The Winking Satire of ‘Agrippina’
Agrippina, the Handel opera now premiering on the Metropolitan Opera’s stage, may have been written as a satire on the politics of its own time, but in the hands of producer Sir David McVicar, and set in the present day, it offers a timely paradigm of hypocrisy, corruption, and sexual manipulation in the halls of power.
March 1, 2020
A Resonant Centenary for Strauss in Vienna
Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s lavish operatic fairy tale of political and social renewal opened exactly a century ago—just as an unprecedented political crisis threatened to subvert the legitimacy of the hundred-year-old Austrian republic. Today, it has a somewhat different resonance for an Austrian republic shaken by scheming politicians.
June 13, 2019
Shostakovich and the Chimes of Novorossiysk
Like Shostakovich’s native Leningrad, Novorossiysk had suffered terribly during World War II. As the news of the war memorial’s musical innovation spread through the city, more people came and stayed for hours. My grandfather’s voice must have grown hoarse as he recited the story of the Chimes’ creation.
April 8, 2019
When Women Take the Baton
Women who aspire to the conductor’s podium may face similar hurdles to those in any other profession, ranging from networking difficulties and salary discrimination to traditional gendered assumptions about the nature of leadership. But classical music presents a unique, additional set of obstacles.
March 26, 2019