Category Archives: Books

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS: LEWIS UNDONE

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the […]

KENNEDY CENTER’S HELLO DOLLY – LOOK AT THE OLD GIRL NOW!

A great performance always seems fresh-minted. That certainly is the case with Ms. Betty Buckley at the Kennedy Center. In fact, her character,  Dolly Gallagher Levi, first appeared during playwright Thornton Wilder’s 1935 trip to Europe. As he considered the comedies of Austria’s popular 19th century playwright Johann Nestroy, he wondered if an American version […]

VA ARTS FESTIVAL’S ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA: HAIL, FLORENT SCHMITT! HAIL, JOANN FALLETTA!

Florent Schmitt? The name would give even the most learned musicologist pause to retrieve the name from the dustbin of musical history. Enter JoAnn Falletta. Virginia’s beloved maestra is as devoted to recovering forgotten masterpieces as she is to the presentation of new works. So, it should come as no surprise that Florent Schmitt should […]

THE MET’S DIE WALKURE: A SUBLIME RETURN TO THE HEART OF THE FIRST RING

With an opera production as overwhelming as Robert Lepage’s Die Walkure at the Metropolitan Opera, adjectives seem unable to capture the majesty and profundity of the experience. “Spectacular”? “Magnificent”? “Sublime”? All of those and more. And in the most difficult of all art forms. Opera has so many variables subject to personal disposition, physical strength, […]

VIRGINIA OPERA’S MADAMA BUTTERFLY WORKS PUCCINI MAGIC

Madama Butterfly, the lovely opera presented by the Virginia Opera,  began as a stage hit, but took a rollercoaster ride to its pre-eminence as a world-favorite opera. The crowd-pleasing Virginia Opera production of Madama Butterfly carried traces of the opera’s long and unpredictable historic journey to Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House. As near perfection as anything […]