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Q&A: Conductor Anne Manson Talks about a New Multi-National Opera

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Anne Manson, widely admired as a conductor of operatic repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to Philip Glass, leads the cast and orchestra of the Juilliard School in New York in the American premiere of “Kommilitonen!” She speaks to T+L about the unusual work, commissioned jointly by the Royal Academy of Music in London and Julliard.

Q: Peter Maxwell Davies, 77-years-old and considered the dean of British composers (he also holds the royal appointment as Master of the Queen’s music), wrote the score and David Pountney provided the libretto and has staged the work in London and now in New York. What is the work about?

A: It is about students, facing crucial issues at turning points in history: the black student James Meredith who in 1962 fought racial prejudice to enroll in the segregated University of Mississippi; a brother and sister in Munich who joined the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany; and two Chinese students, who swept up in the Cultural Revolution, are compelled to denounce their parents. “Kommilitonen” is German for “fellow students,” by the way.

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Opera Now: What to See This Season

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Last June, American contemporary-classical composer Nico Muhly, who is barely 30, electrified London audiences with the world premiere of his genre-busting opera Two Boys. That work, a disturbing detective story set in a world of sinister Internet chat rooms, comes to the Metropolitan Opera in 2013. But New York City is getting a chance to sample Muhly’s iconoclastic gifts, with his equally unconventional second opera, Dark Sisters, which currently has its premiere production by the Gotham Chamber Opera (through November 19). Dark Sisters moves next summer to the Opera Company of Philadelphia (June 8-18).

The new piece, which has a libretto by playwright Stephen Karam, follows one woman’s desperate attempts to escape from a polygamist Mormon sect. Fifty Nine Productions, the lighting and projections team responsible for integrating dramatic moving images into the Two Boys staging, creates images that range from stark landscapes of the American southwest to the re-creation of a sensational television news show, studio and telecast feed, side-by-side.

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T+L "Hearts" Jake Shimabukuro + NYC Concert Date


Recently, ukelele crossover star Jake Shimabukuro showed T+L around his hometown of Honolulu. Now, he lands on our turf to perform tracks from his latest album “Peace Love Ukelele” this Tuesday, November 15 at the Highline Ballroom in New York City. 212/414-5994. Don't miss his sweet rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

The Lijadu Sisters: The Afrobeat Goes On

The Lijadu Sisters
Cousins of Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, The Lijadu Sisters have rhythm in their veins. Twins Taiwo and Kehinde emerged as the primary female voices of Nigeria in the ‘70s, writing and performing their own music and bringing women into the foreground of a largely male-dominated scene. Their 1976 LP Danger is being rereleased this week by Knitting Factory Records, the first of a four-album reissue that will unearth the out-of-print tracks and dust them off for a new generation of music lovers.

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Helsinki: So Hot Right Now

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It may be getting chilly in the Baltics, but Helsinki is heating up. Finland’s biggest city—perhaps best known for its colorful Marimekko prints and Modernist works by the late, great Alvar Aalto, not to mention its abundant saunas—has been named the 2012 World Design Capital.

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Montenegro’s Guitar Hero Makes His Carnegie Hall Debut

Milos Karadaglic

No doubt Montenegro’s 28-year-old Miloš Karadaglić could get by on his dreamboat looks alone. They’re matched by a virtuoso guitar technique and deep musicality that make Miloš, as he’s known professionally, one of the most galvanizing classical instrumentalists to emerge in recent years. Born in Montenegro—“The most beautiful country in the world,” he says, with some justification—Miloš was eight when he picked up his father’s battered old guitar. By age 16, he was accomplished enough to win a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music. Today, Miloš seems poised for a major international career. Deutsche Grammophon recently released his first recording, Mediterráneo; following club appearances at New York’s Living Room and at (Le) Poisson Rouge, and he made his Carnegie Hall debut this past weekend in the intimate Weill Recital Hall. Look for more dates in the future. We will be following this rising star.

Photo by Olaf Heine

Salzburg’s Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music (Finally!)

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After shunning the play for its portrayal of Austria's great support of the Third Reich during WWII, Salzburg is finally shelving its past. On October 23, the Salzburger Landestheater will debut The Sound of Music, the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical-turned-blockbuster film, for the first time in the city's history. Dutch actress Wietske van Tongeren leads in the role of Maria while German music star Uwe Kröger woos as Captain von Trapp.

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OKA! Opens: New Film Highlights Rarely Heard Music From Africa

In theaters today, OKA! is an adaptation of the memoir of an ethnomusicologist from New Jersey, Louis Sarno, who moved to the remote forests of the Central African Republic to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies over 20 years ago, fell in love and stayed.

Kris Marshall (Love Actually) gives a fine performance as the ethnomusicologist, but it’s the local Bayaka ensemble cast and the lush African rainforest that are worth your attention here. The plot is familiar—a capitalistic politician wants to destroy the Bayaka’s forest home to make way for a logging company’s expansion—but don’t be quick to dismiss this as another Fern Gully rip-off. The beauty of this film is in the moments that aren’t trying to move the plot along—children singing in perfect syncopated rhythm together, a group of women making music in a river using the water as their only instrument, and the documentary-worthy wildlife shots.

If you're in New York you can catch it at the Angelika Film Center, and soon in other theaters nationwide.

Lyndsey Matthews is an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure

From Boston to Moscow, Cities for the Arts-Obsessed to Visit

Harpa in Reykjavik, Iceland

Boston: After opening the Art of the Americas wing by Foster & Partners, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, continues its renovation with seven galleries devoted to contemporary art in the Linde Family Wing. First show: wood sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly on September 18. 465 Huntington Ave..

Montreal: Music director Kent Nagano leads the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to inaugurate the concert hall (Sept. 7), designed by Toronto architects Diamond & Schmitt. Rufus Wainwright joins the orchestra in a program featuring his own songs (Oct. 5). 1600 Rue St.-Urbain.

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L.A.'s First-Annual Food & Wine Festival

Food and wine festivals are becoming a ubiquitous fixture in every self-respecting dining destination, but until recently, the City of Angels had little to call its own.

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Enter the first-annual Los Angeles Food & Wine (LAFW), presented by American Express Publishing (T+L's parent company): a four-day (October 13-16) festival that features more than 50 culinary events across four neighborhoods. From a California clambake in Santa Monica with chef Tom Colicchio, to a red carpet VIP event and pork and pinot noir party hosted by chef Todd English, to a musical performance by Train, the festival promises to levy L.A.’s megawatt star power while showcasing its considerable dining chops. We got the scoop from LAFW’s co-founder, David Bernahl.

Q: How did the LAFW come about?
A: There are all these rock star younger chefs that are really leading the culinary world right now, and we knew from experience that this is the best way to get people interested in food and wine. We set out two years ago to start creating something that was deserving of the city.

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