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    A ‘Simpsons’ Joke Comes True for Cypress Hill

    The famed California hip-hop group played with the London Symphony Orchestra — 28 years after “The Simpsons” dreamed up the collaboration.There is now an answer to at least one chicken-or-egg “Simpsons” prophesy: The episode did come first.But then, 28 years later, came the concert.“Simpsons” fans mixed with Cypress Hill fans on Wednesday at the Royal Albert Hall, a stately concert venue in the English capital, for a one-night-only collaboration between the London Symphony Orchestra and the American hip-hop group. Some were there for beats. Others had come to see a joke become a reality.“We came for the meme,” said Nick Brady, 30, who was with his brother. “We stayed for the music.”The evening had been foretold by a 1996 episode of “The Simpsons,” called “Homerpalooza,” in which Homer Simpson takes his family to a festival and then falls in with the stars.In the TV show, a festival employee arrives in a backstage area flanked by tuxedo-clad musicians. “Who is playing with the London Symphony Orchestra?” he calls out. “Somebody ordered the London Symphony Orchestra … possibly while high? Cypress Hill, I’m looking in your direction.”The hip-hop group huddles, whispering. Then, thinking fast, one says: “Uh, yeah, yeah, we think we did. Uh, do you know ‘Insane In The Brain’?”“We mostly know classical,” one orchestra member says, in a posh British accent. “But we could give it a shot.”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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    At 75, the Aldeburgh Festival Is Bigger Than Benjamin Britten

    When the composer Benjamin Britten died in 1976, it wasn’t clear how the public would remember him.There was Britten the rooted composer, firmly set in his native Suffolk, England, and the Aldeburgh Festival with his life partner, the tenor Peter Pears; Britten the establishment composer, friendly with the “Queen Mum,” the creator of “Gloriana” and the first composer to receive a peerage; and Britten the immediate composer, whose belief in art’s purposefulness meant he consciously avoided what he called writing for posterity.Others, however, were committed to the posterity of Britten’s work on his behalf. Rosamund Strode, a Britten assistant since 1964, became the founding archivist of the Britten Pears Foundation, and set the guidelines for one of the most comprehensive composer archives in existence.What, though, of his festival?The Aldeburgh Festival program from 1948.via Aldeburgh FestivalPeter Pears, left, and Britten.George Roger, via Aldeburgh Festival“Understandably, particularly after Britten’s death, and later after Pears’s death, there were people who wanted to properly protect what they felt were the sacred flames, because they were nervous of whether this thing was going to carry on after the two founders of this organization,” Roger Wright, the departing chief executive of Britten Pears Arts, said in an interview. Those people “needn’t have worried,” he added, “but there were bumpy times, and it’s very easy to forget that.”In the end, the Aldeburgh Festival, which recently celebrated its 75th edition, has produced many more editions without Britten than with him.The festival has gained a reputation for consistency, with well-attended, well-reviewed and richly programmed seasons. This year was no exception, including a new production of the church parable “Curlew River” alongside “Sumidigawa,” the Noh play that inspired it. (The show was filmed for a future BBC broadcast.)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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    Tanglewood Opens for the Summer, With Change in the Air

    The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its first concerts of the Tanglewood season, which is already showing signs of its new leader’s ambitions.Tanglewood, the lush summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, opened its season this past weekend, and it did so with one of the most Tanglewood programs imaginable.James Taylor was present to celebrate July 4, of course, and he was celebrating five decades of singing at the venue this year. On Friday night, the orchestra gave an evening of Beethoven under its music director, Andris Nelsons; on Sunday, Renée Fleming, no less, was on hand to cap a matinee of Strauss.In between, the Boston Pops offered a glorious review of recent Broadway musicals, with Victoria Clark bringing down the house as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s George III in “Hamilton.” Fellows attending the Tanglewood Music Center gave their first concerts, joining a lineage that stretches back to 1940.The crowds chattered amiably, the grounds were resplendent, and the music was good. What could feel more timeless than this?Sneaking through the shrubbery, however, was the light breeze of change. Chad Smith, the Boston Symphony’s ambitious new president and chief executive, plans to return this august institution to its most radical roots. Should Smith have his way, Tanglewood will see its creaking theater refurbished and put to good use, its Linde Center for Music and Learning pressed into service year-round, and Seranak, Serge Koussevitzky’s old home in the hills, restored as a meeting place for artists and the public.This will take years, and tens of million of dollars, but for now, even one of the coloring sheets that volunteers offer eager children has heard the message: a butterfly, yet to be filled in, with the tagline “A Summer Tradition Transformed.”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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    A Lost Masterpiece of Opera Returns, Kind Of

    The Aix Festival is presenting a new version of “Samson,” a never-performed work by Rameau and Voltaire, two of France’s most important cultural figures.Voltaire and Rameau looked so much alike, how could they not have ended up as collaborators? An 18th-century drawing shows them bowing to each other, mirror images of gangly bodies and jutting chins.Sealed by resemblance, the pairing of this pioneering philosopher and pioneering composer, two of Enlightenment France’s most important cultural figures, was exuberant — at least at first. “Don’t have children with Madame Rameau, have them with me,” Voltaire wrote to his partner, in a sly allusion to the works he wanted to create together.Their first opera, “Samson,” opened on Thursday in an intense and moving performance at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, set in the crumbling ruin of a once-grand hall. But this “Samson” is not the one Rameau and Voltaire wrote. The original score was lost some 250 years ago, so the Aix production — the work of the conductor Raphaël Pichon and the director Claus Guth — is a quiltlike assemblage drawn from other Rameau pieces, with a largely new text inspired by the biblical Samson story.Jarrett Ott as Samson and Jacquelyn Stucker as Dalila in “Samson,” set in the bombed-out ruin of a once-great hall.Monika RittershausThe crucial challenge of such a pastiche is making a sewn-together amalgam feel like an organically flowing work. “There are questions of connection,” Pichon said in an interview. “The tonal relationships between everything, the harmonic journey, the details of orchestration.”But performed with relish by Pygmalion, Pichon’s period-instrument orchestra and choir, this “Samson” retains the hypnotic continuity of Rameau’s complete operas, their steadiness and also their variety, veering from festive to soulful, from raucous dances to hushed, hovering arias and radiant choruses.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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    Why We Still Want to Hear the ‘Ode to Joy,’ 200 Years Later

    Beethoven’s aspirational vision of unity and peace can be applied to virtually any situation or place. The music makes sure of that.Even if you don’t know Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, you probably know its finale, the famous “Ode to Joy.”Written 200 years ago, the “Ode” is crafted like the best of pop songs, with easily hummable, simple phrases that use the same techniques you hear in a Taylor Swift hit today.But the “Ode” is more than pop. It’s a supranational anthem that aspires to a world in which “all men become brothers,” as its lyrics say. Its message, taken from a poem by Friedrich Schiller, is so broad and welcoming, so unspecific, that it has been taken up by an extraordinarily broad array of people and political causes.Since its premiere, the “Ode” has become shorthand for unity and hope, whether sincere or ironic. Sunny lyrics like “Be embraced, oh you millions!” and “Here’s a kiss for the entire world” have made it a fixture of the Olympics. It has been adopted by both oppressive regimes and the people who protest them. It sarcastically accompanies terror in “A Clockwork Orange” and “Die Hard,” but innocently entertains infants on “Baby Einstein” albums and in a sketch by the Muppets.Why does this song still have such a hold on the world?The answer starts with the music. Beethoven didn’t always write tuneful melodies, but he certainly knew how. He arranged popular songs, and composed memorable themes like the four-note opening of the Fifth Symphony. Nothing, though, is as brazenly catchy as the “Ode to Joy.”Beethoven designed it to be easily sung and hard to forget. It is in common time, with four beats per measure, and unfolds in neat, four-bar phrases. Often, there is one note for each syllable of text, and, crucially, the range is an octave, with the melodic line moving either up or down the scale. People with no musical training can learn this almost immediately, unlike with most national anthems. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” for example, has a wide range and awkward leaps that trip up even professional singers. More

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    4 Objects That Explain the History of Carnegie Hall

    A new podcast explores an array of items from the 133-year-old hall’s archive, like Ella Fitzgerald’s glasses and an opening-night ticket.Ella Fitzgerald’s glasses. Benny Goodman’s clarinet. A ticket from opening night in 1891. These items have long been a part of Carnegie Hall’s archive. But now they are getting a moment to shine on the new podcast “If This Hall Could Talk.”In eight episodes, the podcast — produced by Carnegie and the classical radio station WQXR — explores “the legendary and sometimes quirky history of the hall,” according to the show’s introduction. The Broadway performer Jessica Vosk is the host of the series, and archivists from the hall offer commentary.“Time moves so quickly,” said Gino Francesconi, Carnegie’s founding archivist, who is featured on the podcast. “These are little anchors to remind people who we are, what extraordinary things have happened here and what continues to happen.”The hall did not devote much effort to preserving its 133-year history until Francesconi was hired in 1986. The collection now includes more than 300,000 items related to more than 50,000 performances and events. The vast majority of pieces were donated, but archivists have also acquired some objects on eBay and other platforms. (One of the pricier acquisitions: a flier for Bob Dylan’s 1961 debut at Carnegie that the hall bought from a man in Sweden for $6,000.)“If This Hall Could Talk,” whose first season concludes next month, also explores social and political aspects of Carnegie’s history, including a 1910 convention on women’s suffrage there and a starry 1961 concert that paid tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.A wide variety of artists offer their reflections on the hall’s history in the podcast, including the jazz singer Samara Joy, the pianist Emanuel Ax, the bass-baritone Davóne Tines and the clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Paquito D’Rivera.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: ‘Robeson’ Illuminates a Titanic Artist and Activist

    Davóne Tines plays Paul Robeson in a solo show on Little Island that weaves together the words and music of this American hero to tell his story.“God gave me the voice that people want to hear,” Paul Robeson, the great African American singer, actor and activist, told the Black newspaper “The New York Age” in a 1949 interview.Aware of his powers and obliged by his influence, Robeson inserted himself into an incredibly fraught moment in American history. His powerful advocacy for the rights of Black and working-class Americans made him a hero, but his political leanings put him at odds with the prevailing anti-Communist forces in Congress, which eventually impeded his career. Robeson’s fame was global, however, and he had plenty of opportunities abroad — until his U.S. passport was revoked because he would not disavow membership in the Communist Party in writing. He landed before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1956, and although he was unafraid of being a lightning rod, he was wearied by it, too.Paul Robeson in a 1925 portrait. During the red-baiting years, his politics drew criticism that he was a Communist, and his income plummeted.Edward Gooch Collection/Getty ImagesRobeson joined a protest in favor of fair employment legislation outside the White House in 1950.Associated PressToday, the legacy of Robeson’s divine bass-baritone voice and its oratorial capaciousness has outlasted the political tarring and feathering. There is no contemporary analogue for Robeson, an artist in a classical medium who became a household name and leveraged his fame to drive a public conversation around peace and justice. (Yo-Yo Ma, the beloved cellist who created the multicultural Silk Road Project, arguably comes closest, but without the controversy.)Davóne Tines, a bass-baritone himself, pays tribute to that legacy in “Robeson,” a new one-man show at the Amph on Little Island that weaves together snippets of Robeson’s words with songs associated with him. On Friday night, the straightforward appeal of a popular-song recital collided with oblique, fractured references to Robeson’s life, cracking open a fictionalized glimpse into the emotional turmoil of a man who was seen as an impenetrable “titan,” as Tines put it. It was a vigorously played, at times frustrating show, carried aloft by Tines’s fiery assurance.Initially, the show’s structure seemed transparent enough. Tines’s renditions of songs like the labor anthem “Joe Hill,” which he delivered with confident smoothness, were interspersed with Robeson’s words from newspaper editorials, television interviews and onstage remarks. Dressed in a Carnegie Hall-ready tuxedo, Tines began with an admirable, if a bit woolly, vocal impersonation of the era-defining singer, emphasizing a deep well of sound.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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    What Happened When an Orchestra Said Goodbye to All-Male Concerts

    This season, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin experimented with programming works by female composers at every performance. Results were mixed.In 2021, Marlene Brüggen, a concert planner in Germany, was listening to an episode of the podcast “Herrengedeck” and heard about a pop music festival with gender parity woven into its programming. The next day, she looked at her own festival’s planning chart, with some 200 concerts. Women were seriously underrepresented.“We hadn’t paid attention to that at all,” Brüggen said in an interview. “It was as if the bandages had been taken off my eyes.”That year, Brüggen applied for a job as director of artistic planning with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. Her job interview included questions about the music she would program if hired. With her earlier epiphany in mind, she suggested the orchestra play more music by women. She got the job.Later, when she and the orchestra’s music director, Robin Ticciati, and its managing director, Thomas Schmidt-Ott, were discussing the 2023-24 season, they decided not just to include more female artists, but also to require every orchestra concert to feature at least one work written by a woman. In the fall, the orchestra plastered Berlin’s walls with posters that read “No concert without a female composer!”“The most fascinating or innovative thing about her idea wasn’t the fact of performing female composers,” Schmidt-Ott said in an interview. “It was doing it in every concert.”I went to nine performances during the season, between November and May, and heard 11 pieces by female composers. All the works were new to me, imbuing each concert with a sense of discovery unusual for an orchestra’s subscription series.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