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In Review

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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IN REVIEW: Recital by local piano student suggests that Cliburn Silver was no fluke

By Paul Horsley Trying to gauge the artistry of a musician on the basis of a performance at an international composition is like trying to identify a future Oscar-winning filmmaker on the basis of a YouTube “short” he or she made in high school. This most unnatural of settings (for which the Van Cliburn International […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric Opera delivers a ‘Figaro’ of polished sophistication

By Paul Horsley The Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s The Marriage of Figaro, which runs through November 13th, bears the marks of a master director: Its fluid, natural interaction of characters, its moments of sly but seldom overplayed wit, and its sharp focus on essential characters at essential moments all keep the mind and the […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric ‘Carmen’ keeps us intrigued, introduces stunning mezzo-soprano

By Paul Horsley The highest compliment you can pay an operatic production is that you went out of the theater thinking not about stagecraft, acting skills, catchy tunes or vocal prowess but about the ideas in the piece, the “meaning” even. The Lyric Opera’s Carmen that opened April 23rd is just such a production: It […]

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IN REVIEW: MARRY ME: New concerto inspired by wedding but not bound to it

By Paul Horsley David Ludwig knows better than to attach a “back-story” to a piece irrevocably, although he has openly stated that his new Violin Concerto was inspired by his recent marriage. Composers over the years have learned the perils of announcing beforehand a narrative or program for a piece, only to find later that […]

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