The eighth-floor auditorium in Macy’s downtown Minneapolis store makes it a uniquely immersive venue for the chain’s annual flower show.
The theme for this year’s show, which opens to the public today and will remain on display through April 3, is America the Beautiful. The show is laid out to roughly correspond to a map of the continental United States, with regional flora arranged in bucolic scenes meant to represent each of seven different regions.
Last year, I talked with producer Mike Gansmoe, who curates the soundtrack for each year’s show. Classical music is always part of the mix, and this year — no surprise — there’s a lot of Copland. Cue up Appalachian Spring and take a glance at the show in these seven animated GIFs.
This is the second recent example of a former Minnesota professional musician caught up in dramatic circumstances in the Beaver State. David Wright, a violinist who formerly played with the Minnesota Orchestra, lost all his possessions in a car fire last month in Portland.
Wright now tells Norman Lebrecht that he has “no interest in more orchestral work: 30 years of the privilege performing in the back of an ensemble as fine as the Minnesota Orchestra left me tired of the relative mediocrity of my own sound. I am now a writer, singer, and traveller, and continue to enjoy my life, very thankful to have escaped the fire just in time. I don’t need anyone’s help.”
When Philip Glass’s opera Appomattox, with text by playwright Christopher Hampton, premiered in 2007, critical reaction was muted — to put it kindly.
SF Gate called the opera “ambitious and maddeningly inconsistent.” The New York Times said the opera about the end of the Civil War was “preachy,” “ponderous,” and “prone to melodrama.”
For Glass and Hampton, it was back to the drawing board. First, Hampton revised his text for presentation as a standalone play — without Glass’s music — at the Guthrie Theater in 2012. Hampton completely reimagined the story’s second half, drawing parallels between the Civil War and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
Personally, I was unimpressed — but Glass was sold. “My God,” said Glass after seeing the new version, “we’ve got to rewrite the opera.”
That rewritten opera, now focusing closely on voting rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 rejection of the central components of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, opened Saturday night at the Washington (D.C.) National Opera. This time, the critics are much happier.
The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette — a critic infamously averse to puffery — wrote that the new opera “sears across the stage like a firework of light and color and rage and pain and beauty.” The New York Times also appreciated the revisions (“This new act is altogether brighter and more confident,” writes Corinna da Fonesca-Wollheim), but still thinks the opera could use “another round of revision.”
Prima Donna, the debut opera by indie-pop music star Rufus Wainwright, is coming to CD—on Deutsche Grammophon, no less. We’ll see if the critics are kinder to the recorded version than they were to the live performances.
Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here’s what we’ll be discussing today.
Love it or hate it, Labor Day is over and the feelings of fall are starting to stir. Fortunately, we have a multi-hour playlist of classical music that’s perfectly suited to the season.
If your fall plans include a walk down the aisle, you can give your accompanist the original handwritten score to Wagner’s Wedding March: it’s now on sale for $3.6 million.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage—at least that’s the way it worked for Hilary Hahn and her husband, who’ve just announced the birth of their new baby daughter Zelda.
Monday mornings at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our website. Due to the Labor Day weekend, this week we’re having our talk on Tuesday. Here are the stories we’ll be discussing.
What are the top ten myths about classical music? As artistic director of the Discovery Orchestra, George Marriner Maull has heard his share—and he lists the pernicious.
As the big fall books roll in, you may find yourself pulling your own manuscript out of that desk drawer. Daniel Johnson suggests some music for writing your novel.
Normally on Monday mornings at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our website. This Monday I won’t be on the air—I’ll be at the Minnesota State Fair participating in our live blogcast—but here are three recent stories you might have missed.
Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our website. Here are the features we’ll be discussing today.
Have women’s contributions to classical music been underappreciated? Yes, argues Emily Feld in an essay highlighting the many accomplishments of female musicians and composers.
You’re used to hearing New Classical Tracks on Classical MPR, but there are many more new releases each month than we’re able to highlight in that feature. For that reason, we’re pleased to have experienced music writer Terry Blain spotlighting five notable new releases each month; his first monthly roundup has just been published.
One of our most-read features this year has been a story about the “viola organista,” an instrument Leonardo da Vinci designed but never got to hear. Now, we have an update: a Kickstarter to record a complete album of music on the instrument has just met its funding goal.
Every Monday morning at 9:15, I join John Birge on Classical MPR to talk about stories we’re featuring on our websites. Here are the features we’ll be discussing today.
Shape note singing is one of America’s oldest and most unique choral traditions—and it’s going strong in Minnesota. Emily Feld visited a local gathering of shape note singers and shared what she learned.
Is minimalist music relaxing—or maddening? There are partisans on either side of the debate, but Rebecca Wishnia argues that no matter who you are, there’s some minimalist music you’ll enjoy.