Monday, October 6, 2008

Manahan does moderns

George Manahan, an "affable and excellent music director," guides audiences through the modernism of Debussy, Stravinsky, Britten, Varèse, Messiaen, Steve Reich and Lukas Foss. Remember when Manahan was doing this with the Richmond Symphony? Now he's taking the same kind of show through the five boroughs with the New York City Opera while the company is exiled from its home theater:

The viability of plans by City Opera's new director, Gerard Mortier, to transform the company into a showcase for modern operas next season could well hinge on Manahan's concert presentations this season. Modernism couldn't ask for a more persuasive advocate.

Anthony Tommasini's review in The New York Times, to which I've linked above, doesn't say whether Manahan has access to a piano in these concerts. I hope so. Watching and hearing him dig into the innards of a complex score at the keyboard is a remarkable experience.