• Duke Ellington’s Rare Bethlehem Albums Are Available on CD

    30 Years of Duke Ellington Hits

    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 …

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  • Christopher Tin’s Masterful Work on the Theme of Water

    The large scale choral work  describes water in all its forms

    “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 …

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  • Netrebko Sings Divinely as Verdi’s Giovanna D’Arco

    Anna Netrebko and Placido Domingo as Father and Daughter

    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 …

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  • Remembering One of Spain’s Leading Sopranos: Pilar Lorengar

    A new set featuring the Spanish soprano singing opera and songs

    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 …

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  • George London’s Artistry in the Opera House and in Show Tunes

    The Great American Bass-Baritone Singing Show Tunes and Wagner Arias

    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 …

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  • A Rock Musical about Nuclear Fission

    A musical about the development of the A-bomb

    “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 …

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  • To Everything There is a Season: Remembering Pete and Toshi Seeger

    Judy Collins singing "Turn, Turn, Turn"

    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 …

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  • Ocean Breeze poem for inspiration

    The breeze is so cool

    like a swirling pool

    with the warm sand

    blowing in on our island.…

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  • A Boisterous Production of “The Taming of the Shrew” at Baruch

    Michael Moss and Elissa Klie as Petruchio and Kate

    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 …

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  • “Essential James Taylor” – Highlights from the Singer-Songwriter’s 45 Year Career

    Highlights from the Singer-Songwriter's 45 year career

    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 …

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  • Love, Birds and Revolution in “The Mapmaker’s Opera”

    Joel Perez (Diego Clemente) and Madeleine Featherby (Sofia Duarte)

    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 …

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  • Sunlight

    The Poetess 

    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.…

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  • The Portrait of Beauty poem



    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.


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  • Tea and Honey

    The tea of summer

    Grows the finest measure

    Planting a masterpiece to joyful days

    Natural ways

    Warmness to inspire

    Dressed in healthy attire

    The honey of summer

    Brings roses of the purest

    Fresh flowers

    Twinkling showers

    Heavens embrace

    A Velvet  lace

    Vibrant towers 

    Of the highest power.

     By: JoyAnne O’Donnell…

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  • Savion Glover’s “OM” Seeks Transcendence Through Tap Dance

    OM (Savion Glover and Company)

    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 …

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  • Gardner McKay’s “Sea Marks:” A Lonely Sailor Finds Romance at Irish Rep

    photo by Carol Rosegg

    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 …

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  • Verdi’s “Don Carlo” in all its Majesty

    A legendary performance with Gobbi, Vickers and Christoff

    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 …

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  • Alternative Lifestyles on the Boards

    Photo by Joan Marcus

    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 …

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  • Glyndebourne’s “Don Pasquale” with Danielle de Niese

    Alessandro Corbelli and Danielle de Niese prove there's no fool like an old fool

    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 …

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  • “Rugantino” is Still Enjoyable After All These Years

    photo by Pino Le Pera

    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 …

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