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Stories by Garrett Harris

Mozart's Requiem at the San Diego Symphony

I'm going to get persnickety, because no one else will

On Saturday, November 18th, The San Diego Symphony performed Mozart’s Requiem. They pushed the concert hard on social media and it appears to have paid off. I was only using eyeball metrics but the house ...

Fly by Night: almost a metaphysical musical.

The "I don't know bro" of all things

When I see a title which includes “metaphysical musical” I’m expecting souls connecting on the astral plane based on the residue of previous lives which then stains future iterations of the same souls. You might ...

Amadeus at Symphony Hall

I happened to see that the San Diego Symphony was offering a screening of the movie Amadeus on a Saturday night (November 4) for $5, so I went. How could I not? The movie was ...

Autumn music

Russian choral music is also a must have for November

With the onset of some autumn-ish weather my ears are turning toward music of the same ilk. To whom can we go to find a fall-flowering? For times such as these the Norse gods of ...

Side dishes at San Diego Symphony

Four fantastic pieces on the program, but no Thanksgiving turkey

This Thanksgiving I’m going to have four of the most delicious, elegant, colorful, and refined side dishes you can ever imagine. However, if one of those side dishes is sweet potatoes there will be marshmallows. ...

The next Mozart? Just what classical music needs?

Big shoes to fill for 12-year-old Alma Deutscher

Suddenly Alma Deutscher is all over my social media. Is anyone else experiencing this? It seems as though network television still exists and 60 Minutes did a piece on the 12-year-old British composer. That’s right, ...

Father Comes Home to Intrepid Theatre

Stick with authenticity

Imagine you were given a choice to fight for ISIS — technically we have that choice­ — and in return they offer you the ultimate reward. ISIS is offering you the one thing you have ...

Impressed but unmoved

Marsalis, Rimsky Korsakov, Bizet at San Diego Symphony

Sometimes researchers go into the lab with an experiment and don’t get the results they wanted. This can be said of scientific research, and it can be said of artistic endeavors. Wynton Marsalis and Nicola ...

Violin Concertos from around the world

Dvorak’s is everything that we love about the tuneful Czech

After all the hype I tried to generate for Nicola Benedetti playing Wynton Marsalis’ Violin Concerto, I thought it would be good to revisit some of the traditional violin concerto repertoire. I will group them ...

Nicola Benedetti at San Diego Symphony

I call them the millennial handful

In the past few years the San Diego Symphony has welcomed quite a few of the rising generation of violin soloists. We’ve seen Augustin Hadelich, Sarah Chang, Ray Chen, and Karen Gomyo. This weekend Nicola ...

Dump the “they were all racists” pabulum

Smoke on the Mountain at Lamb's Players

Smoke on the Mountain is set in a Baptist Church in North Carolina circa 1938. Let’s get the low-hanging, low-brow, low-intellect, judgmental BS out of the way so that we can have a grown-up conversation ...

Pirates of Penzance skewers Victorian Culture

Good Gilbert and Sullivan singing, for a change, at San Diego Opera

What of The Pirates of Penzance at San Diego Opera? The production is good and includes some excellent singing. My YouTube search for Pirates clips to include with this article brought home to me just ...

Bat Boy lands in OB

The ambiguous morality of the herd

Imagine Dracula meets Beauty and the Beast meets Frankenstein meets Footloose, and then add some music which has something of a Rocky Horror Picture Show vibe (but isn’t near the quality) and you’ve got Bat ...

Pirates sail into San Diego Opera

It promises to be a treat... because Greer Grimsley

The last time Greer Grimsley was in a production at San Diego Opera I was accused, in so many words, of having an unhealthy man-crush on the steely voiced bass-baritone. I don’t deny it. Although ...

Despite Monty Python's best efforts, Billy Elliot exists

The comedy troupe torched the idea 30 years earlier

One would think that by the year 2000 the whole Northern England coal mining family with a son who “just wants to sing [or dance]” trope would have played itself out. Especially after repeatedly being ...

National football music

The heroic sound of NFL Films

The autumn wind is a pirate/ Blustering in from sea/ With a rollicking song, he sweeps along/ Swaggering boisterously His face is weather beaten/ He wears a hooded sash/ With a silver hat about his ...

Local youths sacrificed to the opera gods

The Met Auditions return October 7

The great sacrifice of die Jugend des Landes, the youth of the land, is coming up on Saturday, October 7, 10:00 a.m.. This sacrifice is also known as The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, usually ...

What's your Audrey II?

Coronado Playhouse's Little Shop of Horrors

A treasure trove of allegory, that’s what Little Shop of Horrors is. The show’s main character is a plant named Audrey II. That’s Audrey “two” not Audrey the second. Male ingenue Seymour Krelborn finds the ...

Big can't go small

A new French opera album from Jonas Kaufmann

Jonas Kaufmann is one of my favorite tenors on the current world stage when it comes to the dramatic tenor repertoire. He has just released a new album of French opera arias. Some of it ...

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 ...

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