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: Yannick and Angela Meade Ring in the New Year

Meade and Nezet-Seguin at Verzion Hall. Photo by the author.

Meade and Nézet-Séguin at Verzion Hall. Photo by the author.

If you heard some vocal fireworks before midnight on New Year’s Eve, it was Angela Meade at Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.

The remarkable soprano, who headlined The Philadelphia Orchestra‘s New Year’s Eve concert, was in absolute breathtaking form as she returned to the ensemble for her first ever December 31st gala. I first saw Ms. Meade perform the comedic role of Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff at The Met, and I quickly understood all the buzz about the singer. The winner of the 2012 Beverly Sills Artist Award and the 2011 Tucker Award, Ms. Meade, who received her training here at Philadelphia’s prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts, has become something of a pristine Verdi interpreter. Read more »

15 Outstanding Philly Arts Moments in 2015

Ticket arts writers weigh in on what they think are the most important local arts moments of 2015. 


Lisette Oropesa’s in Opera Philly’s “Traviata”

Brava, Diva!

It’s been a banner year generally for Opera Philadelphia, but Lisette Oropesa’s Violetta in Traviata (her first performance of the role) was special. The beautiful young soprano met every vocal demand — fiendishly difficult as they may have been – and acted it superbly. Opera lovers around the world pay attention to debuting Violettas – the great ones are so rare. Here in Philly, we found one. —David Fox

Philadelphia Film Society Saves the Prince

The gorgeous Prince Theater seemed to be in quite a bit of limbo: The resident production company had vacated a number of years ago, and their presentations were random at best. With PFS purchasing the building, the theater has becoming a bustling hub not only for movies (it’s now the only mainstream movie theater in Center City) but performing arts, and their Razz Room is hosting some of the hottest NYC cabaret acts around. —Bryan Buttler

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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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REVIEW: Philadelphia Orchestra’s Opening Night

Philadelphia Orchestra

Before the last number of Wednesday’s season-opening concert, the Philadelphia Orchestra‘s incomparable music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, told the audience assembled in Kimmel’s Verizon Hall that it was more important now than ever to spread the word about the excellence of the ensemble.

Alas, it was a not-so-subtle sub-theme that filled the evening, that the Orchestra’s musicians were back in negotiations and that they were currently working without a contract. Several members of the organization, ranging from musicians to administration, spoke of these negotiations after the opening number, which was a ravishing interpretation of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor.” In retrospect, the tune was an eerie prelude to talks about the Orchestra’s future. Read more »

Yannick Nézet-Séguin to Throw First Pitch at Phillies Game on Tuesday

Yannick Nézet-Séguin leaves absolutely no holes in his schedule: He just opened the Metropolitan Opera’s season in New York, played for the papal visit, and has the Philadelphia Orchestra’s opening gala this Wednesday. Nevertheless, he’s snuck in a little time to enjoy a Phillies game in a way that you might not expect.

The conductor is scheduled to throw the first pitch of Tuesday’s Phillies game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. In-between rehearsals for his performance for the Pope, he threw a couple of practice shots backstage, and the Orchestra’s Instagram captured it via video:

You can get your tickets for the Phillies game by clicking here, or, to catch the Orchestra on opening night, visit this link.

REVIEW: Yannick Nézet-Séguin Soars in Met Opera’s New Otello

Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role and Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona in Verdi's "Otello". Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Aleksandrs Antonenko in the title role and Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello.” Photographed by Ken Howard/ Metropolitan Opera

Philadelphia sent a little touch of star quality to New York City’s Metropolitan Opera to lead the large-scale musical forces in a new production of Verdi’s Otello, which opened the company’s season last evening. Philadelphia Orchestra’s Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who has been widely regarded as one of the Met’s greatest conductors, brought an immense amount of control throughout Verdi’s challenging score in Bartlett Sher‘s dark production. In that sense, our Philly hometown hero was one of the stars of the night.

Sure, it is a little strange to start off a review of an opera by talking about the conductor, but Nezet-Seguin’s ability to lead a tight interpretation of Verdi’s work is extraordinary. But, then again, he had the remarkable talents of the Met’s orchestra and the amazing Met chorus, who both provided an inspired performance. Read more »

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