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Performer: André de Ridder

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Closed doors, but a musically stunning Bluebeard's Castle

Joshua Bloom and Paula Murrihy excel in Irish National Opera's staging of Bartók's opera, although director Enda Walsh takes too many liberties with the libretto. 
****1
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Saariaho's fascinating phantasmagoria: Only the Sound Remains

Philippe Jaroussky stars in a new Kaija Saariaho—Peter Sellars collaboration: Only the Sound Remains. Not since Written on Skin has modern opera thrilled with such intensity.
*****
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The Last Hotel at the Edinburgh Festival

The World Premiere at the Edinburgh Festival of The Last Hotel:   a strange and haunting new chamber opera from post-minimilist composer Donnacha Dennehyna and acclaimed writer Enda Walsh with the Crash Ensemble generating exciting rhythmic pulsing energy in the pit. 
***11
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Late romanticism rises to a deafening climax in a small Cardiff hall

BBC National Orchestra of Wales's afternoon concert series brings unusual works to light, but the small auditorium can make some of the heavier late-romantic orchestration overwhelming – to the point of being overpowering.
***11
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A Homecoming and a Debut in Seattle

The violinist James Ehens brings his masterful Bartók back to Seattle in a program conducted by André de Ridder, who makes his Seattle Symphony debut.
****1
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Orpheus, again, at Komische Oper Berlin

Usually, I don’t find much to be excited about in opera stagings meant to overhaul the genre, to give it the resuscitation it apparently needs. They are always more promising on paper, always less effective in execution: I’ve seen all kinds of sexual permissiveness, giant machines, film projections, even singing robots (an especially low point).
****1
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