Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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In the wings with Michael Fabiano, tenor
Don Carlo on the couch

July 28, 2016

At the San Francisco Opera on June 18, midway into his first run in the title role of Verdi's Don Carlo, Michael Fabiano tugged the heart strings with his plangent tone, sculpted phrasing, and bursts of intensity that at times turned scary. What was more, the rising tenor phenomenon wore his period finery like an El Greco courtier and prowled the stage with a panther's grace. Did he square the circle of his inherently fractured role? Has anyone? My guess is that in time, Fabiano will join the handful of artists who have come closest.

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David Gockley Calls It a Day
Notes on an outstanding impresario's last season

July 28, 2016

I couldn't say whether he collected a gold watch last month, but after 33 years as general manager of the Houston Grand Opera and ten more at the San Francisco Opera, with an astonishing 45 commissions to his credit, David Gockley certainly had one coming. Having sized him up 15 years ago for the New York Times, I'll spare myself (and you) a recap now, except to say that in the face of steadily escalating fiscal and cultural challenges, David fought the good fight to the last. Art was paramount, but he pitched a big tent, and he balanced the books. His final triad of productions, seen in rotation in June, typified his nose for the newsworthy, his eye for a bargain, and his taste for adventurous casting.

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Orliński twice over

March 29, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Oops. First mailing of today's piece on the young Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński was a) woefully truncated, and b) lacking links. Hence the second mailing, which I hope you'll enjoy. Apologies for the glitch and any inconvenience.

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In the wings with Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor
A diva in spite of himself?

March 28, 2016

Keeping Jakub Józef Orliński under wraps is not easy. He had yet to complete his studies at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw when Theater Aachen, across the German border, tapped him for the bravura part of the amorous knight errant Ruggiero in Handel's Alcina. That was two years ago. For a hint of what happened next, check YouTube for the teaser, dominated by the budding countertenor's plumed, half-dressed rock-star likeness, monopolized by the sound of his amber countertenor.

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In memoriam Nikolaus Harnoncourt (December 6, 1929-March 5, 2016)
Sound, thought, emotion, and meaning through the centuries

March 7, 2016

Early music loomed large in the career of the cellist and maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt, but to call him a specialist (as many did) was wide of the mark. In truth, he was a generalist who approached every piece of music as brand-new. While other scholars of his vintage fetishized antique sound for its own sake, Harnoncourt wanted to know how the characteristics of an instrument--its distinctive timbre, the materials it was made of, its mechanics--might illuminate the deepest meanings of a specific piece of music. His interpretive choices often caught me off-guard, which bothered me for a while. But then it dawned on me that he was challenging listeners to engage with more burning matters than mere aesthetic preference. Following where Harnoncourt led was always an adventure.

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out

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