WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:23 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Two Leads, Two Deaths In 18 Hours

Kristine Opolais made her Madama Butterfly debut as Cio-Cio-San, only to get a last-minute call to play Mimi in La Boheme.
Marty Sohl Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 7:29 pm

Over the weekend, soprano Kristine Opolais sang her heart out — and died twice.

Friday evening she had sung the lead in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. It was her debut in that role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It was a big deal. Opolais was so excited about it that she stayed up until five the next morning.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
11:09 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Soul Of The World's Most Expensive Violin

Anne Akiko Meyers, with her recently acquired Guarneri violin, at NPR's Studio 1.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin that is older than the United States of America — 273 years old, to be exact. It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:44 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Joseph Calleja: Tiny Desk Concert

Joseph Calleja performed a Tiny Desk Concert November 26.
Abbey Oldham Abbey Oldham/NPR

Malta, the island nation 50 miles south of Sicily, may be small, but it's home to one of the biggest stars in opera, tenor Joseph Calleja. And like his country's name, which may originate in the Greek word for honey, Calleja's voice is a potent mix of Italianate passion and sweetness. Just listen to how he pulls the volume back to a slender golden ray of tone several times in Tosti's gorgeous "Ideale," and especially the word "disciogliea" in the Puccini aria that closes this performance.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
1:31 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return

Bud Powell pioneered bebop-style improvisation on the piano.
Metronome Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 2:14 pm

The great bebop pianist Bud Powell played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: Birdland 1953 on three CDs from ESP-Disk'. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
12:52 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

In The First Violins — At Least For One Night

Conductor Jeffrey Grogan led a motley — but very happy — assembly of professional, student and amateur musicians at the New Jersey Symphony's #OrchestraYou project in Newark, N.J. Saturday.
Fred Stucker Courtesy of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 8:24 pm

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:40 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Ambrose Akinmusire: 'Music Can Tell You What It Wants To Be'

Ambrose Akinmusire's latest album is the imagined savior is far easier to paint.
Autumn DeWilde Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 11:02 am

For a jazz trumpet player, you couldn't be more on top of the world than Ambrose Akinmusire. The 32-year-old is looking good on the cover of this month's DownBeat, and he's managed to please the jazz critics and connect with audiences.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
7:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

A Kid Named Carl Stirs Up The Bach Musical Dynasty

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, captured around 1733, in a portrait by one of his relatives, Gottlieb Friedrich Bach.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:31 am

When it comes to musical dynasties, it's tough to top the Bach family. From town fiddlers to court composers, the Bachs dominated German music for seven generations. Today, Johann Sebastian towers above all his relatives, but there's another important Bach we shouldn't forget — especially today, on the 300th anniversary of his birth.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
12:38 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Robert Ashley, Opera's Misunderstood Innovator, Dies At 83

Robert Ashley's operas for television redefined the genre.
Joanne Savio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:50 pm

Robert Ashley, a restlessly innovative American composer, died at his home in New York March 3 from complications of cirrhosis of the liver. NPR confirmed the composer's death through his wife and manager Mimi Johnson. Ashley was 83.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
8:03 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Music Takes Center Stage In Oscar-Nominated Documentaries

Egyptian singer-songwriter Ramy Essam, in the heady early days at Tahrir Square in 2011.
Mark LeVine Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 10:06 am

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:13 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

And The Oscar Goes To ... Mr. 'Star Wars' Or Arcade Fire?

William Butler of Arcade Fire: not the most typical contender for Best Original Score.
Jason Oxenham Getty Images

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