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Kevin Newbury talks to Michael Miller about his production of Weber's Euryanthe at Bard Summerscape

July 23rd, 2014

by Michael Miller

  For its annual opera, Bard Summerscape has chosen Carl Maria von Weber's seldom performed masterpiece, Euryanthe. Der Freischütz had been a great success at the Kärtnerthortheater in Vienna at its premiere in 1821, and the impresario Domenico Barbala lost no time in asking Weber for another opera of the sort. Weber, however, wanted to compose something different. He wanted to grow beyond the popular Singspiel alternation of spoke dialogue and sung numbers in favor of a freer flow of recitative, sung dialogue, and arias. Weber had considerable difficulty in deciding on a libretto, and he eventually persuaded Helmine von Chezy t[...]

A Shakespeare Double-Bill at the American Ballet Theater: Ashton's The Dream and Ratmansky's The Tempest

July 22nd, 2014

by Mari Gold

  American Ballet Theater Metropolitan Opera House June 30, 2014 The Dream Music by Felix Mendelssoh Choreography by Frederick Ashton Sets and Costumes by David Walker Lighting Design by John B. Read The Young People's Chorus of New York City Artistic Director, Francisco J. Nunez Conductor, David Lamar The Tempest Music by Jean Sibelius Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky Sets and Costumes by Sandro Loquasto Lighting by Robert Wierzel Conductor, Ormsby Wilkins ABT's The Dream is highly poetic, romantic and vaguely Victorian. It differs from the version presented by the New York City Ballet in that it is only one act and has a somewhat different story line as well as highly contrasting choreography. (I confess to a[...]

John Banville talks to Michael Miller about Love in the Wars, his English adaptation of Kleist's Penthesilea

July 15th, 2014

by Michael Miller

  John Banville and Michael Miller discuss Love in the Wars, his free English adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist's play, Penthesilea, with a digression about the rest of Mr. Banville's work, before returning to the play, which will receive its world premiere at Bard College Summerscape. Kleist's theatrical ambition was to fuse Greek tragedy with Shakespearean "burlesque." The work shows his pessimistic world view spiced with black Prussian humor. In this interview Mr. Banville will compare Kleist to Kafka and Beckett. Kleist's plays are rarely produced in North America, and this will be a unique opportunity to see one of his masterpieces in [...]

Arts Press Summer Fundraiser — Support New York Arts and The Berkshire Review!

July 8th, 2014

by Arts Press

  Please give generously to support The Arts Press publications, New York Arts and The Berkshire Review! "I just spent about an hour browsing through your Berkshire Review and am staggered at its breadth and depth. I found so many pieces I wanted to read.  What a wonderful resource." Karen Halvorsen, Photographer. "Your review made me start thinking about what it would be like if articles (such as in the NY Times) didn't have to be less than 300 words, and could be more than just book reports. It was overwhelmingly positive to actually have the possibility to be enriched by journalism. What an intellectual and cultural lif[...]

A Revised Brigadoon: An Important Musical Theater Milestone

July 7th, 2014

by Nancy Salz

  Brigadoon at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago June 27-August 17, 2014 (extended) Music by Frederick Loewe Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner Revised Book by Brian Hill Directed and Choreographed by Rachel Rockwell Musical Direction and Additional Vocal and Instrumental Arrangement by Roberta Duchak Set Design by Kevin Depinet Costume Design by Mara Blumenfeld With Jennie Sophia (Fiona MacLaren), Kevin Earley (Tommy Albright), Olivia Renteria (Jean MacLaren), Jordan Brown (Charlie Dalrymple), Maggie Portman (Meg Brockie), Rod Thomas (Jeff Douglas), Rhett Guter (Harry Beaton), Katie Spelman (Maggie Anderson), Roger Mueller (Mr. Lundie) Sacrilege! Impertinence! Brigadoon, that beloved 1947 Golden Age musical about a Scottish town that awakens only once a century,[...]

Five Memorable Evenings at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival

July 3rd, 2014

by Michael Miller

  I've never visited Montreal without feeling sorry to leave it or longing for the next opportunity to go back. While the excellent Montreal Chamber Music Festival was the centerpiece of two short stays on successive weeks, the days were filled with encounters with the city's rich cultural life—wherever our interests might take us, just as if we were in London, Paris, or New York—inquisitive walks along the streets, some very good food, and some mediocre food as well. (It's best to consult a restaurant guide and plan ahead rather than to trust one's luck. It's just as easy to spend a l[...]

Crowned: Opera Odyssey’s June Festival, plus Guerilla Opera and Commonwealth Lyric Theater, and OperaHub

July 1st, 2014

by Lloyd Schwartz

  For a city that hasn’t seemed very welcoming to opera, Boston has had a lot of opera going on lately. Since Opera Boston closed on January 1, 2012, there’s been only one major opera company left, the Boston Lyric. But last fall, Gil Rose, former music director of Opera Boston, returned as the head of an important new company, Odyssey Opera, leading a rare performance in concert of Wagner’s first opera, the epic Rienzi. It was a critical success, and now, at the intimate BU Theatre, Odyssey has let its other shoe drop with two programs of fully staged smaller-scale but e[...]

More on Klinghoffer, Gelb, and the Met at Sea

June 30th, 2014

by Michael Miller

  Click here for Lloyd Schwartz's commentary. In the affair over John Adams' opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, the participants have succeeded in making themselves look very bad indeed, above all Abe Foxman of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and whatever kindred organizations which have not been specified in the reports—with Peter Gelb straggling obsequiously behind them. It is appalling that a special interest group can dictate what a major arts institution can present to the public, and that the chief officer of the institution should accept it so easily. Peter Gelb stated that the cancellation of the HD transmission was necessary to save the pro[...]

Savion Glover's OM, at the Joyce Theater

June 29th, 2014

by Mari Gold

  Savion Glover's OM The Joyce Theater June 25, 2014 Featuring Savion Glover with Marshall Davis Jr. and Mari Fujivayashi, Keitaro Kosokawa, Olivia Rosenkrantz Savion Glover's newest production, OM, is as much a mystical experience as a dancing one. The performance, which spans about seventy minutes with no intermission, begins with a lengthy jazz recording of what I think is Calling by Kenny Garrett, very improvy -sounding and full of saxophone. During this pre-performance period, the audience views the front of the stage lined with small bulbs that seem to flicker in the half-light with a head of Buddha on one side. Finally the curtain is[...]

Leonard Freed, The Italians - exhibition now at The Leica Gallery, New York, until August 9, 2014

June 25th, 2014

by The Editor

  Leonard Freed, The Italians, Quantuck Lane Press, 2011, exhibition now at The Leica Gallery, New York, until August 9, 2014 The great documentary art photographer's warm-hearted, but sharply observed takes on Italian life between 1956 and 2005 appear in 190 superb duotone illustrations. With an introductory essay in English and Italian by Berkshire Review/New York Arts editor, Michael Miller. The selection of images in the book and in the exhibition was made by Freed's widow, Brigitte and James Mairs, editor at the Quantuck Lane Press. The Italian edition, which is also bilingual and virtually identical, is distributed by the local organizer, Admira. --- La mostra Leonard Freed, Io amo l'Italia rimane aperta now alla Lei[...]

The Klinghoffer Question

June 21st, 2014

by Lloyd Schwartz

The most recent piece of bad news in the opera world is that the Metropolitan Opera has succumbed to pressure from several Jewish organizations and cancelled the international Live in HD telecast and radio broadcast of its new production of John Adams’s complex and controversial 1991 opera/oratorio The Death of Klinghoffer—which is about the Palestinian terrorist attack on the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. And because Adams, librettist Alice Goodman, and stage director Peter Sellars had the chutzpah to dramatize the points of view of the terrorists as well as the victims, some people, including Leon Klinghoffer’s two daughters, felt [...]

Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Balanchine's choreography at the New York City Ballet with Karinska's Costumes Restored

June 9th, 2014

by Mari Gold

  A Midsummer Night's Dream Music by Felix Mendelssohn David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center New York City Ballet, June 3, 2014 George Balanchine, Founding Choreographer Peter Martins, Ballet Master in Chief New York City Ballet Orchestra Guest Conductor, Paolo Paroni A Midsummer Night's Dream deals with totally unrealistic events including crossed lovers, magic spells, and meaningless arguments. The performance by the New York City Ballet with Balanchine's original choreography integrates broad comedy with magnificent dance for a hugely satisfying evening. Act I opens in a forest near Athens on Midsummer Eve with children from the School of American Ballet, supervised by Dena Abergel and Arch Higgins, dressed as butterflies[...]

Stephen Porter played late works by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and Debussy at the House of the Redeemer in Manhattan, Thursday May 1, at 7.30 pm—a presentation of New York Arts

June 7th, 2014

by Michael Miller

We wish to thank Joan Margot Smith for a generous donation which covered a good part of our initial expenses and made this concert possible. As with most classical concerts, ticket sales are not enough to cover our expenses! Your tax-deductible donations to the Arts Press will make it possible for New York Arts to continue its innovative series of performances, exhibitions, concerts, and symposia...especially to bring Stephen Porter back to New York next year to perform an ambitious, unique Debussy program!  New York Arts was extremely proud to present, as our single concert of this season, a piano recital by Stephen Porter, a musician of [...]

Seneca Rides Again! James Romm, Dying Every Day - Seneca at the Court of Nero

June 6th, 2014

by Michael Miller

James Romm, Dying Every Day - Seneca at the Court of Nero, New York, Knopf, 2014 I was seduced into reviewing this book by a very upbeat and encouraging event at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street—an institution from which little encouraging has emerged in recent years. (Opponents of the obscene plan to gut the stacks and set up an Internet café in their place should remain on the watch!) Following an afternoon of research, during which I learned that in mid-nineteenth century Providence, Rhode Island purveyors of "healthy, hungry leeches" and tamed performing grizzly bears had more vi[...]

King Lear at the National Theatre, London

June 2nd, 2014

by Andrew Miller

King Lear by William Shakespeare National Theatre, Southbank, London: April 11, 2014 continues until July 2. The Earl of Gloucester - Stephen Boxer Edmund - Sam Troughton Edgar - Tom Brooke The Duke of Albany - Richard Clothier The Duke of Burgundy - Paapa Essiedu Lear - Simon Russell Beale Goneril - Kate Fleetwood Regan - Anna Maxwell Martin Cordelia - Olivia Vinall The Duke of Cornwall - Michael Nardone The Fool - Adrian Scarborough The Earl of Kent - Stanley Townsend Director - Sam Mendes Designer - Anthony Ward Lighting Designer - Paul Pyant Music - Paddy Cuneen Projection Designer - Jon Driscoll Fight Director - Terry King Sound Designer -Paul Arditti One of the odd and unique interesting qualities of King[...]

New York Un-Seen: A Gallery

June 1st, 2014

by Michael Miller

When you walk the streets of New York, do you see strange things? Do the familiar signs, window displays, and doorways that structure reality for us because of our needs and desires disappear every now and then, leaving nothing but some mundane phantasm that was there all the time, waiting for you to notice it, perhaps for years? Did you have a camera in your hand or a sketchbook? Sometimes I did, and so have others. Look here for an ongoing exhibition recording the things we don't see in New York.[...]

Joanna Gabler's New York

June 1st, 2014

by Joanna Gabler

  Joanna Gabler, after many years of working as a painter in oils—a medium she continues to explore—and in straight photography, first attempted to combine her different visions in digital photography in 2008. Using common editing tools in her own original way, she attempts to extract the unseen energies behind physical reality. Since then she has visited various cities around the world—her native Warsaw, Odessa, Paris, Venice, and Rome, as well as New York, where she lived thirteen years—and looked at them afresh, with a mode of feeling and seeing that can only be expressed when she has broken down the data sh[...]

Young, Gifted, and Playing Strads...or, It Doesn’t Get Any Better than This!

June 1st, 2014

by Robert Kurilla

Editor's note: This enthusiastic article was written some time ago, when the W.M.P. Concert Hall was at the height of its activity. Sadly it is only a memory now. Emmanuel Gradoux-Matt found it necessary to close his business, and a new owner of the building has decided to gut the premises. The elegant little hall, when I last saw it, was a chaotic demolition site. I believe it is important for you, our readers, to know about this brave enterprise, which was a valuable asset to Manhattan and to its neighborhood, the area around 28th Street and Madison Avenue, a part [...]

Please give generously to support our publication and our events!

May 30th, 2014

by Arts Press

  Please give generously to support The Arts Press publications, New York Arts and the Berkshire Review! Help us pay our writers, present our events, and bring you the best writing on the arts we can create. This is our second year as a fiscal sponsee of Fractured Atlas, a national non-profit arts service organization, which "empowers artists, arts organizations, and other cultural sector stakeholders by eliminating practical barriers to artistic expression, so as to foster a more agile and resilient cultural ecosystem." We are grateful not only for the tax-deductible donations you have generously given in support of the deeply informed and engagingly written reviews and[...]

Throes Theater Company presents the Spalding Grey-inspired Halfway through the Story of Our Life

May 28th, 2014

by Justin Bischof

Halfway through the Story of Our Life Access Theatre May 15 – June 8 (Tuesday - Friday at 8pm; Saturday and Sunday at 8pm & 2pm. Access Theater is located at 380 Broadway between Walker and White Streets, 2 blocks south of Canal. Tickets are $20, available at 800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com. For more info visit www.throestheater.com.) The amazingly talented Alexandra Zelman-Doring’s latest creation is a comic investigation of identity that brings three actresses, three musicians and three composers together for an engaging hour of music and verse. From Ms Doring — “The search that ensues when “we wake to find we have been living in a drea[...]

Handling Handel: Mark Morris’ Acis and Galatea, plus more Handel, Monteverdi, BLO’s I Puritani, the Met’s Cenerentola, and other adventures in opera-land

May 28th, 2014

by Lloyd Schwartz

“Nobody handles Handel like you handle Handel,” Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours The Mark Morris Dance Group was back in Boston with the East Coast premiere of a major new work, Handel’s ravishing pastoral opera Acis and Galatea, under the aegis of the Celebrity Series of Boston, one of the co-commissioners. I loved it. Or to put it more accurately, I’m in love with it, and saw three of its four performances at the Shubert Theatre. Morris has now staged several complete operas and one Handel oratorio. At least two of these are generally regarded as his masterpieces: Purcell’s one-act opera, Dido and Aenea[...]

George Eastman House Light & Motion Gala, May 5, 2014, at Three Sixty° in Tribeca

May 28th, 2014

by Michael Miller

  My direct experience with the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, to give it its full name, began with their latest major restoration project, the recently rediscovered footage Orson Welles shot for the cinematic interludes in his Mercury production of Too Much Johnson. Apart from being a tour de force of conservation, the project underscored one inspiring aspect of the institution. George Eastman House is a museum, but, unlike virtually all art museums, which pride themselves on avoiding acquisitions in compromised condition, it actively seeks out films in need of conservation—that being its primary function, both to fill in the[...]

“Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010,” April 19–August 3, 2014 at the Museum of Modern Art, with an aside on Gerhard Richter

May 25th, 2014

by Virginia Raguin

  “Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010,” April 19–August 3, 2014 at the Museum of Modern Art Bluntly put: this event should not be missed. The first comprehensive overview of the multifaceted German artist Sigmar Polke (1941–2010), the exhibition dominates MoMA’s 2nd floor atrium and 10 subsequent rooms. Consisting of more than 250 works, it is one of the largest ever mounted at the museum. A rich catalogue accompanies the exhibition: Alibis: Sigmar Polke, 1963-2010, edited by Kathy Halbreich with Mark Godfrey, Lanka Tattersall, and Magnus Schaefer. To facilitate engagement, visitors are provided with a 32-page guide, containing all pertinent label information, leaving the walls purif[...]

Steps Beyond Performance Lab Series for Emerging Choreographers, Steps Studio Theater, May 17, 2014

May 21st, 2014

by Mari Gold

  Steps Beyond Performance Lab Series for Emerging Choreographers Steps Studio Theater, May 17, 2014 Choreographers selected from the 2014 REVERBdance Festival applications Performances by Steps Repertory Ensemble and soloists At first, the evening felt a little like an exam, as there was a sheaf of paper and a pencil on each seat, and the audience was told to mark each performance with an eye to musicality, originality, costumes and other information. Afterwards, each sheet would be given to the choreographer, presumably as a guide to fine-tuning his or her work. Some of the dances had a generic quality—black leotards (many with creative riffs), bare feet a[...]

Pianissimo: Memorable keyboard art by Russell Sherman and Marc-André Hamelin and chamber music by the Takács and Borromeo String Quartets trigger some personal reminiscences

May 21st, 2014

by Lloyd Schwartz

  This season marked the 75th Anniversary of the Celebrity Series of Boston, founded by Aaron Richmond, whose daughter, Nancy Richmond Winsten, sponsors the piano events and is still a familiar attendee. I have a deep sense of nostalgia about the Celebrity Series. The very first concert I ever attended in Boston was with the Budapest String Quartet (my favorite quartet) in 1962. It was my first year of graduate school (I was a very young grad student) and I was living on a $1500 a year scholarship. I had neither time nor money for anything as frivolous as a chamber[...]

The Great Composers? Part IV: Scherzo

May 17th, 2014

by Keith Francis

  Some say that the scherzo (literally, a joke) was invented in order to provide a little comic relief between two very serious movements. Sometimes the humor is of a sardonic, eerie or macabre nature. Since one of my aims is to try to find out why, for some people, “classical” music is so much more potent than other kinds of music, and as a connected question, why these people form only a small proportion of the population, I’ll give some examples of the pitfalls that await the unwary “classical” missionary who speaks to high school students or innocent adults. Most of what foll[...]

B-List Works Shine Forth at Symphony Hall. Andrew Davis leads the BSO in Vaughan-Williams, Prokofiev (with Yuja Wang), and Rimsky-Korsakoff

May 17th, 2014

by Larry Wallach

Boston Symphony Orchestra Symphony Hall March 27, 2014 conducted by Andrew Davis Yuja Wang, piano soloist Vaughan-Williams, Symphony no. 6 in E minor Prokofiev, Piano Concerto no. 2 in G minor Rimsky-Korsakoff, Capriccio Espagnol The oeuvre of the each of the greatest, most familiar composers can be imagined as a personal cosmos, a collection of works of great power and quality, spanning a wide range of style and expression. Mention of their names is almost enough to arouse expectations of music belonging on the A-List. Other significant but less ubiquitous composers can be known to concert audiences through small numbers of repeatedly performed works that possess an identifiable[...]

James Conlon leads the San Francisco Symphony in a little "Entartete Musik"

May 16th, 2014

by Steven Kruger

Davies Hall, San Francisco Friday, April 25, 2014 The San Francisco Symphony James Conlon, conductor Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano Mark Inouye, trumpet Schulhoff - Allegro con brio from Symphony No. 5 (1938) Shostakovich - Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 35 (1933) Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Opus 74, Pathetique (1893) If nothing else had been performed this week at the San Francisco Symphony, the Scherzo from Erwin Schulhoff's Fifth Symphony would have been worth the ticket. James Conlon has become an authority in recent years on the subject of "Entartete Musik,” which is to say, music forbidden performance by the Nazis. And he had t[...]

Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York 10th Anniversary Celebration

May 12th, 2014

by Mari Gold

  Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York 10th Anniversary Celebration Symphony Space, New York City, May 10,2014 Valentina Kozlova, Artistic Director Margo Sappington, Choreographer Students of the DCNY with guest artists Valentina Kozlova was born in Moscow and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School where she danced all the major classical roles. In 1979, on tour in the U.S with the Bolshoi, she defected and began her career anew, performing leading roles at the New York City Ballet; appearing at Spoleto, La Scala, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and also on video. In 2003, she opened her ballet school, a pre-professional training program that has[...]

John Douglas Thompson's Magnificent Louis Armstrong in Satchmo at the Waldorf — Last Performance June 29!

May 7th, 2014

by Michael Miller

  with Julia Rosa Stöckl Satchmo at the Waldorf by Terry Teachout directed by Gordon Edelstein starring John Douglas Thompson John Douglas Thompson's brilliant performance as Louis Armstrong in Terry Teachout's Satchmo at the Waldorf was one of the great moments of Shakespeare and Company's 2012 season. As we rose from our seats after the performance, my companions and I were emotionally drained, that is, deeply moved, and we agreed that the play and its message were important. With John Douglas Thompson on stage the whole experience seemed overwhelming and beyond criticism. Yet shortly after the performance, an encounter with some of those responsible brought me [...]

A Week of Music in Chapel Hill: Two Conductors, Two Concerts, One Young Composer, a fine Pianist and a Cat

May 5th, 2014

by Steven Kruger

  This is a piece about coming of age, so I suppose I should start with Tonu Kalam's cat, always more vocal than musical, but who has approached gravitas since kittenhood two years ago with remarkably matured powers of persuasion! "Dolce" belongs to Kalam and his fiancée, Karyn Ostrom. And his progress towards getting what he wants with supreme efficiency seems to match the improvements I hear in the UNC Symphony Orchestra, which Kalam directs and manages, and where Karyn plays violin among the firsts. In his maturity, "Dolce" has nearly mastered the front doorknob to go outside and roll all over the concrete pat[...]

A Season of Baroque Instrumental Music in New York—Mostly Bach

May 4th, 2014

by Michael Miller

  Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall Thursday, February 20, 2014, 7.30 pm Fabio Biondi, Violin Kenneth Weiss, Harpsichord J. S. Bach - Violin Sonata in G Major, BWV 1021 J. S. Bach - Violin Sonata No. 6 in G Major, BWV 1019 J. S. Bach - Violin Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, BWV 1017 J. S. Bach - Italian Concerto, BWV 971 P. A. Locatelli - Sonata in D Minor, Op. 6, No. 12 Encore: J. S. Bach - Cantabile, ma non poco Adagio from Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord in G Major, BWV 1019a Words like "Lively," "energetic," and "idiosyncratic" are understatements when it comes to the fiery interpretations of[...]

Please give generously to support our publication and our events!

May 1st, 2014

by Arts Press

  Please give generously to support The Arts Press publications, New York Arts and the Berkshire Review! Help us pay our writers, present our events, and bring you the best writing on the arts we can create. This is our second year as a fiscal sponsee of Fractured Atlas, a national non-profit arts service organization, which "empowers artists, arts organizations, and other cultural sector stakeholders by eliminating practical barriers to artistic expression, so as to foster a more agile and resilient cultural ecosystem." We are grateful not only for the tax-deductible donations you have generously given in support of the deeply informed and engagingly written reviews and[...]

Bomarzo tra il Santo Biscotto e la Fava Marxista: La Festa di Sant'Anselmo (April 23-25, 2014)

April 22nd, 2014

by Michael Miller

My days in Bomarzo in 2009 did not show the town at its most industrious...or, on the contrary, perhaps it did. The end of April and the beginning of May mark holiday season in this medieval hill town of fewer than 1800 inhabitants. The third weekend of the month and the weekdays that lead up to it mark the festival of the local saint, Saint Anselm of Bomarzo, the 25th also being the national holiday of the Liberation. The following weekend embraces May Day, the international celebration of the working man and woman, which needs no explanation. A young person[...]