Stravinskian Strawman.

“Former Boston Ballet principal dancer Yury Yanowsky, last seen with BLO as the condemned man in Philip Glass’s “In the Penal Colony” last season, slicked down his hair and donned a baggy beige suit and spectacles to represent Stravinsky himself. The character provided some moments of physical comedy, such as when tenor Ben Bliss as Tom stood in a kiddie pool in a thunderstorm and Yanowsky hurried to hold an umbrella over the hero’s head. However, the scene in which Tom loses all his fortune and possessions (“Ruin! Disaster! Shame!”) was transformed into a tour of Stravinsky’s supposed internal torment. The chorus, wearing short white wigs and beaked Venetian plague-doctor masks, held up tabloid newspaper front pages with headlines such as “Sell Out!” and “Stravinsky: Finished?” — needlessly diverting attention from the main arc of the drama. Most telling, the Stravinsky character was nowhere to be found during the most affecting scenes.”

For the Boston Globe. March 14, 2017.

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Concert review: March 26, New York Philharmonic

Toward the end of the penultimate movement of the New York Philharmonic’s world premiere performance of John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 at Lincoln Center, violinist Leila Josefowicz stood silent at the front of the stage. She bent slightly forward, clutching her instrument by her side. The strings rustled menacingly, encroaching and retreating again with conductor Alan Gilbert’s gestures, before the full force of the orchestra blasted her and all of Avery Fisher Hall with a condemning, sneering chord. Josefowicz slowly tilted her head back, eyes closed, as blows of horns, percussion, and cimbalom rained down. When she did raise her violin to play again, her notes were muted, gagged but refusing to be silent.

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