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Stories by Garrett Harris

The Nutcracker: old traditions, new names

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker has been cleared from quarantine and is returning to The Civic Theater. Those familiar with The Nutcracker as it has been performed at The Civic in the past will recognize this production. ...

November 27, 2021
Times are swell at The Shell

The San Diego Symphony has released a report on the first two months of concerts at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park. The numbers are impressive. In August, there were 15 paid events, which drew ...

November 5, 2021
Al Stradella: a helluva fella

Alessandro Stradella is a name that might ring a bell with champions of early Baroque music. As for me, I knew he existed, but beyond a short Sinfonia from his Christmas Eve Cantata, I wasn’t ...

November 5, 2021
Il Trovatore at the Los Angeles Opera

Given the current circumstances, San Diego Opera is producing two mainstage opera productions this season. What is an opera fan to do with that? Two productions just aren’t enough to satiate some the most dedicated ...

November 5, 2021
Tannhauser at the Los Angeles Opera

One of the major themes in Richard Wagner’s 1845 opera Tannhäuser is pilgrimage. With that in mind, I took a pilgrimage to LA Opera to see their current production of the show. (San Diego Opera ...

November 5, 2021
Bernard Haitink, RIP

Bernard Haitink had died. He was 92. He was the last of the great mid-20th Century conductors who came to worldwide prominence via the recording industry. Starting in 1961, Haitink was the first conductor of ...

November 5, 2021
Popular moderns at The Shell

Mahler and Tchaikovsky are two of the most popular composers for modern audiences. Rarely are they scheduled together on the same concert, but on Saturday, October 17, that’s exactly what happened with the San Diego ...

October 23, 2021
In the thick of it with Edward Elgar

The September version of The San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival concluded with two spectacular concerts on Friday, September 17, and Saturday, September 18. At the final concert, Mainly Mozart CEO Nancy Laturno confirmed that the ...

September 25, 2021
Mainly Mozart's masterful melange

After attending just the first three concerts at the San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival, I concluded that it was, once again, a musical affair to remember. Mainly Mozart is onto something quite simple yet profound. ...

September 17, 2021
How Harris got here

My 50th birthday is approaching all too quickly, With that in mind, I feel as though I should take an inventory of how I got here. Recently, I met with a good friend and we ...

September 3, 2021
To thrive, opera needs more Ryan Speedo Greens

Opera singer Ryan Speedo Green proved a very important point during his performance at The Rady Shell during the opening night concert on August 7. Mr. Green proved that opera, when done well, appeals to ...

August 27, 2021
The grand opening of the Rady Shell

I came to San Diego in the fall of 1990. All through the decade, I took advantage of the chance to buy student tickets for the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera. However, ...

August 13, 2021
The sometimes spectacular Giuseppe Giacomini

On July 28, 2021, the classical music and opera worlds celebrated conductor Riccardo Muti’s 80th birthday. The next day, I found out that one of my opera heroes had died on the same day. Giuseppe ...

August 6, 2021
Classical music as meditation aide

The ideology of woke culture is one thing. Meditating every day and thereby developing the ability to effectively respond to life’s situations instead of merely reacting, is another. Meditation is the path to a consistently ...

July 16, 2021
True summer music – no cheating

As we are in mid-July, summer should be in full swing. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five pieces of music that inhabit the tone of summer. There is one caveat here, ...

July 10, 2021
Good news/bad news for San Diego Opera 2021

The San Diego Opera has announced a season for 2021-2022. There’s some very good news here. Productions of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte headline the season, along with a concert by ...

July 2, 2021
The best version of Beethoven’s best symphony

The Mainly Mozart Festival concluded on Saturday, June 19 with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. There were also concerts on Wednesday, June 16, and Friday, June 18. Each of those ...

June 25, 2021
Mainly Mozart gets pick of the best

The San Diego Mainly Mozart Festival got off to a rambunctious start on Friday, June 11, 2021, at the San Diego Surf Soccer Club in Del Mar. The orchestra roster is as strong as ever. ...

June 18, 2021
You should know Bastianini, Bonisolli, Corelli.

An insurmountable mountain of facts proves that we are living in the best period of known human history. Maybe things were better in pre-history when the aliens were here, but from infant mortality rates to ...

June 11, 2021
La Jolla Music Society Summerfest heads inside

The La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) has announced its SummerFest 2021, which will be held from Friday, July 30 - Friday, August 20, 2021, at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla. The ...

June 4, 2021
Mainly Mozart is mainly back

The Mainly Mozart Festival is coming back into form on Friday, June 11. The incomparable Festival Orchestra is scheduled to perform five concerts at the Del Mar Surf Cup Sports Park June 11-19. The repertoire ...

May 28, 2021
How long will the Rady Shell stay the Rady Shell?

The opening of the Rady Shell at the Jacobs Park featuring performances on the Una Davis Family Stage is imminent. As one might surmise from all the titles surrounding the Shell project, the San Diego ...

Three female opera singers you should know and love

Each generation of young opera singers eventually becomes familiar with some of the great opera singers of the past. I’ve seen this happen, first hand, at least a dozen times. I must admit that I ...

May 13, 2021
Early geniuses Mozart, Elgar, Mendelssohn show up in San Diego

The San Diego Symphony continued their run of string serenade live streams on Friday, April 29. In February the symphony string section performed Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. In March is was Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings ...

May 7, 2021
My five favorite sings

I want to talk a little bit about choir. I’ve been singing in choirs since the seventh grade. I was in a choir every year from junior high through college. During my first year in ...

April 30, 2021
Best orchestras in the world without name recognition

There are famous orchestras around the world. We’ve all heard of Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics. We know about the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw. The United States used to have a “big five” ...

April 23, 2021
Sheet music as tool of colonialism

The internet was astir regarding an article in The Telegraph. The headline reads, “Musical notation branded 'colonialist' by Oxford professors hoping to 'decolonise' the curriculum.” Musical pundits picked up on this as “the woke” trying ...

April 15, 2021
Rafael Payare teaches me a thing or two

In its most recent online streaming concert, the San Diego Symphony showed off the string section in a concert entitled A Shimmer of Strings. This is the way I will now refer to all gatherings ...

April 9, 2021
Best movie music: Shostakovich, Ralph Vaughn Williams

Since the 2021 Academy Awards come up later this month on April 25, let’s take a moment to consider some of the greatest movie music ever written. The acid test for great movie music is ...

April 2, 2021
No one wrote a better melody than Puccini

If there is one thing I’ve bemoaned about modern music, all modern music, it’s the lack of melody. From the concert hall to the opera stage to popular music, melody is on the decline. Within ...

March 26, 2021
Second-best operas of all time

A few weeks ago we did the best second-best symphonies. This week we’re going to do the best second-best operas. For the sake of argument, a composer’s second-best opera is any opera that isn’t his ...

March 19, 2021
Art and music do not change the world

I cast a jaundiced eye at music composed based on current events. We’ve had several compositions along such lines performed in San Diego. We’ve had compositions about climate change, receding glaciers. immigration, police shootings, and ...

March 12, 2021
San Diego Symphony 2nd concert: Carlos Simon, Mozart, Tchaikovsky

The San Diego Symphony streamed its second concert of the year on Friday, February 26. The concert presented three contrasting pieces of music. The first piece, by Carlos Simon, was entitled Elegy, A Cry from ...

March 5, 2021
Best music for spring – Grieg, Glazunov, Debussy, Schumann, Strauss

The last few days of unabated San Diego sunshine have me feeling particularly spring-ish even though we are technically in the dead of winter with spring still a month or so away. However, it did ...

February 26, 2021
Best classical music orgies

Lent came quickly this year. With no buildup to Carnival and Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday, because of you know what, Ash Wednesday suddenly appeared. I thought we’d explore a few musical carnivals since the season didn’t ...

February 18, 2021
Second best symphony of all time?

I’ve had dozens of conversations that discussed the greatest symphonies of all time. I’ve read dozens of articles on the same topic. The usual suspects are all there, Beethoven’s Ninth, Mahler’s Ninth, Bruckner’s Eighth, Brahms' ...

February 12, 2021
Need to see more with SD Symphony livestreaming

I wrote a little preview of the San Diego Symphony livestream entitled Wagner meets Mozart and mentioned that I didn’t quite understand how the concert hung together. After watching the livestream, I still don’t get ...

February 5, 2021
The gaps in my Vaughan Williams

Recently I realized I had some holes in my listening habits for one of my favorite composers, Ralph Vaughan Williams. I have listened to some of Vaughan Williams’s most popular pieces to death. These would ...

January 29, 2021
San Diego Symphony tries something completely different

San Diego Symphony and Music Director Rafael Payare have announced a special 2021 digital season that strives to inspire and connect with its audience while in-person performances cannot occur due to Covid. From January to ...

January 22, 2021
Mainly Mozart scoops up idle musicians

At this point, Mainly Mozart has gone far beyond turning lemons into lemonade. They are now turning lemons into a sumptuous limoncello from the Amalfi Coast. In February and April, Mainly Mozart will be producing ...

January 15, 2021
New Year's resolutions for your favorite opera persons

Since it’s a new year and many of us have resolutions, let’s consider some resolutions for some of opera’s most famous characters. Don Ottavio, from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, is the fiancé of Donna Anna whom ...

January 8, 2021

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