About that footbridge to Music Hall


IMG_8653There are a lot of misconceptions in the online posts I’ve read about the Music Hall bridge that the city now says it will demolish and rebuild over Central Parkway. The elephant in the room that people are missing: There is no easy and safe pathway to the front door of Music Hall on Elm Street if you park behind the building, in the Town Center Garage on Central Parkway.

If the city-owned bridge, which leads from Town Center Garage to Music Hall, is rebuilt, the renovation team is pledging to construct a passageway into Music Hall from the Ballroom entrance on the second level — the new back door.

Here’s yesterday’s story.

Somehow amid expenditures of at least $135 million, planners decided not to provide a rear entrance to Music Hall. This intentional omission adversely affects many of the organizations that make Music Hall their home. People have been deciding not to renew subscriptions or to attend fewer concerts because of inconvenience and pedestrian safety. Continue reading

My last list … for now … of the best of 2016

636184558582936207-052816-May-Fest-08-1-.jpgIt seems that the end of a year always results in lists — looking back and looking ahead. And invariably, my list is different from your list. There were so many other great performances that I could have added here — the Polish Festival at CCM, the Ariel Quartet, the great jazz heard every week in our community, and the high-energy shows by John Morris Russell and the Cincinnati Pops… not to mention the entire opening season this fall at the CSO, with Emanuel Ax, Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang, Gil Shaham and Branford Marsalis!

I loved it all. But here’s my column, in case you missed it, for better or worse. At the list’s end, I look back at two of the big stories in the arts that I covered, and look forward to the opening of Music Hall next October.

Continue reading

Critic’s notebook: The chapter of the gods concludes

Here’s one of the performances I’ve been lucky to catch this fall in Cincinnati.

Soprano Mithra Mastropierro was superb as Brunnhilde
Soprano Mithra Mastropierro was superb as Brunnhilde

Last month, Queen City Chamber Opera mounted the final installment, Act III, of Wagner’s opera “Siegfried,” at the Dunham Performing Arts Center on the West Side. The performance, which was well attended on a bright Sunday afternoon, marked the first complete performance of “Siegfried” in Ohio in a century. (It was in collaboration with the Wagner Society of Cincinnati.)

(The first two acts were performed in the previous two years. It’s a rather epic way to perform a Ring Cycle… )

What is so remarkable about the efforts of the company’s founding music director Isaac Selya is the quality that he has been able to achieve on a shoestring. His orchestra — complete with five extraordinary horn players, harp and timpani — filled nearly half of the auditorium floor. Continue reading

My 10 picks to see this Fall at CCM

The arts and e-media school — College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati — offers an embarrassment of riches (the most performances in the state, I’m told) and much of it is free. The season starts Aug. 29. See the whole digital calendar here. (My list is just the tip of the iceberg.) For ticketed events, call the CCM Box Office at 513-556-4183.

Here are 10 picks that you won’t regret. Continue reading

It’s almost Fall — Matinee Musicale turns 104

I can’t believe the fall season is upon us. I am getting season lineups daily in my inbox, and I’m going to try to post many of them on this blog.

First up is the 104th season of the venerable Matinee Musicale, which has launched the Cincinnati debuts of hundreds of major artists. Mark your calendars:

Sept. 18: Cellist Amit Peled performs a Tribute to Casals. The Israeli musician will perform two recitals on his historic Gofriller cello (1733) that once belonged to the eminent Pablo Casals, loaned to him by Casals’ widow Marta.  His program features music the legendary cellist frequently performed in recitals. Sunday, Sept. 18, 3 p.m., at Anderson Town Center (7850 Five Mile Road, Cincinnati 45230),

On Monday, Sept. 19, the personable Peled will offer a lecture/recital, “Journey with My Jewishness,” discussing his personal, musical and spiritual evolution. His program will include traditional numbers as well as Max Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei,” Mark Kopytman’s “Kaddish” and Ernest Bloch’s three scenes “From Jewish Life.”  Sept. 19,  7:30 p.m., a program presented jointly with the Isaac M. Wise Center (8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati 45236),  Continue reading

Nadine Sierra delivers a radiant recital

Soprano Nadine Sierra made her Cincinnati debut at Matinee Musicale. Bryan Wagorn at the piano.
Soprano Nadine Sierra made her Cincinnati debut in recital at Matinee Musicale. Bryan Wagorn at the piano. Photo by Gayna Bassin.

Soprano Nadine Sierra had won the hearts of everyone in the room even before she sang her encores in Sunday’s recital for Cincinnati’s Matinée Musicale.  Then she gave such a ravishing account of Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro,” that no one in the audience dared to breathe.

How lucky that Matinee Musicale, Cincinnati’s distinguished, 103-year-old daytime music series, was able to book Sierra, a stunning singer who seems poised on the brink of a major career. The 27-year-old made her Metropolitan Opera debut this year as Gilda in “Rigoletto.” Perhaps it’s no surprise to learn that she was the youngest ever to win the grand finals of both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Marilyn Horne Competition.

So there was great anticipation for her recital, which she performed with an accomplished pianist Bryan Wagorn, who is an assistant conductor to James Levine at the Met, in the radiant surroundings of the Westwood First Presbyterian Church. Continue reading

Music Hall in the news

Lobby chandeliers will be taken out and replaced with more streamlined “torchiere” lights

Music Hall will close in less than two months, and we’ve been writing a number of updates about the plans. Finally, the Enquirer has a page that is dedicated to renovation stories. Watch for a call for your own Music Hall Memories soon!

Here’s the link. You can also go to cincinnati.com and put Music Hall Renovation in the search box.

Of course, Music Hall is home to the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, May Festival, and  when the rehab is done, Cincinnati Ballet. Continue reading