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Tag Archive for ‘Shakespeare and Company’

Allyn Burrows emerges from a chest in "Or" at Shakespeare & Company, 2016. Photo Ava G. Lindenmaier.

Allyn Burrows, Shakespeare and Company’s New Artistic Director, talks to Michael Miller about the 2017 season…and much else.

Shakespeare and Company, a presence in Lenox since its foundation in 1978 by Tina Packer and Kristen Linklater, has undergone some seismic challenges in recent years, and there has at times been some concern about its future, but it continues to soldier on with its richly and solidly matured education programs and performances that seem to only to get better and better. Now, following a brilliant season (2016) and looking forward to what promises to be another equally exciting program this summer, all the upheavals seem basically of academic interest, and I’ll let you wait until someone publishes a history of this company, which wears its laurels so lightly that some, I believe, underestimate just how important it is, not only for the history of Shakespeare performance in this country, but anywhere.





A Singer’s Notes 133: The Bookclub Play and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, coming up at Shakespeare and Company

The Bookclub Play Karen Zacarias’s The Bookclub Play at Hubbard Hall was rather like a sporting event. There were jabs and plenty of taunting throughout the farce. Like most comedies on the edge of farce, the play moved in circles, many repetitions, the clock rolling around full circle. There was some very fine acting. Oliver […]



Singer’s Notes 129: The Consul, the Tramp, and America’s Sweetheart at Oldcastle; Hamlet at Shakespeare & Co.; Kožená at Union College

Yet another success for this Company. There was vivid acting. Elizabeth Aspenlieder, as Mary Pickford, is an arresting actress, her voice resonant, her intentions clear. Ms. Aspenlieder enlivens every role she takes. She makes the character happen. There was an exceptional performance from David Joseph in the role of Charlie Chaplin. His work on the role, particularly the physical aspect of the character had a completeness which he imagined carefully and made his own.





Alexina Jones

A Singer’s Notes 128: Alexina Jones leaves Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre; Two Gentlemen and Henry VI at Shakespeare and Company

A singular departure this year at summer’s end. Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre (of Cambridge, New York), the dream-child of Alexina Jones, has lost its creator and mentor. She goes on to a position with Saratoga Arts. This young women is an intrepid creator. She built a company from nothing, fit it into the seasonal circumstances of Hubbard Hall, and with the help of her husband, Jason Dolmetsch, plodded through hundreds of hours of planning, auditioning, fund-raising. The Company started out in a modest way—a few instruments, mostly local singers. One of the first of these singers, Kara Cornell, turned in a Carmen that was utterly believable. Watching an opera of this sort in a small hall requires detailed specific acting; the grand gestures seem absurd.





David Snider, Ron Komora, Deb Borthwick, Abbey Maher, Rob Forgett and Kyra Fitzgerald in Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" at Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education in Cambridge, N.Y. John Sutton / Hubbard Hall.

A Singer’s Notes 121: A Miscellany

So many things. First, you must get in your car, and go see Hubbard Hall Theatre Company’s The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The performances of David Andrew Snider and Erin Ouellette, the central couple of the drama, must be seen. Theirs were fully realized, lived in performances. Silence became a subtle participant. Their final dialogue was riveting. There was generosity between these actors. Not just listening, but generous listening, selfless listening.





The Boston Conservatory Grand Opening Performance featuring Joseph Silverstein, violin Photo Eric Antoniou.

A Singer’s Notes 119: Fall Festival, Shakespeare and Company, 2015; Jacob’s Ladder

Great musical communities are very like a ladder, the humblest freshman at conservatory, right up to the geniuses at the top. Music students have a natural capacity to worship great artists. First, there is a sense of wonder that a human being can do something so beautiful with a piece of wood or a small muscle in the throat. Then they become familiars—a lesson every week, maybe eventually a first-name basis, maybe not. Then the blessed few climb, some all the way to the top. When I was in school in Boston, the rare ones at the top included the genius Seiji Ozawa, the other genius Gunther Schuller, and the late lamented concertmaster of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Joseph Silverstein.





Michael F. Toomey. Photo by John Dolan

A Singer’s Notes 118: Death, the Imperative — An Iliad at Shakespeare and Company

Why must we kill? Why pay people large sums of money to hurt each other in the ring? And what about the flip side? After great Hector is killed and dragged for days around the city, he is restored physically by a deity, but remains dead. From this there comes serenity, expectancy we experience only those few times in our lives when our heroes die.





Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater

Shakespeare and Company Benefit: Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe in Richard III.  October 10th at 2:00.  Be there!

Is Shakespeare loquacious? Reading the last pages of Richard III one might think so. King Richard speaks his way into oblivion.
He seems to be made of words—his actions secondary, the description being all. This, after all, is a character who succeeds in wooing a widow over the coffin of a close relative, and after the deed, tells us about it as if we didn’t get it the first time. His comeuppance arrives eventually, and true to form, he is ready with a virtuoso description of the situation. He is always and everywhere a soliloquist. Richard’s words are a virtuosity. Hamlet’s words are long-considered, pondered. Richard finds his demise at least as theatrical as his life, and when the end comes, Marlovian rant rules. Needless to say, this requires spectacular acting.