Classical | Texas Public Radio

Classical

Texas Public Radio Classical Music blog and other stories.

Three major opera companies debuted operas this summer. They’re all written by and star African Americans. They’re part of a shift of whose stories are told onstage and who gets to tell them.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy Goodwin (@JeremyDGoodwin) reports.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

Everyone knows what a trumpet looks like: shiny brass. But the Instrument of Hope is mostly black.

Except for the lead pipe — the straight part that extends from the mouthpiece.

It's made of bullets.

"Bullets that were shot and fired out of a gun, cut up and pieced together," says Josh Landress, who made it.

"I once said to Fred Astaire, 'Isn't it wonderful what the Gershwin brothers did for you at RKO?' " John Williams recalls. Astaire answered. "Yes. But Irving Berlin did more."

Controversy has seemed to follow pianist Ivo Pogorelich at every move, even from the beginning. In 1980, when the 22-year-old whiz kid from Yugoslavia failed to reach the final round of the International Chopin Competition, the revered pianist Martha Argerich, who declared him a "genius," stormed off the jury in protest. Naturally, the dustup helped launch his career. With a brooding pout, movie star looks and a high-powered record deal, Pogorelich was an instant celebrity.

On Monday, The Associated Press reported that as many as nine women were accusing revered opera star Plácido Domingo of sexual harassment over decades. Domingo has adamantly denied the allegations. The LA Opera, where he is the general director, announced it would hire an outside firm to investigate the accusations.

Azica Records

Welcome to Major Themes, a regular feature in which classical music experts recommend a must-hear recording based on what's happening at classical stations and programs around the country. This month, we checked in with friends in New York, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Here are their top picks for must-hear recordings.

American Rapture; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Ward Stare; Yolanda Kondonassis, harp (Azica)

Last month, opera star David Daniels and his husband, William "Scott" Walters, were indicted by Harris County, Texas on a felony charge of sexual assault. Simultaneously, the singer is battling the University of Michigan (UM), where he has taught since 2015 and where he was granted tenure in May 2018. Earlier this year, the school began seeking to fire Daniels over multiple, serious allegations of sexual misconduct.

One of the most potentially explosive #MeToo situations in the classical music sphere has been quietly shut down. The Metropolitan Opera and its former music director, James Levine, have reached a settlement in competing court claims that had been filed in New York State Supreme Court.

Pages