphony performs Verdi's masterpiece

There is nothing more important for you to do this weekend.

The La Jolla Symphony is doing Verdi’s Requiem this weekend. If you happen to be reading this and have never been to a live performance of the Requiem then I would say there is nothing ...

Is nonprofit the best way to do classical music?

You can't follow the money if the money isn't there...

Is nonprofit status a good thing for classical music? It’s the standard model in the United States, but does that mean it’s the best model? I’ve been watching some content from an entrepreneur named Gary ...

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