Arts Corner

HIGH AND LOW MEET ON BROADWAY: MTH’s tribute honors one of America’s great polymaths

By Paul Horsley
Even during his lifetime, Leonard Bernstein delighted in being a sort of Great American Conundrum. Known as a “triple threat” in his youth, the pianist-conductor-composer made a mark on history as the first American-born conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and later as a serious composer of symphonies, concertos, choral and chamber music and operas.

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CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION: Lyric delivers solid, well-sung version of Puccini classic

By Paul Horsley
Many 18th- and 19th-century operas are just too complicated, with superfluous subplots and random servants running about doing little to further the central story, if there is one. By the end of the 19th century composers and librettists had begun to pare down what I think of as Shakespearean “character overpopulation,” as they found this to be less and less effectual for the more serious and focused themes of Romantic-period opera.

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CLIBURN AT THE KAUFFMAN: Park University’s music program hosts tribute to pianistic icon

By Paul Horsley
Anyone who was lucky enough to get to know the American pianist Van Cliburn, who died last year at the age of 78, learned two things quickly. First, from earliest childhood he was a lover of all things Russian, a trait that was made plain to the world when he won the 1958 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, shocking the Soviet public by playing their own music with a warmth, joy and sincerity they hadn’t heard in generations.

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SURPRISED BY HER OWN VOICE: FIVE QUESTIONS FOR SOPRANO KATIE VAN KOOTEN

By Paul Horsley
Since making a huge impression here as the Countess Almaviva at the Lyric Opera’s of KC’s Marriage of Figaro just a few years back (in the company’s last production in the old Lyric Theatre), soprano Katie Van Kooten has rocketed to the top of the opera world. Now in her vocal and dramatic prime, she is finding that in her 30s her voice has continued to evolve, and it can do things it couldn’t do before—heavier, meatier roles.

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