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IN THE SERVICE OF MYTH: Donizetti favorite can’t be taken too seriously

By Paul Horsley The Lyric Opera’s production of Donizetti’s frothy The Elixir of Love, which runs through March 20th at the Kauffman Center, has several things going for it. First, it offers richly detailed set designs by Allen Moyer, including a downstage curtain-drop painted in playful hues: a rural landscape in the style of Grant […]

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BIG BANG: New concerto expresses composer’s devotion to his bride, who is also its soloist

By Paul Horsley When David Ludwig began falling in love with the violin virtuoso Bella Hristova, he knew two things right away. One, that he wanted to write a concerto for her some day. And two, that it would begin with a loud crash. Not to suggest that the relationship was filled with turmoil, David […]

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NEXT STOP, FOUNTAIN CITY: Lyric Opera takes on sly, good-natured updating of Donizetti classic

By Paul Horsley Imagine the tale: A city slicker blows into a small town hoping to sell dubious goods to gullible farmers. Some are fooled, but not the bookish heroine, who is the cleverest and, it turns out, the most interesting woman in town. Sound familiar? If the plot of The Elixir of Love resembles […]

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TWO HEARTS THAT BEAT AS ONE: KC Ballet presents its first full-length ‘Swan Lake’

By Paul Horsley It’s true that dancing the lead in Swan Lake is the dream of many young ballerinas, but not necessarily for the reasons you might expect. Quite simply, the dual role of Odette/Odile contains such an array of artistic, technical and psychological complexities that for more than a century it has remained an […]

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PONDERING THE UNIMAGINABLE, IN A VERY PUBLIC PLACE: KC Rep stages ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’

By Paul Horsley One of the reasons that millions of readers over the years have been drawn to Anne Frank’s indelible diary is that it permits us a personal and profoundly human way of thinking about the unthinkable. Discussing the Holocaust is always a challenge but Anne’s diary, first published in 1947 and more recently […]

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FEEDING BODY AND SOUL: Homegrown TV celebrity hosts unique Coterie-Harvesters collaboration

By Paul Horsley Alex Saxon may be a star of TV and films these days, but he gives a lot of credit to the firm theatrical foundation he received growing up in the Kansas City area. From the age of eight the Liberty native, currently starring in MTV’s hit show “Finding Carter,” acted, sang and […]

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FREEDOM CHALLENGED: Coterie Theatre production tackles slave laws of antebellum America

By Paul Horsley When manmade laws seem to contradict fundamental human law, how is a civil society to decide between right and wrong? The Coterie Theatre’s upcoming production of And Justice for Some: The Freedom Trial of Anthony Burns asks big questions: Though not exactly ripped from today’s headlines, it has lessons for all of […]

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WELLSPRING OF DANCE: KC Ballet artistic director draws from many sources for new ‘Nutcracker’

By Paul Horsley When you create a new Nutcracker, you’re inventing from your own personal ballet experience but you’re also drawing on several centuries of dance history. “Nutcracker has always been a part of my life, from the time I was a child to this very minute,” said Devon Carney during a recent break from […]

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HOLY NIGHT, INDEED: Quality Hill Playhouse keeps holiday show alive with subtlety and sophistication

By Paul Horsley Keeping a favorite holiday show fresh, year in and year out, requires care and vigilance. Each November J. Kent Barnhart begins the meticulous planning of Quality Hill Playhouse’s “Christmas in Song” by going through hundreds of songs (from his database of thousands) and narrowing the more than 500 Christmas-themed songs to about […]

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