Category Archives: Quotations

IN THE SEASON OF PARSIFAL

The coincidence of a world-wide pandemic and the liturgical season of Lent may prompt some people, stuck at home, to consider Richard Wagner’s masterpiece, PARSIFAL. Set in a mythological world in which the land is suffering because the king is dying, a young Holy Fool, so naive that he doesn’t even know his name, arrives […]

WHY YOU SHOULD SEE SHAW’S MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION: PATERNITY

Despite the existence of DNA testing, and sites like Ancestry.com, genealogy can still offer major surprises and uproars in a person’s life. Just ask Oedipus Rex. Or Captain Adolph in Strindberg’s The Father. Or ask Bernard Shaw. The question of paternity tormented George Bernard Shaw all his life. His mother lived in a ménage a […]

THE MET’S AGRIPPINA: STELLAR MUSIC, UNFORTUNATE STAGING

Librettist Vincenzo Grimani had a wonderful idea for a comic opera: a neo-classical comedy of manners featuring history’s most monstrous tyrants as the main characters! The comic incongruity would be enormous, as  the murderous, depraved butchers of Rome’s ancient past acted with impeccable decorum and good taste. Imagine seeing Nero and his court in a […]

THE COURT THEATRE’S THE MOUSETRAP: NEAR PERFECTION

In the late 1920s, mystery writer Ronald Knox published  “Ten Commandments for Writing Detective Fiction.” With her monumental play The Mousetrap, Agatha Christie violated the central commandment. (to reveal that commandment would be the ultimate spoiler.) Dame Christie’s flaunting of the detective mystery norms may account for the play’s record setting run. The mystery has […]

THE MET’S AKHNATEN: A HYMN TO THE TRUE LIGHT

When Philip Glass’ Akhnaten first appeared in 1984, the New York Daily News was moved to label Mr. Glass “the Ronald Reagan of composers. This time around,  no one is thinking of Ronald Reagan after experiencing the Glass/Kamensek/McDermott/Pollard/Pay  production at the Metropolitan Opera. Instead, the words ”breathtaking”, “hypnotic”, “gorgeous”, “luscious”, “overwhelming”, and “beautiful,” are most […]