Category Archives: Media

LYRIC OPERA’S MAGIC FLUTE: A Metatheatrical Spectacular

Reviewing an 1879 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, the anonymous Chicago Tribune critic noted, “it would be absurd to try to explain the plot…. All sorts of explanations have been attempted but, if anyone ever really knew what it meant, he died before he said anything about it. It is a hodge-podge, nonsense, and […]

Chicago Opera and CITIZEN KANE

“Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, an opera singer.” “Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, Mary Garden, an opera singer.” These two similar tales are told daily by Chicago River tour guides. And these two tales are totally false. The only truth in the tales is that […]

ASSASSINATION THEATER: The Most Important and Exciting Theater You Will See

The first great work of theater, Oedipus Rex, is a whodunit. Ever since, solving mysteries seems part and parcel of what audiences expect of the theatrical experience. I was a high school student beginning a lifelong study of theater when the shots rang out in Dallas. Being sent home from school due to an assassination […]

SFO’s SHOWBOAT: New Excellence in Live Performance Recording

The recently released two disc DVD of the San Francisco Opera’s 2014 production of Hammerstein and Kern’s pioneer opera Showboat is a treat for many reasons. First, rarely has the art of live performance recording been practiced to such great effect than by screen director Frank Zamacona and his EuroArts team. The shots are beautifully […]

BIRDMAN: Macbeth’s Movie

Birdman’s artists – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Antonio Sanchez, Emmanuel Lubezki, Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione – will be nominated for all of the major film awards, and they probably deserve to win. But Birdman is deliberately unlike other films: Birdman seeks to have no meaning. That’s right. The artists deliberately conspire to […]