Category Archives: Theater

The MET OPERA: CARMEN AS MORALITY PLAY

Each performance  is custom-made. Unlike film, when stage actors meet before a new audience anything is possible. As the playwright Herb Gardner noted, There is a chance each time the curtain goes up of glory and disaster, the actors and the audience will take each other somewhere, neither knows where for sure.[i] And that magical […]

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 […]