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Month: August 2008

Discoveries in Wine and in Life

Probably everyone who gets hooked by the intrigue and challenge and pleasure of wine has one of those aha! moments that marks a turning point in their appreciation of it.

Geraldine Ramer

About Geraldine Ramer

Geraldine Ramer lived in Paris in the mid-1980s where she attended classes and tastings at the Academie du Vin. She worked in the wine trade for 18 years and has been writing about wine since 2001.

The Kettle Ponds of Wellfleet (Part II)

Lucy Vivante’s notes on the history of Wellfleet’s kettle ponds.

About Lucy Vivante

Lucy Vivante is an art dealer, translator, travel writer, and food expert who lives in Rome, near the Campo de’ Fiori market. She writes on old master drawings in her blog, Vivante Drawings, and on olive oil for the Olive Oil Times (http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/).

Richard Wagner, Das Liebesverbot, after Shakespeare, Glimmerglass Opera

From the sprightly start of the overture, you know this is not Bayreuth’s Wagner. The Glimmerglass Opera, as part of its Shakespeare-themed season, presents the North American fully-staged premiere of Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love), Wagner’s own topsy-turvy adaptation of Measure for Measure. It was only his second full-length piece (the first was Die Feen—the Fairies—another rarity), initially staged in 1836. The overture sets up the quarrel to follow between somber ascetic and antic carnivalesque impulses. If you know Shakespeare’s play you think you know who wins, but Wagner makes some significant alterations.

About Heidi Holder

Heidi Holder is trained in dramatic literature and theater history, and currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has published essays on British, American, Irish, and Canadian drama; her performance reviews have appeared in Theatre Journal. When not teaching or attending productions she is engaged in a study of Victorian working-class theater–plays highly unlikely ever to be staged again.

Gustavo Dudamel leads the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra at the Proms

Wunderkindfest. Unless you are a stubborn opinionator, performances can confuse you at times. I was flummoxed last night at the Proms by Gustavo Dudamel and his Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, in a concert I was expecting to enjoy, though not to the utmost. The Berlioz Symphonie fantastique wore out its welcome many years ago, and only a brilliant performance can redeem it for me. That Dudamel did not deliver. Sparkling as he is in the bright media limelight, the skyrocketing young Venezuelan has to have the goods, too. In this case, his reading was flat, disjointed, and plodding, with a drawn-out Scene aux champs that lasted long enough for Madame Defarge to knit a quilt. The guillotine movement that followed was coarse and blatty, which is how the whole reading went, either in slow mo with exaggerated emphases or sped up recklessly. Dudamel’s inability to sustain tension in soft passages, one of the most blatant failings in a bad conductor, shocked me.

Huntley Dent

About Huntley Dent

Huntley Dent is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Santa Fe.

Shakespeare’s Othello, directed by Tony Simotes, Shakespeare and Company 2008

Othello stands out in an almost indefinable way among the tragedies of Shakespeare. It seems to take its entire color and fabric from the extravagant imagination, behavior, and language of its exotic hero. This conforms perfectly well to Shakespeare’s methods in Hamlet, Coriolanus, and Lear, for example, but Othello’s outlandishness (to use the original sense of the word as well as its more current metaphorical connotations) imparts his character and his language with an open-ended quality which effect us as pure color and emotivity—the famous musical quality of the play.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

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