Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Become Met Opera Music Director

Photo by Jan Reagan

Photo by Jan Reagan

The Metropolitan Opera announced today that Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s acclaimed music director, will succeed James Levine as its next music director.

The Met’s general manager Peter Gelb and other members of the Met company live streamed the announcement.

It’s the first time in four decades that the Met is changing music directors. Levine, 72, stepped down last month after years of health complications.

Though Nézet-Séguin, 41, told The New York Times he’d take an active role in the Met’s music affairs almost immediately, he will not officially hold the reins at the institution until the 2020-’21 season — he’s booked for several years until then.

Nézet-Séguin, born in Montreal, will continue to serve as the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra — which he’s led since 2012 — through the 2025-’26 season. The renowned conductor and pianist will split his time between two of the world’s most prestigious classical music institutions.

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Six Performances to See This Week

Pennsylvania Ballet's "A Program of Firsts"

Pennsylvania Ballet’s “A Program of Firsts”

A Program of Firsts — Pennsylvania Ballet @ The Academy of Music | May 12th–15th
The company performs its inaugural production of George Balanchine’s Serenade, the first ballet the celebrated choreographer created in the United States. Danced to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 48, the ballet entwines unexpected events, like students falling or arriving late, into the choreography. Continuing the theme of firsts, nationally renowned choreographer-in-residence Mathew Neenan, cofounder of Ballet X, presents a world premiere for the company. Rounding out the program, Liam Scarlett showcases a company and North American premiere of Asphodel Meadows, comprising three compelling pas de deuxs set to the compositions of Poulenc. Read more »

Female Anti-Heroes Are Really In Right Now

New Paradise Laboratories is performing O Monsters at FringeArts. Photo by Plate 3

New Paradise Laboratories is performing O Monsters at FringeArts. Photo by Plate 3

Machinal @ Latvian Society of Philadelphia | April 20 to May 8
Feminism! Murder! American Expressionism! EgoPo Classic Theater is putting on the 1928 drama Machinal, inspired by the life of Ruth Snyder, who was executed at Sing Sing Prison for teaming up with her sidepiece to kill her husband. Here’s an unexpected photo of her being electrocuted. Philly theater staple Mary Tuomanen, who looks like an entirely different person in every play, takes on the female anti-hero role.

Mi Voca Su Voca @ SEI Innovation Studio at the Kimmel Center | April 20-22
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts is highlighting poetry with this one-man show from Edwin Torres, who developed it in part while in residency at the Kimmel’s SEI Innovation Studio. He’ll incorporate “themes ranging from growing up Puerto Rican in New York City to fatherhood to his Nuyo-Futurist evolution.”

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Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 Season Highlights Diversity of Sound

orchestra preview

Clockwise from upper left: Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Susan Graham, E.T., Simon Rattle

The Philadelphia Orchestra truly remains the city’s only A-list organization so far as attracting world-class classical music talent to the region, and their 2016-17 season, which was announced late yesterday afternoon, solidifies their ability to present diverse and wide-ranging programming… even the entire score of E.T.

In a statement, the Orchestra’s Musical Director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, suggested that the upcoming season demonstrates the close bond that he has developed with the musicians throughout his tenure with the organization. Read more »

Review: Handel’s Messiah As Intimate As It Is Grand

Photo from Friday evening's performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Photo from Friday evening’s performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra.

There was something tangible about Friday evening’s performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, featuring a host of opera notables and the large-scale Philadelphia Voices choir, that made the otherwise massive Verizon Hall feel like an intimate chamber venue. Indeed, there was all of the fanfare and glorious music that is associated with the iconic holiday work, but underneath those layers, Yannick Nézet-Séguin was able to lead his musical troupes to a notably warm and dear sound that was remarkably tender. Read more »

Hilary Hahn’s Homecoming


Hilary Hahn | Photo by Michael Patrick O’Leary

She may be from Virginia, but violinist Hilary Hahn spent her formative years in Rittenhouse Square, studying at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music from ages 10 to 19. And that makes her an honorary Philadelphian in our book.

Hahn, 36, has performed literally all over the world, becoming recognized as one of the modern masters of her instrument. But she’s no snoot or slave to Strauss: She’s a big proponent of contemporary “classical” music, she has a fun Twitter account with 54,000 followers that purports to be run by her violin case (@ViolinCase) — and how many classical players do you know who turn up on late-night TV?

Hahn takes a moment from her busy schedule — and it just got busier; she gave birth to her first child in August — to bring her prized 1864 Vuillaume to town to perform Vieuxtemps’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. “She is a magnificent musician, an absolute master of her craft, and loved by our audiences,” says conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. “We all look forward to welcoming her back.”

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Yannick Nézet-Séguin Named Artist of the Year By Musical America

yannick nezet seguinIt’s been an honor-filled season for Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The Montreal-born maestro recently opened the Met Opera’s 2015-2016 season in Verdi’s Otello, he and the Orchestra played for Pope Francis during the World Meeting of Families festival, he even threw out a first pitch a Phillies game a few weeks ago (video below.) To add a little icing to the cake, this week he was named “Artist of the Year” by eminent performing arts publication Musical America.

The cover of the latest issue shows Nézet-Séguin front and center. He’s standing along the Parkway with City Hall and a crowd of people in the background. He’s presumably on stage during the pope concert.

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Philadelphia Orchestra’s Yannick Nézet-Séguin on Piano Virtuoso Daniil Trifonov

Photo by Jan Reagan

Photo by Jan Reagan

Sure, last week was busy for Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the maestro of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He opened the Metropolitan Opera’s season in New York City on Monday, conducting Verdi’s Otello (read our review here). He also conducted the Fabulous Philadelphians for the World Meeting of Families’ concert and mass with Pope Francis. But that was last week. 

This week has a whole new focus. Tomorrow night kicks off the Orchestra season with a gala concert with selections from Disney’s Fantasia. But, the first program of the season — running Thursday through Sunday — features virtuosic 24-year-old Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, performing “Piano Concerto No. 4” by one of his musical idols, fellow countryman Sergei Rachmaninoff. 

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