Archive for February, 2009
Richard Wagner, Tristan und Isolde, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Sir Andrew Davis, Deborah Voigt as Isolde
This season Tristan has returned as a vehicle for Deborah Voigt, who sang her first Salome in the house two years ago. She appears in the production by David Hockney originally conceived for the Los Angeles Opera in 1987. The artist’s creation of child-like fantasy worlds can be effective in an opera like Turandot. But there is no more adult work in the repertoire than Tristan, and Wagner’s drama was not well served by these sets and costumes. The saturated primary colors, the cardboard cut-out swords, the Christmas pageant king – I found all of it a fourth grade distraction from the musical and philosophical seriousness of the piece.
Of all the events in the year, I can’t think of anything I anticipate quite as keenly as the Bard Music Festival, which is dedicated to exploring the life and works of major composers in the broad context of the culture in which they lived. The organizers accomplish this through the most diverse concert programs, as well as a series of symposia and colloquia involving prominent specialists not only in the composer in question, but in whatever tangential subjects are thought to be relevant. The Music Festival, which will celebrate its twentieth anniversary this year, has been part of a larger enterprise, Bard Summerscape, for some years, which brings in dance, theater, film, and cabaret performances, the latter in the Festival’s popular Spiegeltent.
Strained relations. Wagner’s Ring cycle was once famously described (by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, I believe) as a family quarrel. At least it’s more than that, which might not be true of the plot to Verdi’s troubled, vexing, and beautiful Simon Boccanegra. Like several other operas in the Verdi canon, it comes to us as a late revision of a failed early work. Yet even though the revision called upon the considerable talents of Arrigo Boito, who coaxed the aged composer to write Falstaff and Otello by supplying him with irresistible words, Boccanegra is indecipherable. If your child can solve Rubik’s cube, give him this story to untwist. More of that anon.
The Cherry Orchard Ethan Hawke, Sinead Cusack, Paul Jesson in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, photo Joan Marcus by Anton Chekhov A new version of the play by Tom Stoppard Directed by Sam Mendes The Bridge Project, a Co-production of BAM, The Old Vic, and Neal Street Productions Harvey Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, […]
Review by Lucas Miller. Written by Arthur Miller | Directed by John Dove | Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, 16 January – 14 February. Cast: David Beeves – Philip Cumbus Shory – Matthew Pidgeon JB Feller – Andrew Vincent Andrew Falk and Augie Belfast – Peter Harding Patterson Beeves – Ron Donachie Amos Beeves – Perri […]
Lucas Miller reviews this amusing farce of the 1920s, revived and adapted by Alan Ayckbourn, at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh.