Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Rosenkavalier, hot and cold
A sentimental education

June 30, 2015

My first chance to see Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss's evergreen sensation Der Rosenkavalier came in Zurich when I was 13. As an American lad transplanted to Switzerland, I had already been haunting the opera house with a passion for a good five years. Projected titles lay in some unimagined future. To attend an unfamiliar opera without boning up on the dialogue first would have struck me as the height of folly. And from the moment I laid eyes on the classy jade art-deco rose pattern on the libretto, I knew for a certainty that Der Rosenkavalier had to be something special.

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Marco Tutino's Two Women, in Puccini's footsteps
The Music Critics Association of North America take in a world premiere

June 26, 2015

For newsworthiness, it was the San Francisco Opera's world premiere of Marco Tutino's Two Women on Saturday, June 13, that had the critics most on their mettle. (The expanded press list that night ran to some 90 names.)

Over four decades, the company's general director David Gockley, formerly of Houston Grand Opera, has made an international name for himself by commissioning three-dozen-plus new works, including such durable entries as Nixon in China, by John Adams, and Little Women, by Mark Adamo. The coming season will be his last.

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Berlioz meets Virgil: Les Troyens in San Francisco
A very big night for the Music Critics Association of North America

June 24, 2015

The MCANA conferees' two remaining evenings were spent across the street with the San Francisco Opera at the War Memorial Opera House. On Friday, June 12, we witnessed the Virgilian epic Les Troyens of Berlioz, which dramatizes first the fall of Troy and then the romance in Carthage that nearly shipwrecks the survivors' divine mission to found a second Troy—Rome—in Italy.

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Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with bells and whistles
The Music Critics Association of North America descends on San Francisco

June 24, 2015

On Thursday, June 11, some 30 of MCANA's 80-plus dues-paying members—no bad turnout—converged on the San Francisco Symphony for the Missa Solemnis, Beethoven's perplexing mass for the concert hall, this time in a multimedia staging conceived and conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Above the stage, like some crusader's banner, hung a rough-edged video screen torn into quadrants, the gaps in between forming a rough cross, the outer edges in tatters. As the music unfolded, the soloists meandered around the stage, exchanging bewildered glances, reaching for each other's consoling hands. At the top of the "Gloria," a boys choir Beethoven does not call for spilled onstage in a surge of manic excitement. The video artists contributed lightning flashes that seared the eyeball, gauzy suites of humdrum religious imagery, and cascades of alphabet soup that once in a while resolved into bits of familiar Latin text.

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In memoriam Ronald Wilford
My luncheon with the Silver Fox

June 14, 2015

For the nearly three decades that I lived in Manhattan, beginning in 1983, access to the great and the good of the classical-music world (never mind the not-so-good) was seldom a challenge for me. First as editor for the performing arts at Connoisseur magazine and then as an independent contributor to a list of publications starting with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic Monthly, and Smithsonian, I was well placed to spread the word about their projects and passions.

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out


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