A Hell-Raising Mezzo-Soprano Cuts Through a Dreary First Week at the Metropolitan Opera

10.04.18
Conrad Tao
The New Yorker

From 2009 to 2017, under the enlightened leadership of Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic made considerable strides in modernizing its repertory. Jaap van Zweden, the stubby, spirited Dutch conductor, has now taken over as music director. Whether he will be an equally insistent champion of new and twentieth-century fare remains to be seen, but he threw himself energetically into the Fure, and was even more visibly engaged in Conrad Tao’s “Everything Must Go,” which appeared on the following week’s program. Tao is only twenty-four, and also has a flourishing career as a pianist. Van Zweden commissioned him to write a prelude to Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, which occupied the remainder of the concert. Tao supplied a flickering nebula of material from which Bruckner’s stately forms seamlessly emerge. This week, van Zweden presents the world première of Louis Andriessen’s “Agamemnon,” a variously propulsive and meditative evocation of the House of Atreus.
 
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