Classical Music Reviews

Every week, our professional critics attend concerts throughout the Bay Area to let you know what went well...and occasionally what didn't. Let their insights enrich your musical experiences, and feel free to share your own views!


Recital Review
March 12, 2011

To prolonged high-pitched cheers and applause, Munich-born tenor Jonas Kaufmann, 41, strode onto the stage of Zellerbach Hall for his Bay Area debut, offering a unique instrument and experience; one of the most versatile, compelling, and vexing recitals in memory.

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Opera Review
March 12, 2011

Something special is happening at the Livermore Valley Opera, which has taken the care to stage Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with a cast that does the opera and the company proud.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
March 12, 2011

A recent BluePrint concert offered a disconcerting, echoing trope in a major new work offered at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, just one piece in a series of experimental works that impressed.

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Recital Review
March 12, 2011

I’m a curious cat, intrigued by unusual things, so I went to a double-bass recital as part of the Music at the Mission chamber music series. The lesson of the evening’s repertoire was that composers who write solo pieces for the double bass are apt to be slightly eccentric.

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Recital Review
March 11, 2011

To pianists, Chopin’s formidable Études have always seemed akin to waterboarding. Canadian pianist Louis Lortie certainly earned his place among those who attempt them by recording the entire set in 1986, and since then has made the program an important component of his career.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
March 10, 2011

The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra closed its 2010-2011 season with a concert at Zellerbach Hall that both segregated and showcased the ensemble’s considerable musical assets.

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Recital Review
March 6, 2011

Eugene Chan’s resonant baritone voice and passionate delivery were the prize in a somewhat self-conscious Sunday recital.

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Choral Review
March 6, 2011

Words and music came together (or didn’t) Sunday in five works sung by Volti and the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir — Robert Geary’s gift to creators and performers of new choral music.

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Opera Review
March 5, 2011

Few operas have been worked over as much as Bizet's Carmen. In the East Bay, where Berkeley West Edge Opera's Carmen Fixation opened Saturday night, the opera company offered a "different" version, with a standout performance by Buffy Baggott.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
March 5, 2011

Mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao, in the midst of an astounding series of performances with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, performed as a substitute for the great mezzo Frederica von Stade (Flicka), singing beautifully and giving fully of her heart and soul.

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