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May 4, 2009

Stay tuned for reviews of action-packed weekend in Baltimore, D.C.

Detailed reviews from the weekend coming soon to this site:

1) Dynamic production of Britten's sly Albert Herring from Opera Vivente Friday night; one of the most cohesive and satisfying stagings I've seen from the company yet (mushy diction excepted).

2) Theatrically compelling, musically satisfying production of Wagner's Siegfried from Washington National Opera Saturday night, a milestone for the company and further affirmation of the power behind the 'American' Ring concept. So what if the bronchitis-stricken tenor in the title role could only mouth the words as he cavorted about the stage?

3) The BSO hit another of its peaks this season Sunday afternoon with an enriching performance of Bruckner's Third Symphony, led incisively by Mario Venzago. Nelson Freire's authoritative account of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, not to mention the sublime Gluck/Sgambati encore, added to the occasion.

4) Flutist Emmanuel Pahud, harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock and cellist Jonathan Manson brought refined musicality and lots of good, old-fashioned virtuosity to a mostly-Bach program Sunday evening at Shriver Hall. 

5) The Chamber Music by Candlelight series at Second Pres Sunday night included the premiere of an attractive Walt Whitman-inspired work by BSO percussionist Brian Prechtl and a sensitive account of Schumann's Piano Quartet (too bad about the screaming kid in the audience).

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:26 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

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