How it’s done

I’m no journalism critic, but this morning’s Globe has a classical review by freelancer David Perkins that reads the way I wish all classical reviews read. The lede is particularly sparkling:

Brünnhilde made a guest appearance Friday night in the middle of J.S. Bach’s joyous Cantata No. 51 (“Jauchzet Gott!”), a piece usually sung by lyric sopranos of the Kathleen Battle mold. On the word “Alleluja,” a remarkable high C came out of the mouth of Barbara Quintiliani and, parting audience members’ hair on the way, blazed out of Faneuil Hall into the night sky.

That might have just made my day.


  1. “Lede” is journalism-ese for the first paragraph of a story. Good ledes give you all the details upfront cleanly and efficiently.Sometimes a reporter or paper will neglect to mention important facts or information until well into the story, long past the point where you’d skim to. This henious sin is known as “burying the lede.”

  2. San Fransico Opera, 1989 or 1990. Gwyneth Jones singing The Dyer’s Wife in <>Die Frau Ohne Schatten<>.She unleashed a B/Bb that was so loud, so on pitch, so all-enveloping that you could see everyone in the row I was in (in the orchestra seats) kind of lean back, like in those old Maxell tape ads.It’s still one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever experienced at a concert.

  3. I’ve never experienced it with a singer, but I do recall a Chicago Symphony Mahler 1 where I think Michael Tilson Thomas must have become the only conductor in the past 25 years to tell the entire brass section to play as loud as they could. They did a remodel on Orchestra Hall a couple seasons later. Coincidence?

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