Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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All but the Hiddleston Hamlet
Letters and links from Europe

November 12, 2017

On a recent visit to old haunts in Europe, I felt motivated as I seldom do these days to document various theatrical and musical events. In addition to reports I have posted on this site, several others have appeared elsewhere. If you're curious, please follow the links below.

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In the wings with Philippe Jordan
A rare quiet moment with the music director of the Opéra National de Paris

November 10, 2017

As followers of my recent posts will have guessed, the work of the Swiss conductor Philippe Jordan strikes me as well worth thinking about. We first met in 2007 to explore the prospect of a profile for the American market. Thus began a conversation that has continued intermittently over the years.

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Philippe Jordan revives Pelléas and Così
Repertory performances at the Opéra

November 8, 2017

A music director's work is never done. While rehearsing the new production of Verdi's mammoth Don Carlos at the Opéra de Paris by day, Philippe Jordan was also conducting a pair of repertory revivals by night: Debussy's elusive Pelléas et Mélisande and Mozart's Così fan tutte, which is elusive, too. The Debussy was known to me from a video taped in March 2012. (I reviewed it for Opera News the following year.) The vintage Robert Wilson staging, dating back to 1997, held up exceptionally well, I thought. But to me, the most distinctive feature was Jordan's way with the score, balancing a rare fluency in the vocal lines with an analytical yet electric quality in the instrumental writing.

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Lost and found at the Paris Opéra
A pearl at the Bastille, a treasure chest at the Palais Garner

October 31, 2017

Other than the apartment of the friend who put me up and put up with for a week-plus in Paris early this month, the places where I spent most of my time were the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille, the two homes of the Opéra de Paris. In a future post, there will be more to say on Mozart's Così fan tutte and Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande­, both led by the company's music director Philippe Jordan. Today, we turn our attention to a new production of Verdi's Don Carlos, a repertory performance of George Balanchine's full-length ballet Jewels, and the serendipity of finding them, as an astronomer might say, in conjunction.

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Don Carlos: Verdi à la française
A rare staging by the Opéra de Paris revives the work's longer original French version.

October 16, 2017  •  Wall Street Journal (October 14, 2005)


Hard fact is to drama as grit is to the pearl. Historians paint Don Carlos, the short-lived heir apparent to Philip II of Spain, as a twisted monster of depravity, a torturer of women and of animals and a dabbler in insurrection who died miserably in solitary confinement at age 23. More usefully for the purposes of romantic fictions, Carlos was briefly betrothed to Elisabeth de Valois, whom Philip, newly widowed, then took for himself instead.

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out

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