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In Review

IN REVIEW: Lyric sings lovely Barber, splashing color and silliness into the mix

Is opera music, or is it theater? That the best answer to that question is “yes” is part of what makes this art form so intriguing: The struggle over whether “la musica” or “la parola” (the word) should prevail in opera has raged since its inception around 1600. As I watched the Lyric Opera’s production […]

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IN REVIEW: KC Rep produces fine ‘Sweeney,’ but is it time to discuss the ‘Sondheim problem’?

If you like Stephen Sondheim’s musicals, chances are you’ll enjoy the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s finely outfitted production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which runs through April 15th at Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus. Rep Artistic Director Eric Rosen, who directed the show, has a keen intuitive sense for staging […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric stages workaday ‘Rigoletto’

That Rigoletto is regarded as one of Verdi’s most beloved operas might seem surprising considering what an ugly story it recounts. First performed in 1851 but based on a tawdry Victor Hugo play from 1832 (which was banned from the French stage for half a century), it tells of a mean-spirited jester who serves in […]

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IN REVIEW: KCB dancers, plus others, create New Moves

The Kansas City Ballet’s New Moves is gradually coming into its own. The project that Artistic Director Devon Carney launched shortly after arriving in 2013 (an outgrowth of a previous series consisting chiefly of works by Company members) mixes works by aspiring KCB choreographers with dances by prominent visiting artists whose professionalism has at times […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric stages tuneful, visually striking new opera (and the weather outside is indeed frightful)

Everest possesses something found in surprisingly few contemporary operas: soaring, tastefully singable tunes that stick in your head but avoid the tacky pizzazz of Broadway that plagues so many new operas. Some will admire the piece (by composer Joby Talbot and librettist Gene Scheer) simply for its dazzling physical production and its starkly naturalistic score, […]

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IN REVIEW: CSO returns to Helzberg Hall for stirring encore performance

The Chicago Symphony plays like a well-oiled, meticulously hand-crafted engine, and an opportunity to hear it in a fine acoustic space is always a treat. In 2015, when the Harriman-Jewell Series brought the CSO for its first appearance here in nearly a half-century, Music Director Riccardo Muti was so delighted with the experience of performing […]

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IN REVIEW: EQUAL PARTS DANCE AND DRAMA: KC Ballet presents new version of durable classic

Devon Carney has already demonstrated his skill as choreographer in the four full-length ballets he’s created since becoming the Kansas City Ballet’s Artistic Director in 2013. What stood out in his Romeo and Juliet, which received its world premiere October 13th at the Kauffman Center, was the former Boston Ballet Principal Dancer’s unwavering skill as […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric’s open-hearted ‘Onegin’ strikes to the core of the work’s humanity

The Lyric Opera’s handsome production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin hit home partly because of its simplicity. The spare approach both to design and to direction, and the unfussy singing that managed to avoid excess (even as non-Russian-speakers labored to sing in Russian), allowed us to focus so intently on the drama that we found ourselves […]

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IN REVIEW: Performing-arts season opens with fine, variegated dance

Kansas City’s performing-arts season opened with a vengeance in mid-September, with more than a dozen professional-level productions of music, dance and theater vying for attention. Among the half-dozen or so I managed to take in, one that stood out (after Cliburn medalist Kenny Broberg’s recital, reviewed here) was the Harriman-Jewell Series’ presentation of Parsons Dance […]

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