Deep Diving into Mascagni's Intermezzo
Among many conductors’ versions of this piece, it is Riccardo Muti’s that has always thrilled me with its variety of nuances, dynamism, tension, and clarity of rhythm. Recently, I have come across another rendition: by conductor Jason Tramm with the MidAtlantic Philharmonic Orchestra at Merkin Hall on February 22. In a concert focused on operatic arias by dramatic voices, I felt everything come to a standstill when Maestro Tramm conducted the Intermezzo. When he led the orchestra into that emblematic musical avalanche at minute 1:40 or thereabouts, the sweeping momentum that he and the orchestra created was so visceral that its intensity almost hurt somewhere in the depths of the solar plexus. This was an earthy interpretation that stretched emotions to an unbearable and addictive degree. Maestro Tramm uncovered a dimension of the Intermezzo that I had never perceived before....
Maestro Tramm’s interpretation does not take the easy way out, because, for him, it is not about playing a recognizable, crowd-pleasing number. His rendition of the Intermezzo runs deep and leaves you breathless, not so much because you get swept away by the music but because, in the stretching and deepening of phrases that he manages to achieve without dragging, he connects you to more profound meanings of this piece. The realization of those meanings is individual to each listener, and whether one knows the plot or not becomes irrelevant. The Intermezzo conducted by Jason Tramm will make you feel and long at a deep level, leaving you suspended, delighted, aching, and awed by the ungraspable and ravishing beauty of Mascagni’s music.
2/29/20, Maria-Cristina Nicula, Personal Blog
Review: Light Opera of New Jersey's Die Fledermaus
Light Opera of New Jersey celebrated 25 years as a company, presenting a dazzling production of Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus... The opera started off with great success with Conductor, Jason Tramm leading the orchestra with fervor and vigor, creating a high-energy performance with a robust sound that captivated the audience. In addition, his thoughtful and wide-ranging use of dynamics kept us engaged, from the light and delicate pizzicati of the strings to the beautiful, long-phrasing crescendos on the woodwinds.
Diane Amati, Opera Culture Magazine 2/27/20
Dramatic Voices and Opera Gems
Last night at Merkin Concert Hall we heard some large voices that cut right through the full sound of The MidAtlantic Philharmonic Orchestra, led with panache by Maestro Jason Tramm.
Voce di Meche, Meche Kroop 2/23/20
Strong Performances need not come in Large Packages
"On November 21, 2019, Seton Hall’s Classical Concert Series, along with the Charles and Joan Alberto Italian Studies Institute, presented a semi-staged concert performance of Puccini’s “La Bohème.” Focusing on the music and drama, the artists and orchestra, under the baton of Jason C. Tramm, delivered a humorous yet very heartfelt interpretation of the opera... This iteration of the Classical Concert Series more than proves that strong performances need not come in large packages."
Opera Wire, Logan Martell 11/24/19
Spectacular Handel's Messiah Lights up the Great Auditorium
It took almost as long to perform the Messiah (2 1/2 hours) as it did for Handel to write it (24 days.) But the large crowd present was enthralled, and the piece is so beautiful and well done, that the time was not an issue... Dr. Jason Tramm created a masterpiece... All the participants were brilliant including the soloists and the marvelous MidAtlantic Symphony Orchestra.
Blogfinger, Paul Goldfinger, 8/26/19
Mozart: An Evening with the Master
The Long Island Concert Orchestra (LICO) under Principal Guest Conductor Jason Tramm brought an all-Mozart program to the Good Shepherd Church near Lincoln Center. Though still a young group (founded in 2016), the orchestra is already faring well under the energizing baton of Mr. Tramm... The evening opened with a vibrant account of the ever-popular Overture to The Marriage of Figaro... The rousing style of Mr. Tramm set a tone of excitement, and though the LICO ensemble is not large, their sound was robust. They transmitted its driving energy and established its sense of imminent drama. The sizable audience applauded warmly.
NY Concert Review, Jeffrey Williams, 4/27/19
2018 Summer Stars Orchestral Finale
"This beautiful production was made complete by the acclaimed conductor, Jason C. Tramm... Maestro Tramm delivered a high energy performance to perfection and the audience responded jubilantly."
La Traviata (Verdi)
“Jason Tramm’s exciting, traditional conducting, plus the strong singing from the principals made me remember why I fell in love with opera to begin with. Jason’s performance was filled with Italianate passion.”
The Huffington Post, Melody Breyer Grell, 8/31/17
“The Daytona Beach Symphony Society presented a world-class production of Bizet’s Carmen, which won admiration Friday evening at the Peabody Auditorium. Teatro Lirico D’Europa’s Carmen came alive with a vibrant 40-piece orchestra and Maestro Jason Tramm in the pit. Soloists were excellent and the opera was vivid and exciting.”
The Daytona Beach Times, 2/23/17
Les Contes d'Hoffman (Offenbach)
"Much of the credit goes to Conductor Jason C. Tramm and his magic baton, bringing out aspects of the orchestration that we never noticed before. We would be surprised if he did not conduct many rarely performed scores in the future. Here we heard this great score anew and with great freshness."
Voce di Meche, 5/31/15
“Dido and Aeneas” Jason Tramm’s efforts to get opera on stages all over New Jersey have been tireless. This past weekend, the former artistic director of New Jersey State Opera — with whom he presented shows in Newark and Clifton — offered his first staged theatrical work with his new company, MidAtlantic Opera. Primarily known for his work as a conductor, Tramm also took on the role of stage director here... Tramm culled an expressive performance from the small baroque orchestra. He also effectively embraced the baroque style… Such initiatives are wonderful efforts at supporting the future performers and fans of the art form.
The Star Ledger, Ronni Reich, 5/7/14
Verdiana The summer went by in New Jersey without much by way of opera, but Jason Tramm has not given up as an advocate of the art form. Billed as the launch of the MidAtlantic Opera, "Verdiana" was a concert retrospective of works from Verdi’s operas that showcased Tramm’s affinity for the composer’s richly dramatic, intense style and featured striking performance…. Tramm’s conducting of the tumultuous "Nabucco" overture received a hot-blooded performance.
… Tramm is maximizing his resources, and his expressive enthusiasm and the quality of the standouts are enough to make his venture worth following.”
The Star Ledger, Ronni Reich, 9/24/13
The Creation “It was refreshing to hear the animated quality of the Great Auditorium Choir singing Haydn’s “Creation” oratorio at Ocean Grove’s Annual Sacred Masterwork concert at the Great Auditorium on Sunday… Led by director of music ministries Jason C. Tramm, the NJ State Opera Orchestra and the choir offered several vivid scenes of Haydn’s setting of texts from Genesis and Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”… with its access to both the nature and the spirituality depicted in the music, the vast and relatively casual space made for a compelling setting… the choir’s unflagging energy and infectious investment in the work helped to capture the magnitude of “The Creation.”
The Star Ledger, Ronni Reich, 8/31/10
Porgy and Bess “After four years of limited activity and rebuilding… the New Jersey State Opera roared back to mainstage activity with a magnificent realization of Porgy and Bess that deserved the thunderous standing ovation it won on May 23… we heard the NJ State Opera Orchestra in a well-coordinated and sweeping reading under artistic director Jason C. Tramm… Central to the sense of grandeur was the wonderful choral work. Ensemble was tight; dynamics and tone were excellent… The opera contained a tremendous feeling of a unified ensemble.”
Opera News, David Shengold, 6/2010
“Versatility is clearly a strong suit for conductor Jason Tramm. The Berkeley Heights resident performs a wide range of classical, Romantic and contemporary works as music director of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, the New Jersey State Opera, and Coro Lirico, a choral group specializing in concert opera performances. Somewhere in there, he also finds time to direct the Summit Music Festival.”
Star Ledger, “Jason Tramm Translates Masterworks of Music” Ronni Reich, 8/26/09
“New Jersey doesn't have a state music director, but it would seem that Jason Tramm is out to create the position, with the 34-year-old conductor putting a lot of miles on his car as he leads opera, choral and orchestral concerts from Morris County to Ocean Grove.”
Star Ledger, “Man About Music Travels the State” Bradley Bamberger, 5/8/09
"This afternoon of overtures and arias was a classy affair, with the lineup including some strong, internationally busy singers. The performances were as pleasurable as the sea breeze blowing through the hall... The talented Tramm continues to impress."
NJ Star Ledger, "Reinvigorated State Opera Stages Oceanside Concert" 9/15/08
“Verdi's Requiem" “Jason Tramm and Coro Lirico in Top Form. Jason Tramm’s leadership and conducting of the Verdi Requiem shared many of the same qualities that made Alfredo Silipigni such an admired rarity. Mr. Tramm’s overall handling of the chorus and orchestra’s line and phrasing was exemplary...He projected a firmly committed and fully evolved persona, sculpting beautiful architectural lines that crested and swelled within a dramatic framework of suppleness and driven energy...Mr. Tramm also drew every emotional facet out of this complex score, and one was duly impressed not only by his chorus but also by the balance and shapeliness he extracted from the orchestra- superb music making that was totally gratifying to the heart and ear.”
Classical New Jersey Society Website, John Hammel, 5/4/07
“The Grandeur of Opera” “When Coro Lirico sang, the audience was fully captured by the fullness of sound, by the expanse of expressivity, and the emotional lift a great chorus lends to an operatic scene...Tramm supplied many moments of subdued power in the performance…All three were powerful evocations of grandeur. In short, Mr. Tramm and Coro Lirico gave a first-rate performance.”
The Classical New Jersey Society, Paul Somers, 5/4/07
"Carmina Burana" “All High Notes in Summit” (title) “The most striking thing about Friday’s performance was the quality of the musicianship... Tramm’s vigorous tempos propelled the score along...and elicited much rhythmic snap from all of the musicians.”
The Star Ledger, Bradley Bamberger, 7/31/06
"Idomeneo" “In the past we have seen Jason Tramm produce well-rehearsed and quite glorious choral sound with several choruses. But with Coro Lirico’s performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo, he has added a fine level of orchestral control to his palette. This is no mere choral conductor cluelessly leading instrumentalists who knew better than to look at the podium for any help. Mr. Tramm clearly knew his way around an orchestra and eschewed the often mushy hand movements of the choral director in favor of crisp, clear beats and definitive cues.”
The Classical New Jersey Society, Paul Somers, 4/7/06,
Il Trovatore “There were some impressive improvements, namely a refreshingly vivacious and well-drilled chorus prepped by new Chorus Master Jason Tramm...The company’s newly reconstituted chorus offered a vigorous and satisfying version (of the Anvil Chorus), and the nun’s chorus from Act II, delivered by a superb women’s chorus, conducted by Mr. Tramm in the pit, was tender and luminous.”
The Star Ledger, Willa Conrad, 6/13/05
“The choral singing was notably clean and well-prepared. “The efforts of this fine chorus were carried off with excellent intonation and aplomb. Kudos especially for a powerfully rendered “Anvil Chorus” and the spun quality of the women’s voices in the Act II nun’s chorus.
Opera News, Reviewed by David Shengold , 6/2005