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Stories by Garrett Harris

Classical music livestreams are boring

I wish I could find the wherewithal to be a fan of classical music in the age of streaming. For a while I watched out of obligation. Obligation turned to watching out of guilt and ...

May 27, 2020
San Diego had big plans for classical music this summer

Summer classical music in San Diego has followed a glorious pattern for as long as most of us can remember. The Mainly Mozart Festival welcomes the summer in June. The San Diego Symphony Summer Bayside ...

May 22, 2020
San Diego Symphony on glaciers or Schumann on the Rhein?

“To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist.” – Robert Schumann “Art is whatever you can get away with.” – John Cage With no concerts to ...

May 13, 2020
The parallels of Beethoven and Goya

During the shelter-in-place era, I’ve been covering a lot of ground, relative to my normal consumption, in the realm of high culture. I’ve read books which I’ve been putting off for years such as Death ...

May 8, 2020
What classical groups will be left in San Diego?

There are some real concerns out there regarding the future of many classical music organizations. I don’t want to come off as unsympathetic, but the destruction of these organizations by the COVID-19 situation won’t mean ...

April 29, 2020
Mahler, Wagner, Elgar, Dvorak – for us stay-at-homes

There’s one thing we all have in common at this time. We are all required to spend a lot of time at home. All this seclusion got me to thinking about music which I associate ...

April 24, 2020
All 32 of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas.

A few weeks ago I outlined some binge listening plans. I’ve completed two of them. The first was all 32 of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. The second was a survey of Baroque music. The Beethoven took ...

April 14, 2020
Payare conducts Wagner, Bartok, Mahler, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff next season

“As we all know very well, music has a unique power to heal the human soul. In music, there are no boundaries of language or limits of understanding." Rafael Payare, music director, San Diego Symphony. ...

April 10, 2020
My April classical music schedule

As Shelter in Place is extended to at least the end of April, I mourn the loss of some potentially fantastic concerts in San Diego. To replace those experiences, I’m considering a few listening projects ...

April 3, 2020
Can't complain about live streaming from the Met

When, in an opera, the staging, acting, and costumes, are all misguided to bad, what’s left? The singing? What if the singing is just okay? What’s left is The Metropolitan Opera’s production of Wagner’s Das ...

March 27, 2020
Who will compose music for Covid-19?

There’s Covid-19 and then there’s the Black Death. The height of the Black Death was between the years of 1347-1351. Estimates for the number of deaths in, during the Black Death, range to 200 million. ...

March 20, 2020
Bramwell Tovey natters on about William Walton, Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar

On Saturday, March 7, it was English Night at Symphony Hall, and I like that sort of thing. I like it even better when it’s played as nearly to perfection as I can tell, particularly ...

March 9, 2020
Conductor Eun Sun Kim kept the orchestra in check during the Sibelius

Ah, the impermanence of all things. After last week’s peak musical experience at the San Diego Symphony, we were bound to come down off the mountaintop. The concert on Friday, February 28, was good but ...

March 3, 2020
Stefan Jackiw's sound tone rang out to the back of the house

The San Diego Symphony is on a roll! The previous two concerts, which I have attended, have been nothing short of spectacular. The most recent endeavor was Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11: ...

February 28, 2020
Identity politics and classical music need to stay out of bed with each other.

The San Francisco Examiner reports on Feb 18, 2020: A striking aspect of the programming is Salonen’s Collaborative Partners project, announced last year, featuring contributions by: pianist, film producer and composer Nicholas Britell; soprano, curator ...

February 20, 2020
Mirella Freni was irresistible

Mirella Freni, one of the greatest singers of all time, has died at the age of 84. Freni was a singer I returned to time and time again. By the time I was getting into ...

February 14, 2020
Hansel and Gretel reminds us that hunger was common

Hansel and Gretel is a story based on hunger. The opera version of this tale of the tummy is being produced by San Diego Opera at the San Diego Civic Theater on February 8 - ...

February 6, 2020
San Diego Symphony dominates the Beethoven

I entered Symphony Hall on Saturday, January 25, as the crustiest of all curmudgeons. I left as a young adventurer just returned from an invigorating sojourn through the Austrian countryside full of hope and optimism. ...

January 29, 2020
San Diego Symphony gives us messy Beethoven

I take no pleasure in what follows. The San Diego Symphony has now given two perplexing performances of a Beethoven symphony in as many weeks. The fourth symphony was played on the weekend of January ...

January 22, 2020
Emmanuel Ax’s hands were 100 percent water

The San Diego Symphony has been holding a January festival for the past several years. This year, the topic is Beethoven at 250. The festival started with performances of Beethoven’s Leonora Overture No. 3, Piano ...

January 17, 2020
Beethoven is gravity

We are now in the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth and there will be content created like never before. The internet is already dripping with articles about the grim master of the human condition. ...

January 9, 2020
Music composers of 1920 vs. 2020

As we enter the 2020s, I thought it would be interesting to look back to 1920 and get a feel for what was going on in classical music at the start of that notorious decade. ...

January 2, 2020
My kids liked Rosenkavalier at the Met

As a member of the San Diego Opera Chorus, I don’t often have a chance to review an opera but I’ve got one now. I went to see Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss, at The ...

December 27, 2019
Jahja Ling and Dvorak surprised me

Never, ever, trust a critic. Always take any review with a grain of salt. Case in point. I thought I didn’t like Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8. I found it lacking the drama of his Seventh ...

December 12, 2019
San Diego's three top classical music concerts of 2019

Since we are at the end of a decade, I’m feeling an obligation to name the top concerts I’ve experienced in the past 10 years. That’s a lot of pressure so I’ve decided to ease ...

December 3, 2019
The long line of Puccinis

I’ve been posting daily music history tidbits on my social media and discovered that Michele Puccini was born on Wednesday, November 27 in 1813. Michele was the father of the much more famous Giacomo Puccini. ...

November 26, 2019
"We shine a beam of light" on Beethoven quartets

The Danish String Quartet is in residency at The La Jolla Music Society from November 16 through November 23. They are presenting five concerts as a part of their Prism project. The players in the ...

November 22, 2019
San Diego Symphony in midst of transition

The San Diego Symphony is benefitting from a six-week installment of music director Rafael Payare to start the 2019-2020 season. While the orchestra has not accomplished a complete transformation, and we should not expect such ...

November 8, 2019
Ring Around the Moon: another My Fair Lady transformation?

Ring Around the Moon is a comedy of manners full of the stock characters that populate the genre. The action happens when everyone is invited up to the grand home of the Dowager Countess for ...

October 31, 2019
Sold-out Fidelio a problem in London

The Royal Opera House Covent Garden has a huge problem. They’ve sold out six performances of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio next March and people are angry! The problem appears to be that the vast majority of ...

October 30, 2019
San Diego Opera's Aida – my favorite singers

The current production of Aida at the San Diego Opera is the fourth I’ve been in with the company. It is the best principal cast I’ve experienced. It is, to my great pleasure, the singer’s ...

October 25, 2019
Bad Hombres, Good Wives: think Jim Carrey or Chevy Chase physical humor

This is a funny show. It needs to be funny. If it weren’t funny it would be offensive, especially in our delicate and easily offended culture. The characters are so exaggerated that we don’t take ...

October 23, 2019
What happened to opera

Stand by folks, I’ve identified the opera problem. What opera problem? The one where audiences are declining and the audiences which do attend often can’t say if what they heard from the singers was good ...

October 17, 2019
Long lines swarm San Diego Symphony

There were lines, long lines. Lines which stretched the length of the lobby and then extended around the corner. They were beautiful because everyone was in line for the opening concert of the 2019-2020 Jacobs ...

October 8, 2019
Noura need not be compared to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House

The Old Globe website describes Noura as, “A riveting West Coast premiere loosely inspired by Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.” I agree, it is loosely related to A Doll’s House. Very loosely.So loosely, in fact, that ...

October 2, 2019
The scandal of cell phones at classical music concerts

No one in the history of recorded classical music has benefited more from media than violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. At age 13 was selected by Herbert von Karajan. At age 15 she was recorded for the ...

October 1, 2019
Hershey Felder does Chopin the right way

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a Hershey Felder fan. My fandom is based on three of his productions, the most recent of which I saw on Saturday night, September 14 ...

September 20, 2019
Amadeus: The victor is Mozart’s music

If a show is only as good as its villain, then Amadeus is a great show. The title might refer to Mozart, but the show opens and closes with Salieri, the villain. The play, by ...

September 19, 2019
Berlin Philharmonic turns away from new music

The new music director of the Berlin Philharmonic, Kirill Petrenko, is receiving some flak for his opening concerts with the orchestra. He is too conservative with his programming. In the words of Alex Ross, critic ...

September 13, 2019
Romeo and Juliet re-imagined with choreography

The Romeo and Juliet I saw at The Old Globe recently tried to “re-imagine” the classic tale. Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story actually does it. The success of West Side Story lies in the fact ...

September 4, 2019
San Diego Opera's Aida – more music, less moving

The San Diego Opera opens their 2019-2020 Season with Verdi’s Aida. I will be in the chorus, for the fourth time. However, this is the first time I will be in a production which is ...

September 3, 2019
We don't need a dabbler at the Met

I recently watched a YouTube video from a channel entitled *This is Opera*. The video demonstrated just how much Yannick Nézet-Séguin understands the human voice. If you watch the masterclasses which Nézet-Séguin held at Juilliard, ...

August 30, 2019
nkoda – egalitarian sheet music

While I generally embrace digital technology, I don’t consider myself to be an app guy. I don’t follow the top app charts in the App Store or play any games on my phone or iPad. ...

August 23, 2019
Romeo and Juliet: Who were the Capulets and Montagues during Shakespeare’s day?

“Wherefore art thou Romeo?” I’m assuming that’s a line you’ve heard before. For the purposes of this article, I’d like to change it to “Who-fore art thou Romeo?” Who were the Capulets and the Montagues? ...

August 21, 2019
Conrad Prebys – a modern-day Razumovsky

I’m sure you remember the old “interrupting cow” knock-knock joke. Interrupting cow wh—? MOOOO! That joke was on my mind during Miró Quartet’s all Beethoven concert on Saturday, August 11, at the La Jolla Music ...

August 16, 2019
Is Dogfight harmless after Tailhook scandal?

The musical Dogfight at Coronado Playhouse is set in the early 1960s at the start of the Vietnam War. In this show, we follow a cast of characters who participate in a competition to find ...

August 14, 2019
Miró Quartet lets its hair down

According to their website, “The Miró [String] Quartet took its name and its inspiration from the Spanish artist Joan Miró, whose Surrealist works — with subject matter drawn from the realm of memory, dreams, and ...

August 9, 2019
Why San Diego Opera is not like the national theater of Chile

Slipped Disc website is reporting massive employee cuts by the Teatre Municipal de Santiago. The company is the national theater of Chile and is located in the capital of Santiago. The theater was inaugurated in ...

July 26, 2019
The little-known Verdi, Wagner, Haydn music

Sometimes a composer becomes so well known for a particular genre of music that other pieces go unrecognized. The following are three examples of composers who are famous for one thing but who composed other ...

July 19, 2019
The villain’s journey in The Tale of Despereaux

PigPen Theatre Co., which previously produced The Old Man and the Old Moon at the Old Globe, has now adapted the award-winning children’s novel The Tale of Despereaux into a musical stage production extraordinaire. (The ...

July 17, 2019

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