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!


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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CD Review
March 1, 2011

Joyce DiDonato’s latest recording, DivaDivo displays an artist so on top of her form and versatile in her voice that, like her last CD, it has a good chance of snaring another round of awards.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 28, 2011

What other touring orchestra posts its country's flag on stage when performing internationally? Israel's nationalistic pride is well known, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) is a particularly special source of honor for Israelis.

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Chamber Music Review
February 28, 2011

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players ensemble continues to evolve and explore new music, as evidenced by its Monday concert that displayed rich variety.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 27, 2011

The Vienna Philharmonic, one of the world’s great orchestras, plumbs the depths and heights of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, in its final Berkeley performance Sunday.

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Recital Review
February 26, 2011

The Paris Guitar Duo, in its first San Francisco outing, performed wide-ranging music with brilliance, but with odd mannerisms.

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Opera Review
February 26, 2011

Philip Glass’ Orphée earns high marks as a 20th-century alternative to Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. It just deserves a better production than the blunt, charmless staging mounted by the Ensemble Parallèle at Herbst Theatre over the weekend.

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Choral Review
February 26, 2011

It would have been hard to tell, observing the small, graying audience in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco on Saturday, that videos of the early-music band Voices of Music had received, as of this writing, 3,558,070 hits on YouTube. I suspect a good deal of those came from Web queries for the famous Pachelbel Canon, of which VOM has posted an excellent recording.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 25, 2011

The Vienna Philharmonic began its Berkeley residency Friday with a concert that showed off its versatility. The three composers, all from within Vienna’s cultural orbit, were aesthetically different from each other: high Classicism from Franz Schubert, wallowing Romanticism from Richard Wagner, and violent modernism from Béla Bartók.

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Chamber Orchestra/Orchestra Review
February 25, 2011

Three interpreters at Oakland East Bay Symphony's concert on Friday transformed composers’ dreams into art worthy of both praise and concern.

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