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Music

A Wake and a Wedding

November 11, 2014

Encompass New Opera Theatre, under longtime director Nancy Rhodes, is presenting the East Coast premiere of Richard Pearson Thomas's chamber opera A Wake or a Wedding at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. The opera is a burlesque of 19th Century melodrama, with stereotypical characters and a series of silly 'revelations' to resolve the convoluted plot. The music uses an accessible mid-century modernist style, conservative but not inappropriately so. [more]

Barb Jungr: Hard Rain

November 3, 2014

In "Hard Rain," Jungr performs songs which capture the artists' views on subjects involving what she calls the three "P"s: philosophical, political, and personal. These are the issues that pulled the heartstrings of Dylan and Cohen and were the driving force behind most of their lyrics written back in the tumultuous 60's. [more]

Sichuan Opera Theater of Chengdu: Raging Waves in the Sea of Desire

November 1, 2014

Acclaimed playwright Xiu Fen – one of China's most influential contemporary women writers – takes Eugene O'Neill's setting and opening plot elements, transforming Puritan New England into a small Chinese village, and focuses on the cruel, miserly old man, his new, very young and beautiful wife, and the young son who enters into an adulterous affair with his father's bride. O'Neill himself, writing stunningly innovative plays in the early twentieth century, looked to ancient Greek tragedies for his inspiration and to tragedy's archetypal figures. [more]

He Wrote Good Songs: A Life of Anthony Newley

October 29, 2014

Jon Peterson's dazzling performance in "He Wrote The Good Songs" will enthrall admirers of Anthony Newley and joyously enlighten those interested in show business that are unfamiliar with him. These are all interspersed with very well chosen and delivered biographical reminiscences that are addressed to the audience. Included is a hilarious recounting of the nine-month film shoot of Dr. Doolittle, and unpleasant co-star Rex Harrison "who was bitten by every animal" and nicknamed "Tyrannosaurs Rex" by the crew. Through expert mimicry Peterson also portrays various figures from Newley's life such as his parents, a stuffy teacher, and producer David Merrick. [more]

New York Pops: All You Need Is Love: The Music of The Beatles

October 28, 2014

Despite the sometimes-questionable song selection and orchestration choices, All You Need Is Love upheld the New York Pops' well-established standard of excellence. Reineke's unparalleled expertise and steady hand provide evenings of culture, history and entertainment time and time again. [more]

Voices of the Tarantate

October 28, 2014

Choosing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month as the time to premiere her Voices of the Tarantate, internationally acclaimed Italian singer and dancer Alessandra Belloni led her dance troupe, Daughters of Cybele, with additional dancers and performers, in a remarkable performance whose purpose was to examine the annihilating violence of domestic sexual abuse, to identify the rituals of song, dance and folk traditions that can heal the pain, and to celebrate rebirth, wholeness and sanctifying joy. [more]

Gotham Chamber Opera: Alexandre bis & Comedy on the Bridge

October 26, 2014

Since 2001, Gotham Chamber Opera has specialized in the production of major operas – well known, not known, new, traditional, experimental – and has developed a reputation for intelligence and a consistently high level of artistic integrity. This pair of Martinu comic operas, sung by an enthusiastic young cast performing on a gorgeously set stage, preserves Gotham Chamber Opera's fine reputation. [more]

Richard Holbrook: The Untapped Fred Astaire Revisited

October 24, 2014

The debonair Holbrook sang his way down memory lane with his enchanting voice and interesting stories about Astaire that he shared in-between songs, many showing a side to the man that is relatively unknown. This is one of the aspects of the show that makes it intriguing and a must-see for those who appreciate the talents of this widely respected artist.  

Most remember Fred Astaire for his singing and dancing, and for his movie roles, but there was much more to the man. [more]

Parthenia Viol Consort presents “For Ye Violls”

October 17, 2014

English baroque court music is steeped in contradictions. It is both intimate and public; it is conventional and playful; it is topical and occasional on the one hand and non-specifically accessible on the other. Lawes inherited these basic contradictions together with the demanding formal features of traditional musical genres. Within these constraints, he was so daringly inventive that artistic freedom is ultimately more his signature than genre or time period. [more]

Rococo Rouge

September 20, 2014

    Shelly Watson on mike and company members in a scene from Rococo Rouge (Photo credit: [more]

The Power of Love: Two New Operatic Musicals

September 20, 2014

it was almost entirely slow music, and over 90 minutes of it, something which might give even a Wagnerian pause. This is billed as a new piece, so perhaps it's not too late to suggest that the authors consider some discreet compression, as the opera might benefit from judicious cuts. It takes perhaps half an hour to read the original story, and its brevity is one reason for its effectiveness; but this was more than three times that length, though the original Hawthorne plot has been only very slightly expanded. [more]

Marilyn Maye: The 14th Annual Kathryn W. Stein Memorial Concert

June 30, 2014

"I've been a pauper, a poet—no! That's not right! How does it go?" she feigned confusion as the audience called out lyrics before she launched into a rollicking "That's Life." Having seen the original cast of My Fair Lady, she was transfixed at observing Rex Harrison on the street soon after and "stalked him" she recounted before singing a touching "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face" and a jazzy "On the Street Where You Live." [more]

The Tender Land

June 28, 2014

Strongest in the cast were Ms. Brittingham as Laurie and Mr. Fredericks as Grandpa. Some of the other singers were defeated by the church acoustics, and director Lynne Hayden-Findlay did what she could with the impossibly tiny playing area. Conductor Samuel McCoy kept everything running smoothly and the ensemble sounded well. [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1990 – 2014

June 23, 2014

Two sensational sequences were dances from Forever Tango and Swing! Mark Stuart and Mindy Wallace breathtakingly did a super sensual "Libertango," climaxing with him tossing and catching her a few times. "Don't try that at home," joked Siegel. "Sing, Sing, Sing" appeared in Swing! and Fosse, both in 1999, and was aggressively and euphorically tapped and choreographed by charismatic Jimmy Sutherland. [more]

Peggy Eason: “I’ll Show Them All!”

June 15, 2014

Award-winning director Lennie Watts lived up to his reputation for his part in making the night a success and acclaimed musical director Steven Ray Watkins brought the piano to life with his accompaniment to her songs. [more]

Waking in New York

June 8, 2014

The three sopranos, Compassion, Freedom I and Freedom II, whether singing alone or in various combinations, functioned as the voices of Ginsberg's muses, embodying individual threads of Ginsberg's philosophical preoccupations and convictions. [more]

Gotham Chamber Opera: The Raven

June 5, 2014

The understanding of music as an exploration of the shifting relationship of sound and silence, of creation and emptiness echoes Poe's purposes in The Raven: the story of a love lost and never to be recovered is also an exploration of constantly shifting experiences of discovery and loss, hope and despair, communion and isolation, life and death. [more]

Megan Hilty at the Café Carlyle

June 3, 2014

“For years I walked by this place and saw all the fancy people going in. It’s a dream come true to be here,” said Megan Hilty during her wonderfully eclectic debut cabaret show at the Café Carlyle. [more]

The Collegiate Chorale: David Lang’s battle hymns

May 26, 2014

David Lang's forty-five minute long piece is divided into five movements, all a cappella, with the exception of the fourth movement in which a snare drum is played throughout. Three of the five movements the first, third and fifth use Stephen Foster (1826-1864) song texts; the text of the second movement is Lang's adaptation of Civil War soldier Sullivan Ballou's letter to his wife, a now famous document that encapsulates the ways in which the war shredded domestic lives; the text of the fourth movement is Lincoln's core statement about both identity and citizenship, As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. [more]

Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1965 – 1989

May 26, 2014

"For many of us this was our golden age," said creator, writer and host Scott Siegel in his introduction that for many present devotees of the art form that this evening's presentation was very meaningful as this was the era in which they came of age seeing many of these shows in their original productions and they are quite appreciative of them. [more]

R. Nathaniel Dett’s The Ordering of Moses

May 22, 2014

The performance was superb both for its innate musical excellence a first rate piece of music was given a first rate presentation and for the explanation of the work's difficult, extended history in predominantly white concert venues. [more]

The Cecelia Chorus of New York with Orchestra

May 10, 2014

Mark Shapiro, music director and conductor of The Cecilia Chorus, explained in the program notes that the evening would present an exploratory voyage through the spiritual cosmos, searching out the individual's place in the universe. [more]

The Canticum Novum Singers Johann Sebastian Bach, St. Matthew Passion, BWV

April 29, 2014

As always, the bright, clear acoustics of St. Jean Baptiste at Lexington Avenue and 76th Street served the music and the musicians well. The church's highly ornamented, shiny blue, white and gold American Baroque interior seemed at first at odds with Bach's Passion story. Throughout the sanctuary, however, major statues were shrouded head to toe in the purple cloths of Lent; it was as if unknown and unnamed witnesses mourned in the midst of glitter and jewels. [more]

Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “Getting to Know You: Rodgers and Hammerstein”

March 29, 2014

Every song was well chosen to demonstrate the versatility and range of R & H and the singers all met the challenge. Rebecca sang the often neglected "The Gentleman is a Dope" (Allegro) and turned it into a showstopper. The show closed with "Edelweiss" (Sound of Music) that Ted said people think is an old Austrian folk song but was written by these legendary collaborators. It was the perfect ending for a wonderful tribute to a never to be duplicated writing team whose shows and music will live forever. [more]

Random Access Music presents Parthenia, A Consort of Viols, “Prisms: Ancient Courses in A New Light”

November 15, 2013

On November 8, 2013 in the welcoming Benzaquen Hall performing space of the DeMenna Center in Manhattan, Random Access Music, a New York City based consortium of contemporary composers, presented an evening of new music created specifically for the highly acclaimed viol consort, Parthenia. The program opened with a brief welcome from Allen Schulz, president and founding member of Random Access Music. He noted that plans for collaboration between Parthenia and RAM began almost two years ago; this November 8 concert of RAM's 2013-2014 season was the first of what many hope will be continued future collaborations. [more]

Spotlight on Ahrens and Flaherty: Dessa Rose and a Merkin Hall Tribute Concert

March 28, 2005

The 12-person cast, as staged by longtime Ahrens & Flaherty director Daniele Graciele, presents a moving tale throughout the show. However, the material, especially in Ahren's dialogue scenes, can be very repetitive and can seem overly sentimental. This is often the case with Ahrens & Flaherty shows, which usually contain a batch of stunning musical numbers performed by excellent actors in shows that never seem to be perfected – say "My Favorite Year," "Ragtime," and "A Man of No Importance." Of course, one is glad that Ahrens & Flaherty's shows get regularly produced on Broadway, Off Broadway, and at Lincoln Center. [more]
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