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Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

reasons to be pretty@ The Lyceum

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Lot’s of cursing must make up for good dialouge on Broadway today. These four actors were very strong in a good, but not great play by Neil LaBute. The New Yorker and the Times loved this production, but it left something on the table and I’m not sure what. Marin Ireland  as Steph,was a REAL girlfriend, yelling at Thomas Sadowski, Greg, for some precieved slight and he took the beating as he tried to figure out what exactly happened. The point of the play is that he does figure it out. The other couple Piper Perabo, Carly , the prettiest security guard on the planet, and Steven Pasquale as her cheating husband Kent , are the measure of Greg’s understanding. Greg hangs with Kent at the warehouse where they work and thinks Kent is cool. When Kent confides  that he is sleeping with a younger woman, who works at the factory, something clicks with Greg and they finally come to blows as Greg sees what a phony Kent is. When Carly confides that she is pregnant and wonders if Kent is fooling around, Greg covers for his pal at first and then turns him in, a weak point in the plot. Steph comes to tell Greg she has found some one , and give him one more chance, he has grown up enough to see that he can’t be a husband to Steph and finally tells her she is pretty, get it?

The sets worked but the music that played as the sets were changed was too noisy, warehouse rock & roll maybe, I didn’t get that part. reasons to be pretty might win a Tony and might deserve it, but there are better plays coming from Neil.

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Siegfried@ The Met

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2009 at 1:51 pm
  1. When the curtain came down on this LONG  opera, I told my neighbor that this was the best Siegfried that I have seen, in a series of good Siegfrieds. On the bus ride home there was some disagreement and it made me think hard about my instant review. It stands!!! Christain Franz made the day. He looked and acted like Siegfried and made the story flow as it should. This must be what Wagner had in mind when he conceived the story flow. Mime, Robert Brubaker, was a great foil. He tormented Siegfried as much as Siegfried tormented him, as he pushed Siegfried to kill Fafner. The sword scene; with Mime making the poison as Siegfried made the sword was an amazing set piece. We all hated Albrect,trying to steal his ring back and the Wanderer, James Morris, push the evil characters with the right mixture of cunning and helplessness. Siegfried breaks Wotan’s staff, and signals the end of the gods’ domination of the world and sets in motion the wonderful duet, the first in the cycle, that brings Siegfried and Brunnhilde, Irene Theorin, together for the final journey to the twilight of the gods. See you next week.

Mahler#9 & Staatskapelle@ Carnegie Hall

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Every time I think that THIS is the best concert in the world a new one comes along . Symphony # 9 is a farewell to life, Mahler died shortly after. Daniel Barenboim pulled the best preformance of this cycle, I’m sure, out of SB this afternoon. He held the last note for eternity and then silence for another eternity and when he let his hands down the place went wild. The orchestra is in the zone and raised the bar for Mahler interpretation. It was beautiful and dramatic and …..

I’m sure there can be some critisizim of this concert, but not from me. The balance and intensity and individual playing was superlative.

Frank LLoyd Wright@ the Guggenheim

In Arts & Theater & Music& Opera on May 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm

For the Guggenheim’s 50th birthday how fitting to look at how it came to be. The museum is stuffed with FLW drawings and concepts and models and videos that are interspersed in such a way that you never tire of each format. The show is huge and will take a few visits to get through, but for the one time first time visitor it shows the great man’s vision for a better world through architecture. Some of the side galleries are dramatically lit to good advantage; and you wander in and back out to the Rotunda and never lose the thread of the show. The Ayne Randish super cities of the future in Bagdad and Asia are almost cute in the rear view mirror of what actually happened. Our boy Frank really deserves this show. The recent Hadid concepts, and all the Gehry buildings, and Koolhaus rebuilding China and don’t leave out the Piano  portfolio are a post script of Wright’s inspired view of what might happen in architechture and how it might save us from ourselves, not.

Staatskapelle Berlin&Mahler @ Carnegie Hall

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2009 at 5:25 pm

The Mahler Marathon by the Staatskapple Berlin is half done. All the hype made me feel guilty that I didn’t sign up for the whole cycle of symphonies and be more informed(listened). I guess the Hall needed some program power and got it from Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez. On Tuesday they played the Sixth, “Tragic” with verve and power. Pierre Boulez moved the piece along at just the right pace, it seemed to me. The loud sections were just that and the quiet sections the same. This might seem like faint praise, but I mean it to be  enthusiastic. He gave a modern reading to the piece building on the Bernstein  recordings that everyone must be listening to; I know I am and they are for sale in the lobby,and bring our pal Mahler into the 21th Century with an understanding of just how important he was as a bridge from the late 19th into the 20th century. This performance got  a giant standing O and deserved it!!! When Pierre Boulez recognized the individuals for their parts; the audience agreed with much applause. Can’t wait for the final symphony on Sunday afternoon.

Joyce DiDonato & Peter Lieberson & Mahler @ the NY Phil

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm

There was so much going on at this concert last night it is hard to explain. First the Mahler piece “Blumine”  and then a world premier of Peter Lieberson’s “The World In Flower” and then Mahler’s Symphony no. 1. The theme is new performances; sound familiar? First time ever for “The World In Flower” first time as a stand alone piece for “Blumine” and the first time for Symphony no. 1 was when Mahler conducted it 100 years ago. Alan Gilbert is going to have intelligent programs and link the old and the new and make us active listeners .

“Bluminine was part of the 1st Symphony and cut until the score was discovered in 1980 at auction, so it’s a new old piece that is delightful, very Mahler with a little push from Richard Strauss? The Philharmonic commissioned Peter Lieberman to compose a new choral piece and he wrote this with his late wife Lorraine in mind. Joyce DiDonato is very brave to take on such an emotionally charged premier and she is up to the challenge with wonderful singing and phrasing and presence. Russell Braun makes a great NYP debut in the baritone part and the NY Choral artists are always perfect. The songs that Lieberson sets are varied; from Rilke, to 20th century Navajo,  Whitman, and Hopkins ,Rumi and Mechthild of Madeburg and Igluik and Spanish songs. This will not be absorbed into the repertoire, but I hope it doesn’t get lost because it is should be heard.

After all that Alan Gilbert gets one of the best performances of Mahler in recent memory from a VERY engaged NYP and gets a well deserved standing O!

Spring @ PS1

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

A show at PS1 is like returning to your grammar school, PS1 get it!  So I tiptoe in, waiting for the principal to tell me I’m late or didn’t do my homework; the dog ate it I swear! And this springs show is like a lesson in twenty to twenty first century art. From contemporary Israeli videos by Yael Bartanato; decades spanning film by Kenneth Anger; to Leandro Erlich’s great swimming pool; to Lutz Bacher’s Kennedy centric work; to Jonathan Horowitz video soundscape?; and ending with Florian Slotawa’s furniture arranged like a Monrian painting it seems that PS1 is trying to tell us where the art came from and where it is going. The way that the works relate or don’t seems to be the point of this special show. Each work stands on its own and the added tension of seeing such different concepts pulling the viewer from classroom to classroom like different periods in a school  day makes this a learning experience as well as showcasing the individual artists.

    Joshua Bell& Alan Gilbert @ The NY Philharmonic

    In Uncategorized on May 2, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Programs of rarely preformed music and new music might be Alan Gilbert’s calling card. Two of the three works on this night have been played by the NYP only once before, The Golden Spinning Wheel( Dvorak) and Symphony # 4 ( Martinu) . The key here is that each is not  “difficult” or “challenging” but a beautiful neglected  wonder. The Golden Spinning Wheel is a tone poem in the early 20th century style, with the attendant gory story, is a delightful romp through the Cech country side and the Symphony#4 is a mid century celebration of the end of WWII; same country.

    Joshua  Bell played the Saint Saens Violin Concerto#3  with such fire that you have to wonder why it isn’t played more, or be ready to hear it again, this has to be a signature piece for him. It might be my imagination that Joshua and Alan sort of “body englished” the piece to a transcendent level or is the ” classical” music world being changed  by the next generation of musicians into the 21st Century.