Small Ensembles Effectively Fill Out Knoxville’s Classical-Music Calendar
Published 11/26/2013 at 3:15 p.m.
It’s probably too early to call Knoxville’s chamber music scene an “explosion,” but that day may be fast approaching.
KSO Explores Mozart’s Lowbrow Humor in an Energetic Performance
Published 11/20/2013 at 9:57 a.m.
As the story goes, the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was quite upset after viewing Peter Shaffer’s play Amadeus in London, categorically refusing to accept director Peter Hall’s factual documentation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s off-color and often scatological sense ...
UT Opera Theatre Takes 'The Barber of Seville' Downtown
Published 11/13/2013 at 10:47 a.m.
After the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre staged their last three productions in UT’s Carousel Theatre, one might have assumed that the performance intimacy, the conveniences of campus, and the substantially lower costs had made the choice a logical—perhaps even ...
Knoxville Opera Conquers the Theatrical Intricacies of 'The Tales of Hoffmann'
Published 10/30/2013 at 10:15 a.m.
It had been 21 years, I was told, since Knoxville Opera last staged Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann (“The Tales of Hoffmann”). Knoxville audiences were rewarded for their patience last weekend with a season-opening production that offered up the work’s intriguing ...
Knoxville Opera Updates Offenbach’s 'Tales of Hoffmann' to 1920s Berlin
Published 10/23/2013 at 10:15 a.m.
Like many successful composers of operettas and light-hearted fare, the German-born Parisian Jacques Offenbach yearned for a different reputation—that of a serious composer.
Small Ensembles Find a Place in Knoxville’s Classical-Music Scene
Published 10/09/2013 at 10:50 a.m.
When I surveyed the growth and health of the Knoxville classical music scene in Metro Pulse last fall, I focused, out of necessity, on the broad topic, which for most people means the historically popular, large-ensemble performances—orchestral music and opera. ...
Lucas Richman Begins His Next-to-Last Season at KSO With a Triumphant Opening Concert
Published 09/25/2013 at 10:51 a.m.
With the official announcement last week that music director and conductor Lucas Richman would be leaving the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra after the 2014-15 season, one naturally had to reflect on what might be in store for the orchestra and audiences ...
Adventurous Choices: With a Sizable Grant from Aslan Foundation, KSO Steps up With a Diverse Schedule, Lower Ticket Prices
Published 09/11/2013 at 11:36 a.m. 2 Comments
Tracking the health of American orchestras can be a painful task these days given the all-too-frequent news accounts of music organization bankruptcies, labor disputes, and various forms of financial distress.
UT Unveils New State-of-the-Art Music Center
Published 08/21/2013 at 10:18 a.m.
Rising on the site of the school’s former building on Volunteer Boulevard, the new facility stands in stark contrast to the mundane architecture and cramped quarters of the old 1965 Music Building.
New Marble City Opera Seeks to Fill a Knoxville Niche
Published 05/29/2013 at 2:54 p.m.
Marble City Opera is a partnership of two Knoxville singers: soprano and artistic director Kathryn Frady Marvel and baritone Kevin Richard Doherty, a University of Tennessee School of Music alumnus who will serve as general director. The pair is seeking ...
Knoxville Opera Delivers an Energetic, Sparkling 'Cinderella'
Published 05/01/2013 at 9:52 a.m.
Simply stated, there are those operatic singers who consider themselves Rossini singers, and there are those who don’t. The diction and voice flexibility required for Gioachino Rossini’s characteristic style of rapid-fire runs of little notes is both an art and ...
Glass Slipper: A Q&A With the Stars of Knoxville Opera's 'Cinderella'
Published 04/24/2013 at 10:59 a.m.
The work of the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini returns to the Knoxville Opera’s 2013 Rossini Festival with a production of Cinderella (La Cenerentola) featuring mezzo-soprano Leah Wool as Cinderella and tenor Michael Dailey as the Prince.
Knoxville Opera Revives Rossini’s 'Cinderella' for Rossini Festival
Published 04/24/2013 at 10:47 a.m.
Audiences will find a few twists to the story they probably know very well.
UT’s 'Rape of Lucretia' Offers a Stylized Production of Britten’s Puzzling Chamber Opera
Published 04/10/2013 at 11:17 a.m.
When the audience steps into the world of The Rape of Lucretia, the 1946 Benjamin Britten chamber opera that is being staged this weekend by the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre, they may discover some puzzling contradictions that have baffled ...
KSO Takes an Adventurous Tour Through Spain
Published 03/27/2013 at 10:36 a.m.
While gray skies and winter’s final chill were stubbornly resisting the onset of spring last weekend, inside the Tennessee Theatre was a different story altogether.
UT and KSO Demonstrate the Growing Vitality of Knoxville’s Classical Music Offerings
Published 03/06/2013 at 10:03 a.m.
It wasn’t that long ago—six years, maybe—that I worried quite a bit about the amount and variety of classical music performances in Knoxville. While I still hold out hope for some new music venues, new local ensembles, and more booking ...
KSO Explores the Simple Pleasures of Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony
Published 02/27/2013 at 9:55 a.m.
One of the occupational hazards of writing about the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is that the composer’s addictive little phrases and orchestral textures seep into the recesses of the brain and stick there, ready to replay for days on ...
Pianist Evgheny Brakhman Pays Tribute to Rachmaninoff’s Last Concert
Published 02/13/2013 at 10:15 a.m.
The commemorative concert will focus on Rachmaninoff’s work as a composer and his professional life in the United States after fleeing the Russian Revolution in 1917, culminating in that fateful last concert in 1943 and centered heavily on his reputation ...
Veteran Singer and HBO Regular Anthony Laciura Directs Knoxville Opera’s 'La fanciulla del West'
Published 02/06/2013 at 10:45 a.m.
The old theater cliché that “there are no small parts, only small actors” is regularly bandied about glibly—perhaps to justify scene-stealing or to motivate an otherwise unmotivated performer. In the overwhelmingly positive sense, however, this sentiment fully describes the multiple ...
First-Time Surprises From KSO’s Recent Guest Stars
Published 01/30/2013 at 10:58 a.m.
There were a number of firsts for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and their Masterworks concerts last weekend—some matter of fact, some exciting, while others were, well, unfortunate.
KSO’s Chamber Orchestra Explores 20th-Century British Music
Published 01/16/2013 at 10:19 a.m.
One of the real joys of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Classics Series has always been the potential for musical adventure, and even some discovery, that can be found in the vast territory outside of the usual full orchestra repertoire ...
The Most Memorable Classical Music Performances of 2012
Published 12/26/2012 at 5 p.m.
Choosing the most memorable performances of 2012 becomes something of a task, if for no other reason than that the overall performance levels have risen so noticeably. But here goes.
KSO Concertmaster Steps into the Spotlight as a Soloist
Published 11/20/2012 at 1:03 p.m.
Two years ago, I reviewed a Knoxville Symphony Orchestra concert that centered mostly on the guest appearance of the violinist Midori and her performance in the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor. On that same concert, however, was the audition ...
Knoxville Opera’s 'Die Fledermaus' Emphasizes Comedy Over Music
Published 10/30/2012 at 6:17 p.m.
Whether viewed as innocuous fun or lightheartedness run amok, Johann Strauss II’s operetta Die Fledermaus and its infectiously tuneful score have become, for modern audiences, an infamous vehicle for all manner of opera-company celebratory occasions such as galas and New ...
KSO and UT Try Out New Performance Spaces for a Pair of Chamber Concerts
Published 10/10/2012 at 10:51 a.m.
With new musical journeys in mind, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the University of Tennessee School of Music departed the beaten path to alternative venues for their small-ensemble concerts that invited listeners to explore the performance intimacy of chamber music, ...
KSO's Rachmaninoff Concert Is an Auspicious Start to the New Season
Published 09/26/2012 at 10:50 a.m.
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is probably one of those works, like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, that is so iconic in both atmosphere and melody that some think of it as too frequently performed. But, ...
Knoxville's Resurgent Classical Music Scene
Published 09/12/2012 at 11:41 a.m.
While symphonies and operas close down elsewhere in the U.S., the KSO and Knoxville Opera both report stable financial situations despite the seesaw battle in balancing costs, audience expectations, and artistic achievement. How do they do it? And can Knoxville’s ...
Clarence Brown Theatre and KSO Collaborate On a Brilliant Production of Sondheim’s 'Sweeney Todd'
Published 09/05/2012 at 10:54 a.m. 3 Comments
Perhaps like no other recent work for the musical stage, Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is so eminently adaptable and bendable as theater that it practically cries out for fresh treatments. In the case of ...
KSO Closes 2011-12 Season With Exhilarating Performance
Published 05/23/2012 at 2:59 p.m.
With a flourish and a grand gesture of au revoir, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra finished its 2011-12 Masterworks season last weekend with its usual pair of concerts: “A Touch of France,” covering four works by French composers. As usual, time ...
Experience and Youth Come Together for Knoxville Opera's Superlative 'Otello'
Published 05/02/2012 at 10:58 a.m.
Knoxville Opera’s superlative Rossini Festival production of Otello last weekend fused the brilliance and solidity of seasoned operatic performers with a solid cast of younger singers possessing major, and truly exciting, vocal talents.
Tenor Michael Austin Takes on His 47th Portrayal of Shakespeare’s Conflicted Moor in Knoxville Opera's 'Otello'
Published 04/26/2012 at 9:32 a.m.
With just a glance, even without a note of music being heard, one knows instantly why tenor Michael Austin is known in opera houses of the world for his portrayal of the title role in Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello—he looks exactly ...
A Seasoned Tenor and a Soprano Making Her U.S. Debut Star in Verdi’s 'Otello'
Published 04/26/2012 at 9:29 a.m.
This was not the Verdi of Rigoletto or La Traviata, but a Verdi who had possibly been influenced, subconsciously of course, by his musical nemesis, Wagner. The work had musical continuity and complex orchestration—the first that one might call truly ...
Guest Conductor Leads KSO Through 'The Planets'
Published 03/28/2012 at 11:35 a.m.
Due to its familiarity with audiences, a work such as Gustav Holst’s early 20th-century suite The Planets, the headliner on last weekend’s concerts, burdens a conductor with the weight of numerous comparisons.
KSO’s Chamber Series Unveils the Crowd-Pleasing Music of Two Once-Controversial Composers
Published 03/07/2012 at 10:37 a.m.
With the benefit of historic distance, it seems only natural that the music of Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg belongs together on the same program, as it did with Sunday afternoon’s Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Classics Concert.
Knoxville Opera Reaches Out to a New Audience With 'Romeo et Juliette'
Published 02/13/2012 at 11:16 a.m.
One need look no further than last weekend’s Knoxville Opera production of Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette to see what has changed in Knoxville over the last five years or so. In contradiction to the tired stereotype of opera-goers, the ...
Guest Conductor Edward Cumming Leads KSO Through a Night of Mozart
Published 01/25/2012 at 10:47 a.m.
With over 400 years of music in our western repertoire, modern concerts devoted to just one composer often run the risk of appearing overly focused, fussy, and academic, even for listeners with more than a casual interest. The Knoxville Symphony ...
Knoxville Opera's Novel Staging of 'La Traviata' Makes the Familiar New
Published 11/02/2011 at 11:16 a.m.
The reasons for La Traviata's popularity are clear—Giuseppe Verdi’s score is tuneful, lush, and addictively evocative; the libretto has a seemingly perfect balance of character complexity, stage simplicity, and literary intrigue. The challenge, of course, is to embrace the popularity ...
KSO Finds Connections Among Katrina, Copland, and Dvorák
Published 10/26/2011 at 10:45 a.m.
It was an evening of exploration—and perhaps even discovery—as the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra trod familiar trails and also ventured into some new territory with its concerts last weekend.
KSO Presents the World Premiere of Theodore Wiprud’s 'Violin Concerto (Katrina)'
Published 10/19/2011 at 12:09 p.m.
Of huge importance to the theme of “American” music on the program is the presence of the world premiere of Theodore Wiprud’s Violin Concerto (Katrina).
A Revamped KSO Marks Its Return With a Vibrant Interpretation of Beethoven
Published 09/28/2011 at 9:58 a.m. 1 Comment
The orchestra was back, and in ways that were phenomenally impressive in both form and spirit.
UT Symphony’s New Instrumental Prowess Matches the Demands of Its Upcoming Schedule
Published 09/21/2011 at 10:01 a.m.
When I first saw the programming lineup for the University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra fall season, I sensed right away that something big and significant must be afoot.
UT’s Faculty Chamber Series Reflects on the Anniversary of 9/11
Published 09/14/2011 at 4:50 p.m.
I admit I never asked whether the joint occurrence of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy and the opening concert last Sunday of the University of Tennessee Faculty Chamber Series was by design or by coincidence of the calendar. ...
Knoxville's Dry Season for Classical Music
Published 06/29/2011 at 10:54 a.m.
“School’s Out” was a big hit for Alice Cooper in 1972, and has since become an iconic statement of euphoria for a summer with little to offer except a few mindless pleasures. Unfortunately, though, the song’s anthemic refrain—“School’s out for ...
KSO Ends an Emotional Season on a High Note
Published 05/25/2011 at 9:12 a.m.
Given recent sad events and important personnel changes, I wasn’t necessarily expecting the final Masterworks concerts of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s 2010-11 season to be an exhilarating and euphoric experience, but that’s exactly what happened last weekend.
KSO's Final Chamber Concert Sheds New and Needed Light on the Baroque Period
Published 05/11/2011 at 11:08 a.m.
Making sense of the Baroque period of music today is no small task, for probably no other period of music has suffered as much at the hands of both history and contemporary marketers.
KSO Delivers a Magisterial Performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
Published 04/20/2011 at 10:27 a.m.
Performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 today have unfailingly been presented and accepted as big events.
Knoxville Opera and UT Opera Theatre Live Up to Rossini Fest Expectations
Published 04/13/2011 at 1:50 p.m.
It is an inescapable fact that opera-goers are not likely to confuse Vincenzo Bellini’s 'I Puritani' for one of the repertoire’s great dramatic operas. Improbable plot points and a shaky view of English history, however, cannot diminish its status as ...
Jet-Setting Soprano Rachele Gilmore Takes on Her Most Difficult Role Yet in Knoxville Opera's 'I Puritani'
Published 04/06/2011 at 1:24 p.m.
When I first sat down to chat with soprano Rachele Gilmore in January of 2010, she had just arrived in Knoxville for rehearsals of last season’s Knoxville Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor, in which she was singing her debut ...
Knoxville Opera’s 'I Puritani' Features Vocal Fireworks and an Improbable Plot
Published 04/06/2011 at 1:11 p.m.
Even more so than his contemporaries Rossini and Donizetti, Bellini was known as a major proponent of the bel canto (“beautiful singing”) style of opera. Beyond mere vocal fireworks, Bellini’s bel canto is exemplified by long, exquisite melodies punctuated by ...
UT Opera Theatre’s 'Albert Herring' Returns With Plenty of Comedic Opportunities
Published 04/06/2011 at 10:20 a.m.
A moral crisis triggered by the inability to find a virginal maiden sounds like just the thing for a mythological tale or a Baroque opera. But that idea and its necessary aftermath are, more or less, the crux of Albert ...