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Reviews of Beethoven's Fidelio, Portland Opera

In Fidelio, strong conducting is a must, and Portland Opera was fortunate to have Arthur Fagen..... his tempos were quick, especially in the canon quartet; this is often a time-stops moment, but Fagen's fast, flowing tempo linked it to the singspiel world of the Marzelline–Jaquino numbers before and Rocco's gold aria after it.... an inspired, frenzied wave in the opera's final presto, his lighter, dancing touch was the next best thing and just as joyous.
Mark Mandel, Opera News Online, January 2009

"Fidelio" requires an authoritative orchestra to handle Beethoven's symphonic score, and under conductor Arthur Fagen, the players brought out the score's shadowy power and radiant exuberance.
David Stabler, The Oregonian, 11.10.2008

The careful articulation of the inner voices of this great score, given their full due by conductor Arthur Fagen...
Pat McElroy, www.allclassical.org ,  08.11.2008

Conductor Arthur Fagen worked the orchestra energetically and kept the pace of the opera brisk.
James Bash, www.Northwestreverb.com, 11.11.2008

UI Chamber Orchestra, Bloomington, Indiana: Haydn, Bizet, Penderecki

....an orchestra sounding extremely good in terms of intonation, resonance, and response, thanks to conductor Arthur Fagen, who is swiftly proving his worth as the newest member of the Jacobs School’s conducting faculty. His program held works of three centuries .... : a fairly early Haydn Symphony, the No. 30 in C Major .... Bizet Symphony in C ... and, between them, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra....The Haydn proved genial, bright, bubbly, an obvious light-hearted entertainment for audiences of its time..... And the listening was delightful what with an orchestra enunciating the music so clearly and with such buoyancy. So, too, there was much pleasure in hearing the Bizet: its lively imitation of Beethoven and Mozart in the first movement, its suggestion later on of the composer’s own voice as it would flower in “Carmen.” The violins sounded particularly lush. One was taken by the brio and charm of the orchestra’s reading. And though the orchestra also took care of its obligations in the Penderecki very well, the spotlight rightfully shone upon the viola soloist...
Peter Jacobi, www.heraldtimesonline.com, February 2009

Mr. Fagen in Bolzano
In Suedtirol Magazine, September 2008
Read the article ( in German)

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Season 2008/2009

On Wednesday evening, the IU Symphony took the stage in the MAC. It did so with splendid results, thanks to conductor Arthur Fagen [.....]. As an orchestral leader, he made an impressive first appearance, having selected a most demanding program and then training and inspiring his musicians to excel in its execution. He built toward a beautifully shaped reading of Tchaikovsky’s fervid and poignant Sixth Symphony, “Pathetique. [....... ] with its gorgeous melodies and a composer’s desire to express the human journey through life to death, his own very much included. The Sixth is, of course, a great symphony, a masterpiece. Fagen made sure his musicians treated it as such. The reading was high voltage, meaning, however, not only that the massive fortissimos were properly stupendous but that moments of melting sweetness and those of longing and despair also gained the utmost in eloquence of articulation. This was a fine performance.
 
Peter Jacobi, www.heraldtimesonline.com, October 2008
 
Prokofiev, Piano Concerto nr. 3
 
Es gilt für Pianisten und Orchester in diesem heiteren und brillanten Werk, den Witz und mitunter auch den Sarkasmus  im Tonfall herauszufiltern. Dies gelang […..]  dem von Arthur Fagen dirigierten Orchester vor allem im Andante-Variationssatz und im dreiteiligen Abschlusssatz ausgezeichnet.
F. delle Cave, Dolomiten, 09.09.2008
 
Britten, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Opéra de Nice
 
....le meilleur Oberon.....sostenu de la fosse par Arthur Fagen, parfait de poésie et d’humour, transcendant les musiciens niçois comme le choeur d’enfants, mutin à souhait.
Jean-Charles Hoffelé, Diapason
 
Belle entrée au repertoire de L’Opéra de Nice  [ …]  La direction musicale, confiée à Arthur Fagen, est de haute qualité, avec des solistes impeccables de bout en bout, mais sans atteindre à la magie.
François Jestin, Scenes Magazine
 
Le meilleur du compositeur britannique, on le trouve sans doute dans les pages orchestrales, celes évoquant la nuit et les songes, très bien servies par la formation réduite du Philharmonique de Nice, sous la direction attentive d’Arthur Fagen.
Alain Fantapié, Opéra Magazine

[ …] l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice sous la baguette du chef Arthur Fagen a su rendre toutes les nuances et restituer toutes les émotions, en particulier ce moment de toute beauté entre les deux premiers actes.
www.theoperacritic.com

Le spectacle du “Songe d’une nuit d’été », plein de modernisme et de poésie [ …] portée par le très bon chef d’orchestre américan Arthur Fagen.
Nice Matin, André Peyregne, 27.04.2008
www.nicematin.fr
 
Diario de Noticias, Navarra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Navarra, June 2008

De nuevo la gran velada musical preparada por la orquesta para el penúltimo concierto del ciclo, ha venido marcada por la extraordinaria versión de la cuarta sinfonía de Bruckner del director invitado Arthur Fagen. El maestro neoyorquino dirige con austeridad, de memoria, sin salirse demasiado de cuadrar el compás, y más preocupado de la buena lectura de la partitura que de exageraciones apoteósicas en los fuertes brucknerianos . Tiende a llevar tiempos como los maestros de antes: tempos asentados, sin prisas, dando holgura a los músicos; pero sin dejar que la cosa decaiga, sin remolonear, manteniendo la música en su tensión de contrastes.........El resultado es una versión clara, exultante, luminosa, muy bien organizada. Y, a la vez, recogida, pastosa, íntima en algunos momentos, y de muy bellas sonoridades... es que, en la lectura que Fagen hace de esta magna partitura, se transparenta la continua relación de alabanza a la grandiosidad de Dios, con la intimidad y sencillez de la súplica.

Diario de Navarra, Navarra, Orchestra Sinfonica di Navarra, June 2008

La versión de Bruckner fue interesante por su calidad sonora, como también la de la sinfonía 33 de Mozart, limpia, grácil y equilibrada. Pero lo mejor fue la concepción estructural de la "Romántica" que impuso Fagen -elegante, sobrio, ni un gesto de más-, grandiosa sin asomo de grandilocuencia ni desmelenamiento, dinámica y a la vez contenida, segura y compacta.
Fernando Pérez Ollo

Liszt, Franz: Hungarische Rhapsodien Nr. 1-6 (Orchesterbearbeitung)
Label: Naxos , VÖ: 01.10.2007
Die Staatskapelle wird auf der vorliegenden Einspielung von Arthur Fagen geleitet; ihm und den Musikern gelingt eine hörenswerte Interpretation, die durch transparenten und luftigen Klang, der jeglichen Schmalz und alles Fett des Feldes verweist, überzeugt. Und das alles, ohne unterkühlt oder nüchtern zu wirken; die Musik wird stets von einem lebendigen Puls vorwärts getragen. Das gilt nicht nur für die folkloristisch tänzerischen Stimmungen, sondern auch für die zum Teil längeren Passagen düsterer Färbung, die Trauermärsche und Begräbnisszenen vor dem inneren Auge entstehen lassen – diese Elemente werden ebenso herausgearbeitet wie ihre leichtgewichtigen Gegenbilder. Der Orchesterklang ist farbig und ausgewogen, die Holzbläser sind tonschön und mild, die Streicher fein, das Blech satt und, wo gefordert, deftig.
Kritik von Christian Vitalis, 16.03.2008
www.magazine.classic.com

February 2008

Mauro Franceschi wrote in L’Adige of Trento:
Il Maestro Arthur Fagen ha saputo dirigere in modo solenne e luminoso
[Adagio per Archi di Samuel Barber] Arthur Fagen ne ha proposto una versione solenne e luminosa al contempo, che ha trovato negli archi dell’orchestra dei validi interpreti.
Abbiamo ascoltato una musica di rara energia, positiva e a tratti gioiosa [ La Sinfonia n. 2 di Robert Schumann ] con una bella direzione e un’altrettanto vigorosa performance da parte degli orchestrali. Meritati i prolungati battimani indirizzati ad Arthur Fagen e all’orchestra.

Emanuele Zottino wrote in Corriere del Trentino of Trento:
Accardo-Fagen: La musica riempie il vuoto
[Adagio per Archi di Samuel Barber] Fagen e compagni articolano la poesia come fosse una preghiera ipnotica, un gioco a spirale che piano piano ci conduce al vortice, al punto di massima tensione.
[ La Sinfonia n. 2 di Robert Schumann ] …sicuramente l’esecuzione più riuscita della serata. Uno Schumann tutto calore ed estasi ….

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