Category Archives: History

THE MET’S LA BOHEME: DEATH COMES TO NEVERLAND

A band of lost boys, living high above the twentieth century’s urban world, who won’t grow up, led by a free spirit unable to trust the love of the girl who loves him totally. J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan? Think again. Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme. Imagine Peter cradling a dying Wendy in his arms and you […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S DREAM: THE MYSTICISM OF HAPPINESS

The great British essayist G. K. Chesterton considered Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to be a masterful presentation of “the mysticism of happiness.” He went on to explain: “That is to say, it is the conception that when a man lives upon a borderland he may find himself in the spiritual or supernatural atmosphere, not […]

The Met’s ELIXIR OF LOVE: Wine, Women and Song

I first heard about elixirs of love in 1959 when, through my transistor radio, I heard Jed Lieber’s words about that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth She’s got a pad on Thirty-Fourth and Vine Sellin’ little bottles of Love Potion Number Nine But the idea of a potent which causes love is ancient. At the […]

THE MET’S TOSCA: GRAND RETURNS TO THE OPERA

Sonya Yoncheva’s Violetta was the heart of the most beautiful and exciting event I have ever seen on the stage – Willy Decker’s essentialist La Traviata, with Michael Fabiano (Alfredo) and Thomas Hampson (Germont), so the prospect of seeing Yoncheva’s Floria Tosca was greatly anticipated, to say the least. Decker’s Traviata realized that Dumas’ story, […]

LES MIS: THE ENERGIZER MUSICAL

The musical Les Misérables premiered on  September 24,1980; Duracell’s Energizer Bunny debuted nine years later, but unlike the pink bunny, Schonberg’ and Boubil’s musical keeps getting stronger and stronger. Over 70 million people in 44 countries never grow tired of this magical stage work. (Aside from Hamlet, Kathleen and I have seen Les Mis more […]

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 […]