Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ailey reviewed in today's Boston Herald

Keith Powers covered Tuesday's Ailey opening at The Opera House for the Boston Herald. Here's a snipette:

"The Celebrity Series hosted Tuesday night’s Opera House party for the
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which celebrates its 50th
anniversary this year. The varied programs for each of this week’s
performances, which continue through Sunday, are a tribute to the
ensemble’s vigor."

Read all of Dance party: Alvin Ailey company celebrates 50 years of groundbreaking performances.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Renowned Russian ballerina Maximova dead at 70


Ekaterina Maximova, famous Russian ballerina of the Soviet era and longtime dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet died yesterday at 70 years of age.

Maximova made at least 2 appearances on the Celebrity Series, in 1962 and again in 1966.

Associated Press

Telegraph (UK)

RIA Novosti

ABC News

BBC News

Maximova in Don Quixote with the Bolshoi Ballet (video)

Maximova dances Sugar Plum Fairy at the Bolshoi in 1958

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Go in Grace" opens Ailey engagement tonight (video excerpt)

Go in Grace is the unique new work by Ailey dancer/choreographer Hope Boykin that opens the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's 50th Anniversary engagement at The Opera House this evening. It features the electrifying a capella vocal ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock live and on stage with the dancers of the Ailey company.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary Celebration runs April 28 through May 3 at The Opera House.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Krystian Zimerman's shocking Disney Hall debut"

Ordinarily, I wouldn't torture an audience that did not see a performer, with news of that performers concerts elsewhere. This time, it seems a little more newsworthy:

From the Los Angeles Times: Krystian Zimerman's shocking Disney Hall debut

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Announcing the Celebrity Series of Boston 2009-2010 Season


Celebrity Series of Boston

2009-2010 Season

October 2009

Frederica von Stade, mezzo-soprano

Farewell Concert

with special guest Kiri Te Kanawa, soprano

Sunday, October 4, 3pm, Symphony Hall

November 2009

Ingrid Fliter, piano

Sunday, November 1, 3pm, NEC's Jordan Hall

Suzanne Vega

November 6, 8pm, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge

What Makes It Great? - Mendelssohn’s Octet

with Borromeo String Quartet and Ariel String Quartet

November 7, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

An Evening with Stephen Sondheim – An Onstage

with Frank Rich, "A Life in the Theatre"

November 14, 8pm,
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge

Berlin Philharmonic

Sir Simon Rattle, conductor

November 15, 3pm, Symphony Hall

December 2009

Emerson String Quartet

Friday, December 4, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Vienna Choir Boys

Saturday, December 12, 2pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

January 2010

Emanuel Ax, piano

Friday, January 8, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Luciana Souza Trio
Luciana Souza, vocals

Romero Lubambo, guitar

Cyro Baptista, percussion

January 22, 8pm,
Sanders Theatre, Cambridge

What Makes It Great? – The Music of Cole

January 23, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Mark Morris Dance Group

"Mozart Dances"

with the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music

Jane Glover, conductor

Russell Sherman & Minsoo Sohn, piano soloists

January 29-31, The Opera House

Christian Tetzlaff, unaccompanied violin

January 31, 5pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

February 2010

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

Friday, February 5, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Richard Goode & Jonathan Biss, duo pianists

February 7, 3pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
Regina Carter, violin

Kurt Elling, vocals

Russell Malone, guitar

with the Kenny Barron Trio

February 11, 8pm, Berklee Performance Center

David Finckel, cello

Wu Han, piano

Philip Setzer, violin

February 21, 3pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra

Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Nelson Freire, piano soloist

February 25, 8pm, Symphony Hall

March 2010

Artemis String Quartet

Friday, March 5, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Max Raabe & Palast Orchester

"A Night in Berlin"

Saturday, March 6, 5pm & 8pm, Paramount Theater

Itzhak Perlman, violin

Rohan De Silva, piano

March 7, 3pm, Symphony Hall

Black Grace Dance Company

March 12-14, Paramount Theater

Bobby McFerrin

Sunday, March 21, 3pm, Symphony Hall

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Kathryn Stott, piano

Friday, March 26, 8pm
, Symphony Hall

Dee Dee Bridgewater

"Lady Day"

March 27 & 28, Paramount Theater

April 2010

NEC Philharmonia

Hugh Wolff, conductor

Narek Hakhnazaryan, cello soloist

Wednesday, April 7, 8pm, Symphony Hall

Subscriber Bonus Event!

St. Lawrence String Quartet

Friday, April 9, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall


"In Time of ..."

Sunday, April 11, 3pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

David Sedaris

Sunday, April 11, 7pm, Symphony Hall

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

April 15-18, Citi Wang Theatre

Imani Winds with Stefon Harris

Friday, April 16, 8pm,
NEC's Jordan Hall

Maya Beiser, cello

"World to Come"

Friday, April 23, 8pm, Paramount Theater

Maurizio Pollini, piano

Sunday, April 25, 3pm, Symphony Hall

Danish Dance Theater

April 27 & 28, Paramount Theater

May 2010

Thomas Quasthoff, bass-baritone

Sunday, May 2, 3pm, NEC's Jordan Hall

Brian Stokes Mitchell

Saturday, May 8, 8pm, Sanders Theatre


Important Dates:

Priority seating deadline: Friday, June 12, 2009

Subscriptions by phone begin: Monday, June 15, 2009

Single ticket sales begin: Monday, September 14, 2009

Subscribe online
or call for a free 2009-2010 season brochure: (617) 482-2595.

Subscriber benefits page

Join our e-mail list

Excerpt of Festa Barocca, piece gets Boston premiere May 1

Check out this video excerpt of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Mauro Bigonzetti's Festa Barocca, which gets its Boston premiere on Friday, May 1 and repeats on Saturday, May 2 at 8pm.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Renée Fleming's favorite things in the Globe


Jeremy Eichler's review of Renée Fleming's recital on Sunday ran in today's Globe. Here's a taste:

"It's not easy to make Symphony Hall feel like an intimate space, but Renée Fleming did so with her Celebrity Series recital on Sunday afternoon. On paper, it was a fairly
idiosyncratic program of 20th-century works that shared little in
common, from Strauss to Messiaen to John Kander. No particular agenda,
no surprising links or thematic heavy lifting - just an enjoyable
tasting menu of music Fleming loves and for the most part sings well."

In general, Eichler had more bones to pick with Fleming's performance than the audience: he wasn't as "adoring" as most of the rest of us in Symphony Hall were. But he was "at the same concert as the rest of us" to repeat a common audience take on concert reviews. Read all of A Fleming Sampler: Messiaen to Americana.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Misstropolis Ailey contest winners


The good folks at Misstropolis hosted a short essay contest amongst readers with the winners receiving tickets to next week's Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 50th Anniversary Celebration at The Opera House, and they were good enough to share the winning entries with us:

"Just a quick note to enter your contest for tickets to Alvin Ailey. We're not terribly graceful in our family. Both of our girls tried dance but just didn't have the right physicality for it. Still we've encouraged them to love dance by making a family tradition of seeing the Urban Nutracker and other performances. And our kids, now adolescents, continue to grow in their body confidence through the sports they've come to love: soccer and martial arts. We parents are also huge fans of Sweet Honey in the Rock and seeing them with Alvin Ailey with our kids would give us a glow that would last for weeks, and years of memories. Hope you'll consider us when you do your drawing."

"I just got the Misstropolis email and I am very excited about this opportunity. I started dancing when I was three years old (my mother put my sister and I into dance lessons) at a very young age. I really believe that our dance preparation and lessons on a weekly basis lead us to be who we are today. I obviously have a strong passion for dance due to my long standing involvement in the dance industry. Although, I think that daily lessons, consistency from dance and expression lead people who have that background to live successful lives. The values you take away from your instructors, the friendships, and the passion for health and exercise live with me today. I go to Alvin Ailey every year, it is a tradition for me and my sister...I would love to win this prize!"

"Here is why I would LOVE to win the Alvin Ailey tickets.  I have seen and have been mesmerized by the marketing and advertising for this amazing group of dancers.  For whatever reason, I have never been to see them in person.  The fluidity of their dance and strength of their bodies, but used in such a manner of grace and elegance is nothing short of amazing.  a second reason would be that I would love an excuse to go on a date with my tween daughter and inspire the arts within her soul as well(although i beleive there is a spark there already!)"

"Watching the Alvin Ailey dancers celebrate life, dance, passion, love and the human form would bring me such joy. Seeing them would add a much needed element of hope and celebration during these difficult days.Thank you for considering me."

There's a new season a-brewin'


Now I'm not here to tell you that the Celebrity Series of Boston 2009-2010 season launch will be exactly  like the Oklahoma Land Rush, but if this season is any indication I recommend acting fast (and maybe even getting a horse. And wear a bandanna on your mouth, it gets mighty dusty when the crowd starts running). Orchestras, dance, chamber music, soloists, jazz, popular music and spoken word performances are all on tap for 2009-2010.

Subscriptions can be had online as of 12:01am this Friday, April 24 at If you were a subscriber this season, you will get a season brochure in the mail either this Friday or this Saturday, depending on where you live.

P.S. - Priority Seating Deadline is Friday, June 12 and you can start ordering by phone on Monday,
June 15.

Orion Quartet and Krakauer via Matthew Guerrieri via the Globe

Clarinetist David Krakauer

Matthew Guerrieri's Globe review of the Orion String Quartet with clarinetist David Krakauer struck me as old school when I first read it. Perhaps refreshingly so. Guerrieri sticks mostly to the not terribly obvious facts and reports events, leaving any notions of "thumbs up or thumbs down" criticism to glide unseen as more of subtle undercurrent than damnation, leaving one to wonder if one could read into each comment what one, in fact, had read into it. For example:

"Del Tredici's neo-Romanticism nearly forgoes the prefix - four-fifths
of the piece would fit the Brahmsian aesthetic of Boston a century ago
- and the music's titular Hungarian color has the authenticity of a
Gypsy-themed Hollywood production number."

I find this, and Guerrieri's criticism in general, a delight to read, but I usually wonder what else I'm being served with my impartial journalistic stew: is it light venom or merely spicy prose? I, for one, plan to keep reading for clues.

Read all of Captured in Orion's Orbit.

P.S. - One doesn't read the word "Brahmsian" very often, so I don't often have the chance to say that it makes me imagine Brahms as a friend of Gidget, the only person who can get away with calling him "Brahmsie."

Nederlands Dans Theatre 2 reviewed for Globe

Last week's NDT2 performance will not make dance critic Thea Singer's list of her favorite things (I can't speak to doorbells, sleighbells or schnitzels with noodle), but she did enjoy one of the pieces:

"Just four minutes long, [Shutters Shut] - danced with crackling wit by Jin
Young Won and Anton Valdbauer - brings Gertrude Stein's 1912 poem 'If I
told him: A completed portrait of Picasso' to snapping life. Lightfoot
Leon's gestural vocabulary - scratches and tongue licks, head wags and
he-man posturing - translates Stein's perseverative rhythmic
meanderings into a whole new medium. It's not a music but a word
visualization - each syllable, each beat embodied and made full-blown."

My only quibble is that the choreographers in question are Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, not "Lightfoot Leon." Though NDT2s materials were quite ambiguous on this point and to date have created numerous Lightfoot Leon's all over the web.

So there, posted for your pleasure, are the positive bits. Here, in the interest of transparency (if you consider linking to something a newspaper has published transparency), is the link to the rest: Their journey stops short.

P.S. - I agree with Thea about the dancers: they're fantastic.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Student rush tickets, a no-brainer


One of the things that makes being a student in Boston worth the cost (we know about the cost, we were students once, too) is getting to see great performances by great performers for amazingly low prices. We know a lot of students make the mistake of thinking that big time, famous, larger than life performers always sell their shows out. This is not always so. For example, soprano Renee Fleming's recital this afternoon (or is 5 o'clock "evening"?) is well sold, but not so well sold that there will not be quite a number of student rush tickets available today at $20 each. How often does one get the chance to hear one of the leading sopranos of our time for 20 bucks? With the exception of those Metropolitan Opera cinematic broadcasts the answer is not often.

Oh, and by the way, there will be plenty of student rush tickets available for the April 28-May 3 run of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Opera House (nice sight lines!).

The details as to how, when and what to bring (like a student ID) are all here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Krystian Zimerman Recital Cancelled

Krystian Zimerman’s recital, scheduled for tomorrow, April 10 at 8pm at NEC’s
Jordan Hall has been cancelled due to Mr. Zimerman’s lingering illness.

Ticket holders will be notified by mail of options to donate or exchange
tickets or to request a refund. Ticket holders are requested to retain their
tickets until they receive notification by mail. For more information or if you have questions, contact Celebrity Series of Boston at (617) 482-2595 or

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blog Rally to Help the Boston Globe

We have all read recently about the threat of possible closure faced by the Boston Globe. A number of Boston-based bloggers who care about the continued existence of the Globe have banded together in conducting a blog rally. We are simultaneously posting this paragraph to solicit your ideas of steps the Globe could take to improve its financial picture.

"We view the Globe as an important community resource, and we think that lots of people in the region agree and might have creative ideas that might help in this situation. So, here's your chance.  Please don't write with nasty comments and sarcasm:  Use this forum for thoughtful and interesting steps you would recommend to the management that would improve readership, enhance the Globe's community presence, and make money. Who knows, someone here might come up with an idea that will work, or at least help.  Thank you.


Here is some of the media coverage that our rally has garnered so far:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ian through a knothole


Tenor Ian Bostridge during his all-Schubert recital at NEC's Jordan Hall on April 3 as viewed through a backstage knothole/peephole or whatever they call it. You don't see photos like THAT every day . . .

UPDATE: Read today's Boston Globe review of Ian Bostridge's recital: Tenor Bostridge offers a master class in Schubert.

Tenor Ian Bostridge talks with the Globe


Purely from a timeline perspective, Ian Bostridge is an academic whose singing hobby has taken on a life of its own. David Weininger spoke with the tenor, who sings an all-Schubert program tonight at Jordan Hall (20 lieder, plus encores for the scorekeppers among you), for his column in today's edition of the Globe, and asked Bostridge for his thoughts on being considered an intellectual. Here is a taste of that conversation:

"'The only thing I always say is, I'm obviously a person with a sort of
academic bent to my mind and I tend to look at things intellectually,'
he says by phone from New York, the morning after a Carnegie Hall
performance. 'But I think when you're performing, performance is about
letting go and emotional identification and emotional projection to the

Read all of The unmistakable tenor timbre

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Murray Perahia reviewed in Boston Globe


David Weininger weighed in on behalf of The Boston Globe on pianist Murray Perahia's Celebrity Series recital last Sunday. Here's the intro:

"Murray Perahia's artistry has undergone something of a transformation
since the pianist battled a hand injury during the 1990s. Where his
playing was once marked chiefly by understated elegance, more recent
performances and recordings have showed a musician dialed in to his
more volatile, Romantic side. When Perahia holds both sides of his
personality in balance, as he often did at Sunday's recital, he is a
remarkably complete and compelling pianist."

Read all of Pianist Perahia at the top of his game.

"Why the internet loves bacon"


Why the internet loves bacon
, from The Los Angeles Times...