Category Archives: Current Events

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Little Theatre of Norfolk’s ARSENIC AND OLD LACE: Classic Comedy

Question: Why is it called a “Little” Theatre? Answer: Because the first one, The Little Theatre of Chicago, had just 99 seats. A brief histoy lesson: At the turn of the twentieth century powerful monopolies and trusts controlled and regulated just about everything in America. Even theatrical production. Known as “The Syndicate,” a cabal 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, […]