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    Review: Lise Davidsen Cements Her Stardom in Met Opera’s ‘Forza’

    Lise Davidsen, entering the Italian repertoire at the company, was part of a superb cast as Verdi’s opera returned for the first time since 2006.As dramatic music swirled late Monday evening, the woman trudged a few steps pushing a filthy shopping cart — so hunched and bedraggled that she seemed like an extra, sent onstage to set the scene before the star entered.Then she opened her mouth, and a note emerged so pure and clear, widening into a cry before narrowing back into a murmur, that it could only be the soprano Lise Davidsen, cementing her stardom in a new production of Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” at the Metropolitan Opera.In her still-young Met career, Davidsen has triumphed in works by Tchaikovsky, Wagner and especially Strauss. She has quickly become the rare singer you want to hear in everything. But Verdi and the Italian repertoire traditionally belong to voices more velvety and warm than hers, which has the coolly powerful authority of an ivory sword, particularly in flooding high notes.There were moments on Monday that wanted a soprano more fiery than ivory. Davidsen is statuesque, and her sound is too: grand and decorous. There were moments when the anguish of Leonora, the heroine of “Forza,” would have been more crushing if her lower notes had earthier fervor.But come on. Quibbles aside, there are vanishingly few artists in the world singing with such generosity, sensitivity and visceral impact.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Jaap van Zweden to Lead French Orchestra After New York Philharmonic

    The conductor, whose tenure in New York ends this summer, will begin a five-year term at the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in 2026.The conductor Jaap van Zweden does not leave his position as the New York Philharmonic’s music director until later this summer.But his post-New York plans are already taking shape. In January, van Zweden officially began a five-year term as the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s music director. And on Tuesday, he announced another new job: He will become music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, a French radio orchestra in Paris, for a five-year term starting in 2026.Van Zweden, 63, succeeds Mikko Franck, who will step down next year after a decade on the podium. Van Zweden will take over as music director designate next year, the orchestra said in a news release, leading several weeks of concerts and a European tour.Van Zweden, who got his start as concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in 1979, when he was 19, said he was eager to once again be part of a European ensemble.“I could not be happier about inaugurating this relationship with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France,” he said in a statement. “In Paris, I can experience anew the musical colors familiar to me from Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, another great European orchestra.”Van Zweden made his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France last year, conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 and a violin concerto by John Adams. The orchestra’s players said they felt an immediate connection.“It was clear from the first rehearsal that we had found our new music director,” Jean-Pierre Odasso, president of the musicians’ council, said in a statement, calling van Zweden’s appointment “a real joy for the musicians.”The orchestra said that van Zweden planned to promote new works during his tenure, with a special focus on contemporary pieces by French composers. He will lead his first European tour with the ensemble in October 2025.Van Zweden, who is from Amsterdam, came to New York in 2018, only to have his tenure interrupted by the pandemic.In 2021, he made the surprise announcement that he would depart New York, saying the pandemic had made him rethink his life and priorities. His six-year tenure will be the shortest of any Philharmonic music director since Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor who led the orchestra for six seasons in the 1970s. More

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    Review: A Musician’s Portrait, as Both Composer and Pianist

    At the Miller Theater at Columbia University, the composer Amy Williams joined the JACK Quartet in playing her chamber music.Whether as a composer or as a pianist, Amy Williams is first and foremost, in her heart of hearts, a chamber musician.“Chamber music is my love when it comes to music, as a listener and performer,” she said in an onstage interview during a Composer Portraits concert devoted to her work at the Miller Theater at Columbia University on Thursday evening.Miller’s composer portraits tend to focus on pieces for small groups, and therefore represent some artists more fully than others. Williams, born in 1969 and now a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, has, in her relatively tight body of work, written little but small-group pieces. Many of them involve the piano, which brought her to Thursday’s concert as a performer, too, and gave the audience another crucial facet of her musical life. (She is the longtime half, with Helena Bugallo, of the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo.)The four pieces on the program at Miller were for combinations of piano and strings, and featured the JACK Quartet, which performed on its own, as part of a piano quintet and with two of its members joining Williams in a trio.Williams and JACK — the violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, the violist John Pickford Richards and the cellist Jay Campbell — have collaborated for over a decade and form a happy partnership. The quartet has the pristine clarity to execute all the challenges Williams calls for: the supersoft passages and tight coordination; the complex, exposed unison rhythms; the variety of touch among the four players; and a mood both easygoing and changeable.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Review: A Case for Understated Majesty at the Philharmonic

    A new piano concerto written for Emanuel Ax, and an old symphony by Rachmaninoff, reward close listening in a program conducted by Eun Sun Kim.I always wince when people say they like classical music, “but not the new stuff.”Comments like that are not only shortsighted — the old stuff was, in its time, of course new and often radical — but they also don’t take into account how varied contemporary music is, and how much of it is actually quite easy to love.Take Anders Hillborg’s second piano concerto, “The MAX Concerto,” which had its local premiere with the New York Philharmonic on Thursday. Programmed somewhat arbitrarily between works by Sibelius and Rachmaninoff, it was more entertaining than either of them, and just as well crafted.First performed in October in San Francisco, the concerto acknowledges the lineage of its genre with playfulness and reverence, and showcases Emanuel Ax, the soloist for whom it was written, by matching and pushing his brand of modest, underrated virtuosity. Likable without being eager to please, thrilling without shameless dazzle, it is, like Ax, enjoyable simply because it’s excellent.And, crucially, Hillborg’s concerto works regardless of how familiar a listener is with his music, or any classical music for that matter. You could be aware of the piece’s form — its nine evocatively titled sections, performed as a single, 21-minute movement — or smile at “MAX,” a contraction of “Manny Ax.” You could pick up on the opening passage’s nod to Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, or a later suggestion of Bach. Or you could just sit back and sense, intuitively, the genial majesty and pleasure coursing through it all.One of the great nice guys in music, Ax is a pianist who, over his five-decade career, seems to have made no enemies while sitting quietly, comfortably near the top of his field, whether as chamber partner to Yo-Yo Ma or as a champion of contemporary works premiering a new concerto by John Adams — “Century Rolls,” whose section “Manny’s Gym” is one of the single most beautiful movements written in our time.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Cartier’s Perfumer Creates Scents for ‘Prometheus’ Music

    Mathilde Laurent, Cartier’s perfumer, has created a scent poem that enhances the experience of Scriabin’s synesthetic score for “Prometheus.”It was time to smell Scriabin’s “Prometheus: The Poem of Fire.”This music, from 1910, has an element of synesthesia in its score, which calls for a color organ — a keyboard instrument that projects lights of a dozen hues — along with a full orchestra, a piano soloist and a choir. But in October at Davies Symphony Hall, the home of the San Francisco Symphony, the piece was being prepared with an additional sense in mind.A group had gathered in the auditorium to test an almost unheard-of idea: that a performance could be accompanied by something like an olfactory poem, a narrative series of perfumes released through diffusers between seats and a set of futuristic cannons, called vortexes, that were developed for this occasion to shoot out rings of scented smoke.Onstage, the pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet practiced his solo part in “Prometheus,” which the San Francisco Symphony will perform March 1 through 3, while the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen listened attentively to the wooden vortexes as they were being tested; the sound they made while emitting smoke, he noticed, was nearly a G.Mathilde Laurent, Cartier’s longtime perfumer, who had designed the scents, double-checked notes on her iPad. For this day’s test, without the orchestra, she wanted to be sure the diffusers were timed to match the music. So they were going to play a recording overhead.They had settled on one that Claudio Abbado made with the Berlin Philharmonic and the pianist Martha Argerich in the 1990s. After the Breton engineers who had designed and assembled the vortexes told everyone to take their seats, the “Prometheus” team quieted down, and waited.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Review: Yunchan Lim Plays Chopin at Carnegie Hall

    For his Carnegie debut, the fast-rising Yunchan Lim gave a confident and dazzling performance of Chopin’s 27 fiendishly difficult études.It was that rare occasion on Wednesday: There was an encore at Carnegie Hall.I mean a literal, French-for-“again” encore, when a musician, brought back at the end of a concert by applause and more applause, gives another rendition of a piece he has already played.Bowing modestly after making his Carnegie debut with a confident, supple, eventually dazzling performance of Chopin’s 27 études, the teenage pianist Yunchan Lim had given three eloquent encores of other Chopin works. But the ovation continued. So he returned to the stage and started the gentle undulations of the A-flat major étude he had played some 40 minutes earlier — now with even more flowing naturalness.Lim was courting comparison with himself after a concert spent courting comparison with the canon. Chopin’s complete études are only an hour of music, but that hour is one of the most difficult and storied in the piano repertoire, a daunting yet irresistible gantlet for musicians who model themselves after the old school.Even precociously old school. At 19, the same age as Chopin when the earliest of these pieces was written, Lim has already shown boldness in taking on standards. When, in June 2022, he became the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition’s youngest winner, his victory was secured with a wholly unafraid version of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto. The Cliburn and Steinway have since released a live recording of his electrifying semifinal round, playing Liszt’s “Transcendental Études.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Inside the Lunar New Year Galas Hosted by the New York Philharmonic and 88rising

    88rising’s Moonrise GalaOn Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the Lunar New Year celebrations continued as Hollywood’s Milk Studios was transformed for the inaugural Moonrise Gala by 88rising, the pan-Asian music collective and record label.Like 88rising, which helps Asian artists find mainstream success in the West, the event was focused on highlighting pioneering Asian performers, past and present.The night’s honorees spanned contemporary artists like the musicians Anderson .Paak, Jackson Wang and NIKI; the “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” director Destin Daniel Cretton; and influential figures like the ’90s dance-pop singer Jocelyn Enriquez and the Bay Area turntablist group Invisibl Skratch Piklz.“We’re just going to celebrate people that have really unique stories to tell,” Sean Miyashiro, 88rising’s founder, said. The collective also has plans to release music and videos with the night’s honorees, including Ms. Enriquez and Invisibl Skratch Piklz.Attendees entered through the venue’s arched red tunnel, dripping with fringe, into a space outfitted with dangling LED pendant lights.Before the ceremony, guests were offered small plates of Wagyu beef dishes including sliders, curry and kebabs. After brief remarks and performances from some of the honorees, they were each presented with a bespoke medal housed in an illuminated velvet-lined jewelry box designed by the New York jeweler Anna Kikue.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

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    Live Performance in New York: Here’s What to See This Spring

    “The Notebook” and “Cabaret” land on Broadway. Olivia Rodrigo’s tour stops in Manhattan. Plus: Herbie Hancock, Heartbeat Opera and Trisha Brown Dance Company.BroadwayTHE NOTEBOOK Nicholas Sparks’s 1996 novel (adapted for the screen in 2004) is now a sweeping musical tale of romantic idealism and the decades-long love between Allie and Noah. The Chicago Tribune gave a glowing review to the 2022 Chicago Shakespeare Theater premiere, and several performers from the Chicago cast, including Maryann Plunkett as Older Allie, will reprise their roles. The show features a book by Bekah Brunstetter (“This Is Us”) and music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson, with Michael Greif and Schele Williams directing. Now playing at the Schoenfeld Theater, Manhattan.THE WHO’S TOMMY The show, with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend who wrote the book with Des McAnuff, was on Broadway 30 years ago, but this new take, which had its premiere at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, is very heavy on visual spectacle (and, egad, how theatrical effects have changed in three decades!). Tommy is a traumatized child who witnesses violence and loses his ability to see, hear and speak. He plays mean pinball, though, and in the strange spectacle becomes something of a messiah. The leads, including Ali Louis Bourzgui (Tommy), Alison Luff (Mrs. Walker) and Adam Jacobs (Captain Walker), are revisiting the roles they played at the Goodman. Choreography is by Lorin Latarro (“Waitress”), and McAnuff directs. Performances begin March 8 at the Nederlander Theater, Manhattan.Louis Bourzgui in “The Who’s Tommy.”Liz LaurenLEMPICKA The life of the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka was not a screamingly obvious topic for a Broadway musical, but an impressive team has collaborated on this show. The Polish-born Lempicka (1898-1980), who was married, twice, to men, but had female lovers as well, lived through two world wars, surrounded by cultural and political change in Russia, Paris and California. Rachel Chavkin directs a cast led by Eden Espinosa as Lempicka, who returns to the role that wowed critics in productions at the Williamstown Theater Festival and La Jolla Playhouse. The show features music by Matt Gould and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer; they collaborated on the book. Performances begin March 19 at the Longacre Theater, Manhattan.SUFFS The hard-fought passage of the 19th amendment, which codified women’s right to vote in 1919, is the focus of this musical by Shaina Taub. In addition to the challenge of being book writer, lyricist and composer, Taub also stars as Alice Paul (1885-1977), a leader of the National Woman’s Party. She and a group of like-minded women, including Ida B. Wells (Nikki M. James) and Carrie Chapman Catt (Jenn Colella), battle the patriarchy and, at times, one another. Directed by Leigh Silverman. Performances begin March 26 at the Music Box Theater, Manhattan.HELL’S KITCHEN Alicia Keys makes her Broadway debut with this semi-autobiographical jukebox musical about a 17-year-old girl named Ali, raised in a small Manhattan apartment by her protective single mother alongside a community of artists. The show features music and lyrics by Keys, a mix of hits, including “Fallin’” and “Empire State of Mind,” and new songs. The show’s premiere last year at the Public Theater received decent, if not exceptional, reviews, but c’mon, this girl is on fire. The book is by Kristoffer Diaz and choreography by Camille A. Brown. Maleah Joi Moon, Shoshana Bean and Brandon Victor Dixon will reprise their roles. The busy Michael Greif (see also “The Notebook”) directs. Performances begin March 28 at the Shubert Theater, Manhattan.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More