There’s plenty of drama to spare when it comes to the world of opera. Occasionally, filmmakers have been directly inspired by the songbooks of classical composers, while others have looked to the performances and thundering music to create symbolic, contemporary interpretations. Opera is rich, profound source material. The opulent costumes and staging, the history, and the emotional stories are ripe for cinematic adaptations. We’ve collected a few of our favorites for your perusal in celebration of the 109th anniversary of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and the Blu-ray release of Don Giovanni. See what a behind-the-scenes documentary, a Werner Herzog epic, and other retellings of opera’s theatrical tales have to offer after the jump. … Read More
Think back to the first time you heard the overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Were you just a kid watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in a dark cinema? Similarly, thanks to V for Vendetta, we can’t hear Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture without picturing a revolution, or Ravel’s Boléro without thinking about Bo Derek “making love” to Dudley Moore. It’s hard to list all the pieces of classical music used in soundtracks that are now inextricably associated with specific events and moods, but here are some of the most ubiquitous of the bunch. … Read More
We’re not sure where the ridiculous stereotype that classical musicians are uptight came from, but thankfully folks like Denmark-based cellist and photographer Nikolaj Lund — who we spotted on Colossal — are proving those people wrong. The award-winning artist enjoys pointing the camera at those in his sphere. Lund’s images depict classical musicians in unique ways, leaving the concert hall behind, opting to shoot his subjects with their instruments in water, across the desert, and flying through the air. There’s a feverish energy in each photograph, creating a new appreciation for the passion these musicians —including Lund — clearly have for their art. Below, we’ve shared a gallery of the Lund’s stunning photos. We hope you enjoy them as much as we… Read More
Gone are the days when a taste for classical music had to be backed by a six-figure salary, an old-money social circle, and season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera House. Today’s culture vultures consume widely, albeit not indiscriminately, and while you might not put Beethoven at the top of your pump-up mix, we know you’ve all grooved out to Hungarian Dance No. 5 and wish you played the cello every now and then. With indie idols like Radiohead and Sufjan Stevens playing shows accompanied by orchestras, genres have never been more permeable; but the classical-light instrumentals that cameo in the pop tracks we love are only palate teasers. If you like what you’ve heard so far and want to explore where it all came from, enjoy our four-course primer on classical music, after the jump. … Read More
For those of us who have been lazily, unsuccessfully looking for a way into contemporary classical music, NPR offers a rare enticement: They polled their listeners about their favorite composers under 40 and have culled a top 100 from over 800 suggestions. The resulting list is a fascinating one, with more traditional musicians sharing space with indie innovators including Jónsi, Dan Deacon, Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife, Joanna Newsom, and Andrew Bird. Considering that just about all of history’s best-known composers are male, we were excited to see how many women made the list. And while we love Andersson and Newsom, we thought we’d take this opportunity to explore a handful of young, female composers that we — and our readers — didn’t know quite as well. Ten of our favorites are after the jump. … Read More
Since Culture Monster already made the Clockwork Orange connection that occurred to us the moment we saw the headline “Classical music still effective at dispersing loitering teens,” we’ll give you the news straight: It looks like teenagers are as repulsed by old-people music as their elders are by hip hop and whatever Ke$ha… Read More
About a month back, we posted the first page of Pictures at an Exhibition, by Sara Houghteling, a history lesson in the form of a novel. Houghteling drew inspiration from the autobiography of Rose Valland, who played an instrumental role in the protection and recovery of some of France’s great works of art when Nazis plundered the museums and galleries of Paris in World War II. After the jump, Houghteling talks with us about her research, and the true stories from which her fiction is constructed. … Read More
That classical music’s audience is old is a given, but industry insiders call insinuations that the genre is dying off alarmist. Ok. But you have to admit, they’re certainly not getting any younger.
The National Endowment for the Art says that in 1982 the average age of those attending a classical music performance was 40. A decade later it was 49. So no, we’re not talking about ROBIN WILLIAMS in JACK. It’s just clear that few, if any, new classical music fans are being added to the age pool.
How do we anti-age audiences? That’s one of the questions FLAVORWIRE asked famed conductor CARLO PONTI, whose debut album MOUSSORGSKY – PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION — recorded with the RUSSIAN NATIONAL ORCHESTRA is out on December 2nd. His mom is timeless screen beauty SOPHIA LOREN, so we thought the man might have a secret elixir up his sleeve. Instead he gave us homeless people.
Check it out after the jump. … Read More
Their thesis: this next generation of talent blends a classical sound with Gen X-friendly pop and African rhythms creating a hybrid version of music that might make a genre that many finding alienating suddenly relevant to a wider, younger audience — like when a popular indie rock band decides to play with the Brooklyn Philharmonic.
Or maybe classical music appreciation will simply die off with the olds. Ok, not really, but that’s the concept we pitched to Ligeti. His response to our crazy talk after the jump. … Read More