Category Archives: Music

TOI’s HANSEL AND GRETEL: BEAUTIFUL AND FUN AND UNIVERSALLY TRUE

Why a fairy tale? A fairy tale explains the world to both youngsters and to adults, who may have forgotten important truths. As the fairy tale master Bruno Bettelheim explains, the fairy tale expresses in words and actions the things which go on in the child’s, or childlike adult, mind. Or as G.K. Chesterton rightly […]

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 OPERA’S IL TROVATORE: THE TRAGEDY OF VENGEANCE

Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore is probably best known as the center of the Marx Brothers great film comedy A Night at the Opera. Ridicule, parody, burlesque and satire have followed the opera almost even from composition. Based on the classic Spanish Romantic drama El Trovador by Antonio Garcia Gutiérrez, librettist Salvadore Cammarano sent Verdi a […]

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 […]

TIDEWATER STAGE’S DIAL M FOR MURDER: FABULOUS THEATER

“Smell-o-vision” “Illusion-o” “Percepto” “Sensurround” “3D” The history of film can be seen as an ongoing attempt to use technology to reproduce and distribute the power of live stage performance inexpensively to a wide audience. Before considering the work at Tidewater Stage, let’s look at the journey Frederick’s Knott’s tale took to get to Virginia Beach. […]

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 […]

AMERICAN BLUES THEATER: BUDDY HOLLY LIVES

Buddy Holly was my favorite rock and roller and first hero. As an eight year old boy with a single bud headphone from his transistor radio I waited for Buddy’s music to come on after I went to bed. We shared a common trait  – glasses. In the days before contact lenses, we “four-eyes” were […]

CARMEN IN WILLIAMSBURG

Following a decade of teaching Biblical Hebrew to college students, one should welcome retirement as a time to catch one’s breathe and enjoy the easy things of life. Not so for Naama  Zahavi-Ely. Professor Zahavi-Ely decided that her retirement needed her to found a new opera company. At a time when the most established opera […]

THE MET’S LUISA MILLER: A TALE OF THREE FATHERS

Tragedy has been defined as a family destroyed and comedy as a family being created. Due to his own tragic experiences, Giuseppe Verdi was always interested in putting families on stage. The deaths of his children and his first wife had a profound and permanent effect on Verdi. In addition, he was a dutiful son […]

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 […]