Category Archives: History

PARIS OPERA’S LA BOHEME: LOST IN SPACE

Thanks to Medici TV we were able to watch a live broadcast performance of Puccini’s La Boheme from the Opera Bastille in Paris. German stage director Claus Guth has buried Puccini’s story beneath at least three other plots and stories, none of which have anything to do with the Bohemians of Paris at the end […]

LADY BIRD: A TREE GROWS IN SACRAMENTO

The story was called the “best of the year” by the New York Times The author was hailed as a “fresh, original, finished talent” who tells a story about a young girl’s “coming of age”, “growing up and the beginning of wisdom,” “no unsavory detail” is omitted in a tale that has “light and air […]

RICHMOND BALLET’S NUTCRACKER: MAKING TRADITION EXCITING

The publicity for the Richmond Ballet’s Nutcracker quotes the New York Times: “one of the country’s most perfect”. I haven’t seen enough Nutcrackers to weigh in with any comparison, but I can safely say that Stoner Winslett and Charles Caldwell’s version accomplishes the seemingly impossible. Their Nutcracker looks very traditional, while simultaneously being thrillingly imaginative. […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST: IMPORTANT OPERA, WONDERFUL REJUVENATION

The occasion of the Virginia Opera’s production of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West offers the opportunity to discuss a man whose name was once almost synonymous with the American theater – David Belasco. Belasco (1854-1931) was born in San Francisco, educated by Jesuits, and on the stage from childhood. Author or adaptor of […]

DYLAN IN RICHMOND

Bob Dylan’s concert in Richmond took place at the Richmond Coliseum, an edifice best described by the famous line, “What. A. Dump!” Nevertheless, the ageless Mavis Staples opened the three hour show with a feisty backup band as she reviewed some of her greatest hits and introduced a few of her new songs from her […]

VIRGINIA ARTS FESTIVAL: YO-YO MA & KATHRYN STOTT – RECALLING EDEN

The power of beauty breaks incomprehensibly, unnaturally, and completely irrationally into this world and rules it, for beauty is regal and cannot fail to rule, and the whole world stretches out to beauty as to the light. It is our special recollection of Eden, of ourselves in our true condition.                               […]

Virginia Symphony: Bach to Reformation – Dinnerstein Dazzles

The occasion of the Virginia Symphony’s FROM THE MUSIC OF BACH TO THE REFORMATION SYMPHONY raises the subject of the overwhelming amount of Christian music associated with historic Protestantism. Why is that? The answer begins in the religious practices of the ancient Hebrew people. Jews, at the time of Jesus Christ, had a tradition of […]

Little Theatre of Norfolk’s ARSENIC AND OLD LACE: Classic Comedy

Question: Why is it called a “Little” Theatre? Answer: Because the first one, The Little Theatre of Chicago, had just 99 seats. A brief histoy lesson: At the turn of the twentieth century powerful monopolies and trusts controlled and regulated just about everything in America. Even theatrical production. Known as “The Syndicate,” a cabal of […]

VIRGINIA SYMPHONY: THE BEST OF WAGNER’S RING

The Virginia Symphony presented THE BEST OF WAGNER’S RING CYCLE, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, narrated by bass-baritone Jake Gardner. ” Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” from Das Rheingold, “Ride of the Valkyries” and “Wotan’s farewell & Magic Fire Music” from Die Walkure, “Forest Murmurs’ from Siegfried, and “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” and “Siegfried’s Death and […]

Metropolitan Opera’s MAGIC FLUTE: Saved by the Singing

During the Civil War, President Lincoln was criticized for attending the opera so often. He replied, “I must have a change, or I will die.” No opera that he saw was as different from everyday life, even wartime life, than Mozart’s MAGIC FLUTE. Mozart scholar, and a former director of the Glyndebourne Festival, Myer Fredman […]