Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’
A recent visit to London offered interestingly comparable back-to-back performances: Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck at the English National Opera, London Coliseum, Saturday evening, May 25th; and the next afternoon Shakespeare’s Othello at the National Theatre. Both works center on a military man, mad from the start or driven mad as things progress, who comes to kill his lover (female) out of sexual jealousy, and then kills himself. Comparison of the two works (the Berg opera, of course, based on Georg Büchner’s play Woyzeck) can lead one into interesting thoughts on the nature of tragedy, modern tragedy versus classical tragedy, the function of character and fate in such dramas, and so on. But remarkably, these two London productions were given the same setting: the military world of the recent Iraq and current Afghanistan wars—thereby making a particular and strong point about the nature of experiential and environmental pressures upon such characters as we see.
I wish I could like this production more. Clearly well-intentioned and sincerely played, it still did not touch the center of the fearsome verse. Betsy Holt as Lady Macbeth was eloquent, but did not convince me she would kill a baby. The charismatic Gino Costabile as Macbeth fell into shouting too often and not only in [...]
The Acting Company’s As You Like It in Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Wednesday, March 13th, was quite the gentlest performance of the play I have seen. The wrestling scene was mercifully brief, the songs sweet and soft, the relationships clear as a bell without exaggeration. For me, the center of this approach was the excellent [...]
One of the valuable things the Bard Music Festival teaches its audiences is just how arbitrary the classical canon is. While that can’t be said of Wagner or Elgar, we learned that Prokofiev and Sibelius are most visible in concert programs and recordings through works which are not necessarily their most personal or interesting, or perhaps even their best. As managers, virtuosi, and critics grind the classical sausage from a noble saucisson de Lyon into a hot dog, the nature of the classical loses its individuality and becomes uniform and bland. The fame of Camille Saint-Saëns, on the other hand, is linked to virtually no work at all — perhaps the Carnival of the Animals or the “Organ” Symphony, which is not really performed all that often today. This immaculate work acquired a bad reputation among critics, largely because it is extraordinarily loud in places — just the right places to produce wild applause from an audience — far too effectively for the tastes of the snobbish American critics of the late 1950s and 1960s, when it had two especially potent advocates, Charles Munch and Paul Paray. Curiously, Saint-Saëns has a bad reputation as an opera composer, although another one of his few works in the standard repertory, his Samson et Dalila, is an opera.
A special Valentine’s Day production from Opera Manhattan, Women on the Verge, is all about women unhappy in love. The centerpiece of the production will be Poulenc’s one-act monodrama for soprano, La Voix Humaine. The production also includes two monodramas by contemporary composer Thomas Pasatieri. Lady Macbeth is based on five speeches from the [...]
Women on the Verge 2012: Three Mono-operas about Women Unhappy in Love – Two by Pasatieri and La Voix humaine by Poulenc after Cocteau, including Kala Maxym and Roza Tulyaganova
Women on the Verge 2012 Opera Manhattan presents a special Valentine’s Day production, Women on the Verge, all about women unhappy in love. The centerpiece of the production will be Poulenc’s one-act monodrama for soprano, La Voix Humaine, which hasn’t been presented in New York City since 1993. If the opera isn’t familiar, the story is–a [...]
The Bridge Project’s Richard III, by William Shakespeare, with Kevin Spacey, at BAM…with a backward look at the Donmar Warehouse King Lear
This production of Shakespeare’s Richard III has reached BAM after a sold-out run at the Old Vic and a tour which included Epidavros, Istanbul, Naples, Sydney, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, and San Francisco, among others. This reminded me of the sort of thing the British Council does, but of course this Shakespearian globe-trotting was a private enterprise, funded largely by Bank of America and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. And course the whole point of the production’s parent organization, The Bridge Project, was to combine British and American casts. Perhaps there should be an organization beyond the British Council to cultivate, study, and promote the global English language, as it used on the streets and in literature around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Nigeria, Guyana, and others. And the way English is behaving in the physical and cyber-world today, it may need some international body to encourage it in good manners, kicking it under the table, when it starts to monopolize the conversation.
The Comedy of Errors By William Shakespeare Propeller Directed by Edward Hall BAM Harvey Theater With Richard Clothier, John Dougall, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Sam Swainsbury, Richard Frame, Jon Trenchard, Robert Hands, David Newman, Wayne Cater, Thomas Padden, Dominic Tighe, Kelsey Brookfield, Tony Bell, Chris Myles To revisit The Comedy of Errors is to marvel at Shakespeare’s [...]