Sanford Sylvan

Latest Articles


Ye gods!

Much beautiful music turns up in the 18th-century operatic form that’s probably most alien to a modern audience.
BLO’s Idomeneo, BU’s Susannah, Garfein’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Zander’s Stravinsky, and Pollini’s Chopin
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  April 30, 2010

Bach beat

Composers John Harbison and Peter Lieberson are big presences this spring.
Lions and lambs
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 12, 2010


"I can no longer stand to let this travesty continue," sings a character in Madame White Snake , the new opera based on an ancient Chinese legend co-commissioned by Opera Boston, which has just presented its world premiere. I'm afraid I shared the senti
Opera Boston presents the world premiere of Madame White Snake; plus the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Boston Philharmonic
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  March 05, 2010

Year in Classical: Celebrate!

In Handel's Hercules, the demented Dejanira's loss is still so painful, I was afraid to listen; now I don't want to hear anything else.
Comings and goings
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 22, 2008

What’s in a phrase?

There are lots of references to heaven in Bach’s Passions and cantatas, but one of his most heavenly pieces has no words at all.
The Cantata Singers’ season finale; Leon Fleisher and the Emerson String Quartet
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 22, 2007

In extremis

In Handel’s Ariodante we move from the sunlit first act into a world of moonlight, darkness, deception, and emotional blindness.
Handel's Ariodante and Lang Lang
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 30, 2007



The year 2007 didn’t begin on the highest note.
The BSO, the Cantata Singers, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Celebrity Series
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  January 23, 2007

Erwartung . . .

BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA music director James Levine will be back in February to continue his survey of Beethoven and Schoenberg with Metropolitan Opera diva Deborah Voigt in Beethoven’s “Ah! perfido” and Schoenberg’s Erwartung (“Awaiting”), along w
Classical goodies for 2007
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  December 28, 2006


Seventy-four years after Schoenberg composed (but never finished) Moses und Aron , this towering 20th-century masterwork got its first Boston Symphony Orchestra performance.
The BSO’s Moses und Aron  and Emmanuel Music’s Orlando
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  October 31, 2006

From Knoxville to Swan Lake and back

As our most prestigious classical-music institution, the Boston Symphony Orchestra ought to be every year’s headliner, and once again, under the adventuresome direction of James Levine, it is.
A chock-full season of classical music
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  September 13, 2006

The eyes of Osiris

Jules Massenet composed two operas about the relationship between a beautiful voluptuary and a man of the cloth, both of which take us from the high life of a cosmopolitan sin city to a desert where the heroine dies.
Boston Lyric Opera’s Thaïs, Emmanuel Music’s The Magic Flute
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  May 02, 2006


Schizo scherzo

In the best performances, Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, sometimes called his Tragic , can sound like his greatest.
Haitink’s Mahler, Ligeti études, Britten’s Dream , Donizetti’s Lucia
By LLOYD SCHWARTZ  |  February 09, 2006