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Bravo

Competition was fierce this year for the best of 2008, for one simple reason: Kansas City’s culture remains on such an upward trajectory that it’s not out of line to say this might have been the city’s best-ever year for classical music and dance. I mean ever, as in, during Our Town’s 155-year history. Whoa, baby. […]

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One local holiday tradition that changes little from year to year is the Kansas City Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, and that will be either good or bad news depending on whether you’re a traditionalist or an adventurist. At the opening performance on Saturday afternoon, December 6, I found myself not minding a bit that I was […]

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Konstantin Lifschitz, the Ukrainian-born pianist, is one of those restless musical spirits who sails uncharted waters seeking ever-elusive truths behind musical masterpieces. There was a mystical, almost séance-like atmosphere to his Friends of Chamber Music recital on Friday, the 31-year-old pianist’s only appearance in the United States this season. Expectations were high for this program […]

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No one ever accused Puccini of subtlety for his potboiler Tosca. A diva agrees to “give in” to a lecherous villain in return for her lover’s freedom. Instead she stabs him. Villain betrays her. The lover is executed. She leaps to her death. Didn’t I see this on the Lifetime Channel? The cast and crew […]

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At a time when Roman Catholics and Episcopalians seem to be growing ever-further apart, gestures of unity are always refreshing. That’s why Summer Music at the Cathedrals, a musical partnership between Our Town’s Catholic and the Episcopal cathedrals downtown, is a welcome addition to the upwelling of local performing arts during the last decade. This […]

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The plot of Tosca is a pretty crass affair, but even seasoned opera devotees keep returning to the piece because it features what is perhaps Puccini’s most incisive and consistently compelling musical score. The Lyric Opera of Kansas City was wise to eschew tinkering with the drama in favor of confronting head-on the opera’s musical glories. The […]

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Young people do grow up, a fact we sometimes forget when we expect youthful celebrities to act mature beyond their years. The version of Lang Lang who played Tuesday, September 15 on the Harriman-Jewell Series was a notably more serious pianist than the one who performed on the same series in 2004, also at the Folly Theater. Considerably toned-down […]

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Stefan Jackiw played a  beautiful recital on September 26 at the Folly Theater, confirming once again my ongoing impression that he is destined to lead a career at the very top of the toughly competitive world of classical violin. In fact he is already leading it, and Saturday’s Harriman-Jewell Series recital with pianist Max Levinson showed […]

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As a vocal student, Lawrence Brownlee wanted to sing the big romantic roles that tenors pine for: Rodolfo in La Bohème, Alfredo in La traviata, Cavaradossi in Tosca. Looking back, he’s awfully glad he heeded the advice of those who knew his voice was destined for a different realm. For instead of leading a short career in the wrong vocal fach, the 36-year-old native of […]

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