Category Archives: Music

Virginia Stage Company’s RING OF FIRE: Epic Entertainment

Reflecting on the Virginia Stage Company’s season opening production of RING OF FIRE, I couldn’t help recalling the first RING OF FIRE we saw, the thrilling Mercury Theater production in Chicago of May 2015. Much of what I wrote at that time applies to the Wells Theater offering: “When Richard Maltby, Jr. was ready to […]

LA CENERENTOLA at 100: OPÉRA NATIONAL DE PARIS PRODUCES A LANDMARK

Napoleon is dead, but a new conqueror has already shown himself to the world; and from Moscow to Naples, from London to Vienna, from Paris to Calcutta, his name is constantly on every tongue. The fame of this hero knows no bounds save those of civilization itself; and he is not yet 32! The 1823 […]

Gran Teatre del Liceu: A Stark Rigoletto

The Rigoletto at Barcelona’s elegant Gran Teatre del Liceu reminded me again that Verdi can be considered the Shakespeare of opera. Not only did he compose a Macbeth, Othello, and Falstaff, but his great fondness for King Lear was spread among several operas. The king driven mad by his evil daughter centers Nabucco, while Rigoletto […]

Tidewater Opera Initiative: Fearless Performance

If you need proof as to the truth of Henri Matisse’s observation, “Creativity takes courage,” you need go no further than the weekend performances at Norfolk’s funky Hugh R Copeland Center of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and Henry Purcell’s  Dido and Aeneas. The Tidewater Opera Initiative (TOI), a self-described “boutique opera company”, presented the pair of […]

TIDEWATER STAGE’S THE CHRISTIANS: ONE HELLUVA SHOW

Few of the “educated elite” in society still believe in the reality of Satan. C.S. Lewis exposed Satan’s now completed program to spread disbelief in The Screwtape Letters[i]: I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern […]

TIDEWATER STAGE’S THE 39 STEPS: A HILARIOUS HOMAGE

“Spoof’ was originally a late 19th century drinking game involving coins. By the late 1950s the term began to be used to describe a skit or “send-up” of a popular literary or cultural genre. By the late 1970s “spoof” had engendered a theatrical movement known as the “Theatre of the Ridiculous”, itself a send up […]

MY FIRST TATTOO

No, not that kind of tattoo! I mean the kind of tattoo I didn’t even know existed until a few weeks ago. The tattoo I mean originated in the England of 1644 as the name for a signal made, by drum beat or bugle call, in the evening for soldiers to return to their quarters, […]

EUGENE ONEGIN at the Met: Netrebko Redefines Tatiana

Some fans of Alexander Pushkin’s great and iconic verse novel Eugene Onegin can’t stomach Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky’s operatic version. Too much of the master Russian author’s brilliance is lost, they say, in the opera’s simplified libretto, written in only nine days. Pushkin’s 1833 novel is a text that “divides Russian literature into a ‘before’ and […]

Lyric Opera’s Eugene Onegin: Tatiana’s Triumph

Like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Pytor Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is not eponymous. The play is named, not, as Dostoyevsky famously argued, for the play’s main character, but rather for the character who sets the main character in action. The main character in Tchaikovsky’s opera is, instead, the country girl, Tatiana Larina. And Tatiana might owe her […]

Lyric Opera’s CARMEN: Ashford and Calleja Make History

“Bullfighting is the only art form that both represents something and is that thing at the same time: the matador’s elegant immobility in the face of the bull not only represents man’s defiance of death, it is a man defying death, and there are women who do it too.”[i] In Rob Ashcroft’s magnificent new telling of Bizet’s Carmen, the […]