Classical Music, Opera, Theatre, Photography, Art, Books, Travel, Food & Drink – the View from Western New England

Archive for September, 2014

Lucy Bardo and Hilda Banks Shapiro to play Romantic Music at Simon’s Rock, October 5, 3:00 pm

Many of you know that my esteemed colleague Lucy Bardo is one of the first and best American viola da gamba players through her work with such prestigious and pioneering ensembles as the NY Consort of Viols and Calliope and her concertizing here and abroad. Her long career has paralleled the growing awareness of and love for the instrument among the public in the United States over the past half-century or so. I have enjoyed the privilege of performing with her on many occasions—she is a total musician whose playing blends subtlety and nuance with power and authority.

Elizabeth Aspenlieder and Angel Moore in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Photo Kevin Sprague.

A Singer’s Notes 96: Vanya and Sonia and Sasha and Spike at Shakespeare and Company; The Mousetrap at Dorset Theatre Festival

I heard Matthew Penn’s direction of Christopher Durang’s Chekhov play as a collision of energies—almost a rant against reticent Chekhov and his gazing, yearning characters. The play depends pretty much on the performance of Masha, an aging movie actress. Elizabeth Aspenlieder had all that was needed to make this character work.






A Singer’s Notes 95: The Henry Plays at Shakespeare and Company

Jonathan Epstein undertook a courageous and largely successful project making an evening’s performance out of the Henry plays. I could have used a little more Doll Tearsheet and a little less Ancient Pistol, but I understand choices have to be made. The narrative was clear throughout, and there were some surprising and gently humorous touches to leaven the loaf. Malcolm Ingram was an absolutely wonderful Falstaff. Seedy, not always assured – he didn’t sport the pomposo attitude we often see. His was a kind of seat-of-the-pants, make it up as you go, Falstaff.






Julia Scott Carey, conductor of Gianni Schicchi

A Singer’s Notes 94: Local Excellence… and a Rare Unamplified Performance of a Broadway Musical!

Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre once again filled its house and earned rave applause for its production of Gianni Schicchi, by Giacomo Puccini. This opera which seems so straight out and comfortable is actually a very hard score, both vocally and orchestrally. It could fairly be called the most intricate of Puccini’s compositions. This is why it […]