Author Archive :

TB Blues

Dunleavy’s Violetta makes Lyric Traviata worth the trouble
In the famous opera scene in Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts asks Richard Gere how she’s supposed to know what’s happening onstage if everyone’s singing in Italian. “Oh, you’ll know,” he replies. “Believe me, you’ll understand. The music’s very powerful.” I’ve always scoffed at the pre-supertitle cliché that if a performance is good enough you can follow an opera plot without understanding the text. Balderdash.

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Ancient wine in new bottles

Bagby makes medieval epic into rich cinematic drama
There are several reasons why you might expect Benjamin Bagby’s performance of Beowulf to fall flat on a contemporary American audience. The renowned medievalist performs the epic as a one-man bard, accompanying himself on a diminutive six-string harp that is his only prop.

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No restraints please, we’re British

Esteemed chamber orchestra devours Sir William whole
The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is one of the most venerated musical establishments in England, one could even say in the history of English music. You know a chamber orchestra has clout when it can convince a composer of the stature of Sir William Walton to compose a new work for it.

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Tale of Two Yuris

Kansas City Ballet presents shimmering, sincere version of classic Firebird
The final seconds of Yuri Possokhov’s Firebird contain a simple event that is so natural, so poignant and dramatically satisfying that it made my heart clutch up. Naturally I’m not going to spoil it: You’ll just have to see the Kansas City Ballet’s winter program that opened Thursday at the Lyric Theatre.

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Paths of Beauty

Kaleidoscopic new Chen Yi composition gets auspicious local premiere
Chen Yi’s musical world is a cheerful place teeming with activity and populated by stately emperors, raucous villagers, artful calligraphers and lovers boating through lotus blossoms — always against the backdrop of the gorgeous Chinese landscape.

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