Category Archives: Theater

THE MET OPERA’S ADRIANA LECOUVREUR: NETREBKO IS MELPOMENE

At the end of Francesco Cilea’s 1902 opera Adriana Lecouvreuer librettist Arturo Colautti adds a passage not found in the original 1849 play Adrienne Lecouvreur  by Eugene Scribe and Ernest Legouve. As the great actress dies, Colautti presents her as hallucinating: Stand aside, Philistines! I am Melpomene! Behold the Light that leads me on, That […]

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG: A PLAY FOR OUR TIME

Of all the types of drama, farce is the most politically incorrect. In fact, according to Aristotle, farce exists to evoke laughter and ridicule toward characters we deem to be  “not normal”. The farceur urges his audience to identify characters as worse than we are in all kinds of ways – socially, physically, morally, intellectually, […]

ARENA STAGE’S ANYTHING GOES: CLASSIC MUSICAL FUN

In 1934 Anything Goes, the musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter opened in New York City. The original book was a collaborative effort by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, heavily revised by the team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.  Their object was maximum fun, and minimum attention to the news of the day. And they succeeded brilliantly. The Times critic wrote that the […]

THE MET’S NEW LA TRAVIATA: A PINK CAMELLIA

In Alexander Dumas’La Dame aux Camellias /The Lady of the Camellia (1848) the heroine, a prostitute named Marguerite, signals her availability for business by displaying one of two camellias – the red camellia means she is unavailable, the white camellia means Marguerite will see gentlemen callers. A giant pink camellia dominates both the opening and closing of […]

THE NT LIVE’S ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA : WHEN ONE CHOOSES LOVE

In Western Civilization’s foundational myth, the great Trojan warrior Aeneas chooses duty over love when he leaves the exotic Dido in Carthage to do his duty, to found Rome. William Shakespeare considers what might have happened had Aeneas remained with Dido in the form of his towering Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra (1606). First of all, […]