Category Archives: Theology

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 […]

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 […]

VIRGINIA OPERA PRESENTS RARE SAMSON AND DALILAH

The occasion of the Virginia Opera’s production of Camille Saint-Saens’ 1877 SAMSON AND DALILAH underscores the fact Camille Saint-Saens’ work is one of only a handful of operas based on Biblical stories. Why is that? Many historical factors account for the phenomenon. First, during the late sixteenth century, when opera was being developed, the Pope, […]

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 […]

Little Theatre of Norfolk’s NOISES OFF: A Joyous Celebration of Theater

Throughout history audiences have enjoyed stories about putting on plays or making movies. The highlight of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is always the rude mechanicals’ presentation of “the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe.” (The more lamentable, the better. Audiences especially love badly done attempts to make theater and […]

Raven Theatre’s ASSEMBLED PARTIES: A Doubter’s Christmas Carol

Christmas has been the occasion for two classic plays, Hamlet and Ibsen’s Doll’s House. Ironically, as the Christian Feast of the Nativity has become secularized, the occasion has been used by more and more contemporary playwrights to give dramatic resonance to their work. The late Harry Kondoleon’s Christmas on Mars, Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale, and […]

Lyric Opera: Chicago’s Third Great NORMA

As late as 1920, American musicologists considered Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma “an improbably old-fashioned, almost hurdy-gurdy work.” But thanks to Chicago sopranos, that opera has become a standard of the American operatic canon. Written when Bellini (1801-1835) was just thirty years old, Norma had played in Chicago since the mid-nineteenth century by various visiting opera companies. […]