From January, 2020

Review: ASO guest conductor Karina Canellakis delivers delicious surprise twist

Guest conductor Karina Canellakis led the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with grace and skill Thursday night, receiving at least three curtain calls. (Photos by Jeff Roffman) JANUARY 31, 2020 Robert Spano announced exactly two years ago that he’ll soon step down as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s music director.The New York Times calls him the man who made the ASO “a force to be reckoned with in contemporary American music,” and his departure spells opportunity for a new talent able to conduct, fundraise and inspire.Guest conductor Karina Canellakis, one of many candidates in the running to replace Spano, stepped to the podium Thursday to lead a program that included…

Review: The Atlanta Opera’s “Salome” haunts with its grotesque beauty

Snellville native Jennifer Holloway (right) brings dimension to the controversial character of Salome. (Photos by Rafterman Photography) JANUARY 28, 2020 “Two souls with but one nasty thought; two pens that drool as one” wrote New York critic W.J. Henderson in 1907, finding Oscar Wilde and Richard Strauss well matched when it came to the play and, soon after, the opera version of Salome. Despite Salome’s salacious subject matter — or perhaps because of it — the opera has endured. It’s Wilde’s twisted imagining of the circumstances surrounding the beheading of John the Baptist (a.k.a. Jochanaan) while imprisoned by Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, circa…

In the January 2020 Issue of Opera News Online: Review of Frida

IN CELEBRATION OF ITS FORTIETH anniversary season, Atlanta Opera kicked off its Discoveries series with Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s Frida at the newly-minted Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center (seen Oct. 5). Frida had its premiere at Philadelphia’s Atlanta Music Festival in 1991 and was named by TheNew York Times as “Best Opera/Musical of 1991,” but subsequent performances in the U.S. were few and far between. The work re-emerged in 2015 at Michigan Opera Theatre, revitalized by Frida Kahlo’s increase in popularity as a cultural icon over the last decade or so. The surreal production starring soprano Catalina Cuervo (Frida Kahlo) and bass-baritone Ricardo Herrera (Diego Rivera) has now…

Review: Atlanta Symphony, pianist Jorge Orsorio put on a riveting performance

The ASO’s performance of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” was a tour de force. (Photos by Jeff Roffman) JANUARY 10, 2020 Numerous works have been derived from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. It’s the timeless and provocative story of two star-crossed lovers in Verona, unable to overcome the powerful divide between their families. “Heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold,” it seemed for a time that Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s tale, was ill-fated as well. Composed in 1936, it was deemed impossible to choreograph and production of the work was denied on three separate occasions —…