Arts Corner

WOLFIE, IS THAT YOU? Spinning Tree closes season with ambitious Shaffer play

By Paul Horsley
The message of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus is that God touches only a few with genius, and rest of us don’t matter. Or is it, really? Those familiar with earlier versions of this Tony Award-winning 1979 play (and its 1982 film version) might remember the theme thus: Antonio Salieri is resentful toward God for anointing Mozart while leaving him, the obedient Imperial Court Composer, to die a forgotten mediocrity.

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CARMEN UNBOUND: Lyric Opera ends season with Bizet’s subversive tale of love and death

By Paul Horsley
If you think too hard about the underlying messages of Bizet’s Carmen, you might begin to find the opera a bit unsettling. For when the ostensibly virtuous Don José ventures outside of his safe bourgeois existence to fall in with the wild gypsy Carmen, he enjoys a brief moment of love and passion only to discover that this “attraction of opposites” leads to the destruction of everything around him.

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SERIOUSLY, MARRY ME: New concerto inspired by wedding but not bound to it (REVIEW)

By Paul Horsley
David Ludwig knows better than to attach a “back-story” to a piece irrevocably, although he has openly stated that his new Violin Concerto was inspired by his recent marriage. Composers over the years have learned the perils of announcing beforehand a narrative or program for a piece, only to find later that they’d much rather the audience listen to it as “pure music.

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CHARMED, I’M SURE: Chorale and HASF collaborate as part of worldwide celebration

By Paul Horsley
For more than four centuries the plays and sonnets of Shakespeare have been enshrined as the pinnacle of English-language poetry. Why, then, do we need to put them to music? It’s a question that Charles Bruffy, the Grammy Award-winning director of the Kansas City and Phoenix Chorales, has given a bit of thought to. “What I tell my choruses is that in fact what we are doing is ‘reading’ poetry to our audience,” said Charles, who has led the Kansas City group since 1988.

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