By the mid-1950′s, big band jazz was in decline. Duke Ellington (1899-1974) kept his group together with money from his music royalties. (During his lifetime, Ellington composed more than 3,000 songs.) He signed a deal to record two albums for the Bethlehem label in 1956. “Duke Ellington Presents” and “Historically Speaking” were the two LP’s …Read More
“The Drop That Contained the Sea” is an ambitious work by Chinese-American composer Christopher Tin. It is also successful, artistically and commercially. The CD (on the composer’s own label, Tin Works) debuted as number one on Billboard Music’s traditional classical albums. Tin has won two Grammy Awards, one for his 2009 classical crossover album “Calling …Read More
The life of Joan of Arc has inspired countless works (of varying quality), including plays by Schiller, Shaw, Anderson and Anouilh and films by Dreyer, Bresson, Fleming and Preminger. The play by Schiller inspired Verdi’s opera, “Giovanna D’Arco” and was one of the sources of Tchaikovsky’s opera, “The Maid of Orleans.” The Schiller play and …Read More
Pilar Lorengar (1928-1996) was a leading opera singer for over three decades. The one time I saw her in person was at a Promenades concert at Lincoln Center. (For these summertime concerts at Philharmonic Hall, now known as Avery Fisher Hall, the seats were removed and replaced by small tables and chairs.) My family was …Read More
Bass-baritone George London (1920 –1985) was born in Montreal to Russian Jewish immigrants. When he was 15, his family moved to Los Angeles and he attended Hollywood High School and then Los Angeles City College, where he enrolled in an opera workshop. In 1947, he toured as a member of the Bel Canto Trio with …Read More
“Atomic” is a new off-Broadway musical about the creation of the first nuclear bomb.
The show has a book and lyrics by Danny Ginges and Gregory Bonsignore, and music and lyrics by Philip Foxman. “Atomic” was first performed in Australia. The New York production has a new cast of top-flight performers but they fail to …Read More
As Pete Seeger lay dying at age 94 this past January, his wish was to have friends visiting his hospital room sing folksongs to him. And he certainly would have been pleased at the concert presented by Lincoln Center as part of its Out of Doors Festival in honor of Pete and Toshi, his wife …Read More
The breeze is so cool
like a swirling pool
with the warm sand
blowing in on our island.…Read More
Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” is a difficult play to present effectively and the production presented by Baruch Performing Arts Center and TGW Acting Studio and directed by Thomas G. Waites is uneven.
The play begins with a sort of prologue in which a drunken tinker named Christopher Sly (Joshua Walter) is tricked into …Read More
An unknown 20 year old with a history of psychiatric and drug problems arrived in London in 1968 and within days was recording his debut album for Apple Records. The label was founded that year by the Beatles and it was an artist-focused label, reflecting their tastes and those of Peter Asher (formerly a member …Read More
The New York Musical Theatre Festival is presenting “The Mapmaker’s Opera,” an ambitious new musical based on the novel of the same name by Bea Gonzalez. Victor Kazan wrote the book and lyrics and Kevin Purcell the music. There is much to commend in the work despite its flaws.
The action takes place in the …Read More
The sun is pouring rays of love
with every shining peace and whisper
on every leaf glows a prayer
on every gentle flower a word
with every fish swims the sound
every hour baskets of change
our life flowing into miracles.…Read More
The smile sends a friend
Into a peaceful descend
In the flowers gentle colors
Opens the scent of God’s door
To our heaven’s floor
Within faiths beauty
Is the portrait to summers dynasty.
The tea of summer
Grows the finest measure
Planting a masterpiece to joyful days
Warmness to inspire
Dressed in healthy attire
The honey of summer
Brings roses of the purest
A Velvet lace
Of the highest power.
By: JoyAnne O’Donnell…Read More
Savion Glover’s dance work, “OM,” begins with a recording of Kenny Garrett’s “Calling,” a jazz piece in the spiritual style of John Coltrane. Then, the stage is filled with votive candles, religious artifacts (a crucifix, a statue of Buddha, and a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi) and the images of famous African-American dancers (Michael Jackson, Gregory …Read More
If you’re seeking an evening of charm and romance, head to the Irish Repertory Theater where Gardner McKay’s “Sea Marks” has been enchanting audiences.
This two character play starts an epistolary work, letters back and forth between a man and woman. Colm Primrose (Patrick Fitzgerald) is a fisherman in a remote island in the west …Read More
The 1958 production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Don Carlo” at Covent Garden is legendary for its combination of remarkable talents, notably the conductor Carlo Maria Giulini, the director of Luchino Visconti, and three of the greatest singing actors of the last century: Jon Vickers, Tito Gobbi and Boris Christoff. Unfortunately, there is no video available but …Read More
I recently had a conversation with two of my colleagues at work. The man was telling about his plan to fly to California with his husband and one-year old child. The woman recounted her experiences traveling with infants. That conversation could not have happened a decade ago and, just as President Obama evolved on the …Read More
Gaetano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” is one of the comic gems of Italian opera. The work premiered in 1843, five years before the prolific composer’s death. Opus Arte has just released a DVD of the winning 2013 Glyndebourne Festival production. The main attraction is the star turn by the captivating Danielle de Niese, but other pleasures …Read More
The Italian musical comedy “Rugantino” last played in New York for three weeks in 1964. For the 50th anniversary of the Broadway production, a revival returned to City Center (131 West 55th Street) for three performances (June 12, 13 and 14).
With a large cast, an impressive revolving set, singing and dancing and a lot …Read More