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 »

Gay Philly Selfies

Our mother publication, Philadelphia magazine, recently complied a collection of 75 selfies from notable faces around the region. Of course, the line-up wouldn’t be complete without a roundup of some great folks in the LGBT community. Below you’ll find some very familiar and famous faces sharing their smiles for our readers.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin rehearsing Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with the Westminster  Symphonic Choir of Princeton at the Kimmel Center, April 28, 2015.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin rehearsing Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with the Westminster
Symphonic Choir of Princeton at the Kimmel Center, April 28, 2015.

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Andrea Bocelli, Philly Orchestra to Perform for the Pope

Photo of Andrea Bocelli (left) from Andrea Raffin /

Photo of Andrea Bocelli (left) from Andrea Raffin /

The musical lineup for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia in September is beginning to be announced. Word about the first three acts performing at the Festival of Families came from the Vatican this morning, where Mayor Nutter and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput are currently visiting to plot out details about the Pope’s stay.

Read more »

REVIEW: Bernstein’s MASS With The Philadelphia Orchestra an Otherworldly Delight

A scene from 'MASS.'

A scene from ‘MASS.’

If you missed The Philadelphia Orchestra’s staging of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, you didn’t miss a performance: You missed a major, major event.

How else can you describe the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall stage filled with not only the Philadelphia Orchestra, but the Westminster Symphonic Choir, the Temple University Concert Choir, The American Boychoir, members of the Rock School for Dance, and the Temple University Diamond Marching Band, plus nearly 20 Broadway actors and opera singers…all at once. Add the excitement of Yannick Nezet-Seguin at the podium, and you sort of wonder how the entire building didn’t shatter due the sheer insane sound and energy from this cast of hundreds (Fun fact: this production is the first time that Verizon Hall’s orchestra pit was used. There were so many people on the stage, they couldn’t fit everyone). Read more »

Yannick Nezet-Seguin Extends Philadelphia Orchestra Contract Through 2022

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

He’s not going anywhere: The Philadelphia Orchestra announced today that everyone’s favorite energetic maestro, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, has signed a contract renewal through 2022.

“The warm embrace of The Philadelphia Orchestra and its audiences has been humbling and exhilarating since I made my debut in 2008. Knowing that this love affair with the Orchestra and the City of Philadelphia will continue is an immense joy. I believe what we are doing artistically is so important, and it’s having a big impact on this community,” said Nezet-Seguin of the announcement. “But to do this work takes time, so I am thrilled that I will continue here as music director for at least another five years. Our work together is in many ways really just beginning, and now being able to settle in and think and plan long-term is really wonderful.”

The Board of Directors also renewed Chairman Richard B. Worley and Orchestra President & CEO Allison Vulgamore.

For a sneak peek of what’s to come out of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2015-16, see our piece on the preview of the season.

5 Reasons to See The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Saint Petersburg Festival

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

I don’t think you need a good reason to see The Philadelphia Orchestra play the breathtaking Verizon Hall, but over the next several weeks, the fabulous musicians are putting on quite a series of shows: The Saint Petersburg Festival, which celebrates great Russian composers, gives a compelling reason to take in some gorgeous classical music. But, if you need more convincing, here are five reasons why a trip to the Kimmel Center is in high order. Read more »

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