Category Archives: Theology

LA SCALA’S GIOVANNA D’ARCO: When an Opera is a Lie

As of 2009, ten percent of Americans thought Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.[i] Since then most people probably won’t even guess as to her identity. And where could they learn of Joan of Arc? Schools, where any hint of Christianity is outlawed? In mainline churches, where scientific rationalism filters the majesty and mystery of […]

THE MET’S MADAMA BUTTERFLY: THE POWER OF UNIVERSALS

The most recent study names Puccini’s Madama Butterfly as the sixth most popular opera in the world. In fact, seeing the opera at the age of sixteen prompted Yoko Watanabe (1953-2004) to a singing career, eventually to the position of the most famous of Japanese opera singers, certainly to be one of the most acclaimed […]

Virginia Stage Company’s CROWNS: A Majestic Theater Event

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul asked, For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Saint John Chrysostom explained that, ”he who will not seek in the well being of his neighbor his own benefit will not attain […]

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE’S MACBETH: Imagination’s Descent into Hell

 Viewed in the context of his other work, Macbeth is Shakespeare’s Descent into Hell. And since it is his Inferno, it is appropriate that the terrestrial and celestial parts of his universe should figure slightly.[i] Those words by University of Chicago Shakespearean scholar Harold Goddard summarize the production Aaron Posner and Teller have created at […]

STUDIO THEATRE’S TRANSLATIONS: ANOTHER KIND OF PRODIGAL SON

Set in rural Ireland in 1833, Brian Friel’s’ Translations explores the troubles brought to a handful of characters following the return of a prodigal son.  Whereas the prodigal in Christ’s parable returned ashamed and broken, Friel’s prodigal returns home proud and puffed up. Maire, a local maiden, has long been betrothed to Manus, the oldest […]

THE MET’S COSI FAN TUTTE: MOZART IN A BOX

During the overture, and before a gaudy show curtain, the canary-colored zoot-suited con man Don Alfonso, presents his co-conspirator and inamorata Despina with a magician’s bouquet of flowers and a very large travelling box, tied up with a bow. She hits him with the flowers, but helps him remove the bow and open the gift […]

LITTLE THEATRE OF NORFOLK’S DEATH OF A SALESMAN: THE SOUL SURVIVOR

Jack Kline, president and chief operating officer of Christie Digital Systems USA, Inc. says “people like to do business with people they like. That’s just a natural part of the way people operate.” People prefer the people they like. Jurors prefer the more likeable attorney. Voters prefer the more likable candidate. Buyers prefer to purchase […]

National Theatre Live: The Expressionist Hamlet

Lyndsay Turner’s Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is strikingly different from other recent Hamlets. Rory Kinnear ‘s Hamlet directed by Nicholas Hytner, Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 self-directed Hamlet, and Greg Doran’s 2009 David Tennant Hamlet all evidenced the influence of John Barton’s magisterial elucidation of how Shakespeare’s language needed to be played. Barton insisted on a detailed […]

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 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, […]