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TALK TO ME: Summerfest fosters great music, ‘face time,’ innovations

By Paul Horsley There are several reasons why Summerfest concerts have thrived for more than a quarter-century. They offer some of the best chamber music in town, performed by Kansas City Symphony musicians and friends, during a period in which there’s little other classical music going on locally. They play programs that balance light-hearted music […]

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ALL THAT JAZZ: New Theatre Restaurant brings top talent for Kander & Ebb classic

By Paul Horsley Great works of theater can succeed in a multitude of formats. As long as the material is strong and you bring great performers and direction, a small show can be staged on a grand scale, or a traditionally lavish production can work on a small- or medium-sized stage. When the New Theatre […]

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RESTRAINT IN THE FACE OF TRAGEDY: KC Symphony introduces significant new Leshnoff work

By Paul Horsley War poetry often contains all the drama, spectacle and tragedy that a composer needs to create a powerful musical setting, and history is rife with such statements—from Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death to Britten’s War Requiem and beyond. Letters from the battlefield, on the other hand, written in dire conditions to […]

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FROM FRIENDSHIP FORGED: KC’s top contemporary dance company celebrates 25 years of American choreography

By Paul Horsley It all started over lunch, during a festival in Vancouver, B.C., where Mary Pat Henry and Leni Wylliams were discussing their favorite dancers and choreographers. She was a dance teacher from South Carolina and he a rising star in the New York dance scene, but the two discovered they had remarkably complementary […]

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WHAT’S A SUMMER WITHOUT A SHOW? KC jumps to life from now through Labor Day

By Paul Horsley Kansas City was once a sleepy place from May to September, then several things happened at once. First, some of the established organizations began to spread their seasons well into June, and others sought to start theirs in August. Second, the dozens of new theater groups, choruses, dance ensembles, chamber series and […]

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WOLFIE, IS THAT YOU? Spinning Tree closes season with ambitious Shaffer play

By Paul Horsley The message of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus is that God touches only a few with genius, and rest of us don’t matter. Or is it, really? Those familiar with earlier versions of this Tony Award-winning 1979 play (and its 1982 film version) might remember the theme thus: Antonio Salieri is resentful toward God […]

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CARMEN UNBOUND: Lyric Opera ends season with Bizet’s subversive tale of love and death

By Paul Horsley If you think too hard about the underlying messages of Bizet’s Carmen, you might begin to find the opera a bit unsettling. For when the ostensibly virtuous Don José ventures outside of his safe bourgeois existence to fall in with the wild gypsy Carmen, he enjoys a brief moment of love and […]

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CHARMED, I’M SURE: Chorale and HASF collaborate as part of worldwide celebration

By Paul Horsley For more than four centuries the plays and sonnets of Shakespeare have been enshrined as the pinnacle of English-language poetry. Why, then, do we need to put them to music? It’s a question that Charles Bruffy, the Grammy Award-winning director of the Kansas City and Phoenix Chorales, has given a bit of […]

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JOYCE AND ALL THAT JAZZ: Harriman season takes us from gospel to Gershwin, Fleming to floods

By Paul Horsley What makes a performing-arts series great? For starters, you need the confidence of concert-goers, who have learned over the years you’ll do everything in your power to bring the world’s best (both among established artists and rising talent). In addition, you need the faith of the artists themselves, who know from experience […]

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